Minutes Vermilion River Stewardship Wednesday, January 11, 2012 7:00-9:00 pm Beaver Lake Sports & Cultural Centre Present:
Linda Heron, Sheri Johnson Purdon, John Purdon, Lesley Flowers, Terry Little, Ron Basso
1. Adoption of Agenda: Moved by John Purdon Seconded by Ron Basso
2. Adoption of Minutes of 9 November 2011 Moved by Ron Basso Seconded by John Purdon
Election of Secretary Treasurer a. Ron Basso resigned as treasurer b. Nominations for the position of secretary treasurer opened by Linda c. Leslie nominated Terry Little, Terry stood d. No further nominations, Nominations closed by Linda, Terry acclaimed Reports a. Executive Report – Attached as Addendum 1 – Highlights below France Gelinas lends support to VRS per teleconference Nov. 22, 2011 Jacques Barbeau lends support to VRS per meeting Nov 23, 2011 Linda invited to join Stakeholder’s Advisory Committee. She told them that she would not sign a GAG order Wabagishik Site Release extended to March 2012; Memorandum of Understanding has only been signed by Sagamok FN. Whitefish River and Whitefish Lake FN have issued letters from their lawyer – Xeneca has a duty to consult before any proposal can proceed or Site Release is issued. Soo Crossing - Site Release rules require Xeneca get a signed agreement from the City as they own the land surrounding the falls. The City planner, Mark Simeoni, is unaware, as of Jan 11th, that this was required for the project to proceed. Chiefs of the Robinson Huron Treaty Act will meet with Harper in January. One of the issues will be the breach of FIT Rules & Site Release Policy, particularly regarding consultation and agreements with First Nations that could be impacted by the projects. b. Correspondence: - Attached as Addendum 2 – Highlights below Requests to NDCA re water quality of the Vermilion River
i. Increase Onaping Lake drawdown in low flow months to dilute phosphorous loading. ii. Extend Ramsay Lake Algae Watch to VR shoreline residents, iii. Add VR and connecting lakes to the Clean Water Act iv. Develop a plan to reduce the source water risk for the VR Finance: Balance of $645.11 Meeting and Tour of Sudbury Wastewater Treatment Facility – Attached as Addendum 3 – Highlights Below Effluent discharge targets and internal limits are well below MOE guidelines of 1 mg/L Use of Lively tunnel during heavy rain events has reduced number of bypass events. Phosphorous discharges are normally below MOE limit of 0.5 mg/L, even in low runoff months like September. VRS advocates increasing the number of by-law enforcement officers (currently one) as a more effective way to move forward on illegal downspout hook-ups and decrease number of bypass events. Strategic Planning Committee Meeting – Attached as Addendum – Highlights Below Established a Vision, Scope and a six phase plan to make the lower Vermilion River water quality safe for drinking, bathing, fishing and sauna. Biodiversity Committee Request for more SARS animal sightings – pictures, along with date of siting would be very helpful & could also be displayed on VRS website. Siting must be documented with date & location – GPS coordinates would be helpful – along with picture if possible. Send to info@VermilionRiverStewards.ca .
3. Business Arising from Previous Meeting a. Dam Proposals Currently none of the Xeneca Environmental Reports (ER) has included provisions for decommissioning. Should propose a private member bill to include these provisions. Three of Xeneca’s Environmental Reports issued so far were very lacking and are awaiting Minister of MOE’s decision on a Part II Order Request. Two dam proposals (McPherson & Cascade Falls) are in NDCA’s Level One Protection Zone. After a request for unsecured documents on Xeneca’s ER’s, 117 pages were removed from Xeneca’s Serpent River ER supporting documentation. A letter was sent to the Minister of the Environment detailing this incident – Part II Elevation Requests.
Linda will sit on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee, provided there is no gag order. Linda will pursue possibilities of a Private Members Bill through France Gelinas to address decommissioning provisions being mandatory for all hydroelectric dams – will purse on behalf of ORA.
4. New Business a. The Fielding Road Industrial area water and wastewater Municipal Class EA study is underway – will increase effluent to Walden plant. b. A presentation to the NDCA is scheduled for Jan 19th. Focus will be on requests outlined in the letter to the NDCA above. c. A presentation to City Council for the Official Plan will be made on Jan 23rd. Focus will be on declaring the VR as a significant Natural Heritage Feature in order to establish a sense of pride and value to this important resource. Action: A Waste Water and Storm Water Forum will be scheduled in mid-February to obtain current information on status of these systems, and suggestions on how we might improve – media to be invited.
Next Meeting – Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 at the Beaver Lake Sports & Cultural Centre.
Vermilion River Stewardship EXECUTIVE REPORT 11 January 2012 Report from Chair:
10 November 2011 ‐ Attended Lake Advisory Panel Meeting – Living with Lakes 21 November 2011 – Attended Meeting – Proposed Upgrades to Vermilion Water Distribution, Penage Road Community Center to inform public of options 22 November 2011 – Teleconference with France o France has offered her support in any way possible o Met with MNR Regional Director and staff o Told her there is no way of stopping these dams o We must focus on mitigation measures o Agreed to recommend me to the Stakeholders’ Advisory Committee 23 November 2011 – Met with Jacques Barbeau o Would like to meet on a regular basis o Supports VRS and our position o Will try to attend one of our meetings o Agreed to recommend me to the Stakeholders’ Advisory Committee 23 November 2011 – Attended Vale Open House ‐ Emissions Control Plans 25 November 2011 – Attended Strategic Planning Committee Meeting 26 November 2011 – ORA Meeting, North Bay 28 November 2011 – Attended Walden‐Can Meeting – Environmental Conference 30 November 2011 – Al Stanley and I met with Carolyn Hunt, Vale 6 December 2011 – Attended Strategic Planning Committee Meeting 7 December 2011 – Attended Dr. Schindler’s Talk – The Tipping Point, Living with Lakes Center 7 December 2011 – Attended Cyanobacteria Workshop – Science North 8 December 2011 – Attended Kelley Lake Wastewater Treatment Facility 12 December 20211 – Invitation to join Stakeholders’ Advisory Committee – I am waiting to see if they will still require that I sign an MOU – I told them I would not sign a GAG order. 15 December 2011 – Attended Strategic Planning Committee Meeting 15 December 2011 – Attended Walden‐CAN Meeting – Environmental Conference 5 January 2012 – Attended Strategic Planning Committee Meeting 9 January 2012 – Spoke to Bob Robinson, MNR o Site Release has been extended to March 2012 for Wabagishik o Site Release is about ownership of land – must obtain Memorandum of Understanding o At Soo Crossing – land under water is Crown land, but Xeneca must obtain a signed agreement from the City, as Centennial Park and surrounding area is owned by City of Sudbury o Vale and Xstrata also must release the sites o First Nation signatories to Robinson Huron Treaty have made a stand
MNR is working on definitions– for consistency Project Description for the Upper Vermilion Sites will be available soon Xeneca took several people out to these Upper Vermilion Sites in November – France Gelinas, Caroline Hunt, members of the Stakeholders Advisory Committee, and Bob Robinson attended 10 January 2012 – Henvey Inlet FN ‐ All the Chiefs of the Robinson Huron Treaty will act collectively protesting Xeneca and other companies who are not consulting with the Chiefs of particular reserves impacted by these projects. Companies (Xeneca in particular) that have been awarded FIT contracts and have blatantly breeched FIT Application rules and with Government not enforcing them to do so, will be one of the top priorities on the Agenda with the Prime Minister. Chief of Ontario Union of Indians, and a delegation, will meet with Harper – likely this month to discuss this. 11 January 2012 – Mark Simeoni, City Planner – Xeneca has had very little contact with the City, and the same goes for Vale. Aware that Centennial Park is near At Soo Crossing, but didn’t realize the project was dependent upon their releasing it to Xeneca. He is going to send me a map showing the Centennial Park property boundaries – City property. o o o
Correspondence: 15 December 2011 20 December 2011 4 January 2012 5 January 2012
Ministry of Government Services to MNR – Form 1 incorrect VRS to Ministry of Government Services – Not‐for‐Profit status corrected VRS to NDCA – Water Quality R.V. Anderson Associates Limited to VRS, Fielding Road Industrial Area Water and Wastewater – Municipal Class EA Study
Vermilion River Stewardship 379 Ronka Rd. Worthington, ON P0M 3H0 (705) 866-1677 Info@VermilionRiverStewards.ca VermilionRiverStewards.ca
4 January 2012
Nickel District Conservation Authority 200 Brady Street, 1st Floor, Tom Davies Square Sudbury, ON P3E 5K3 Email: email@example.com Attention: Paul Sajatovic, General Manager Dear Mr. Sajatovic: Re:
The Vermilion River Stewardship (VRS) is a Not-for-Profit organization, acting as a voice for the Vermilion River and its stakeholder Communities, to support a healthy, natural and sustainable river ecosystem. VRS is very concerned about a public health and safety issue that occurred on the Vermilion River last fall, and is looking to Nickel District Conservation Authority (NDCA) for help in addressing our questions and concerns. In October of last year a Cyanobacteria outbreak was reported on Simon Lake, McCharles Lake, and the Vermilion River, all the way through to Wabagishik Lake. The water flow and levels on the Vermilion, both this year and last, throughout the late summer and early fall months were extremely low, and that, combined with the effluent discharge from 9 Waste Water Treatment Facilities (WWTF), numerous lift stations, transfer stations, and sewage lagoons, has created the prime conditions for this toxic algae. In a study by D.W. Schindleri, it was revealed that phosphorus is the limiting factor in determining whether algal blooms will occur in a water body, and that combined with these low flow and warm weather conditions was a likely cause of the Cyanobacteria bloom this year. As you know exposure to these blooms through drinking, swimming, bathing, or even breathing their toxic vapours in saunas, creates a health and safety threat to both humans and animals. In the “Greater Sudbury Source Drinking Water Protection Proposed Assessment Report”, I assume Table 5.7ii addresses the additional risks of the 5 WWT plants and their related facilities, located above the Vale Public Water Intake (PIPZ10S – pathogens in an IPZ with a vulnerability of 10 where threats are significant). However, it is not clear if they are considered 1
as a risk since these facilities are outside of IPZ 1 and 2, or if their cumulative effects are considered in this risk assessment report – please clarify. We also have the additional stress of the 4 WWT plants and their related facilities feeding into the lower Vermilion River Watershed through Junction Creek, and on into the Lower Vermilion River. The cumulative effects of the effluent discharge from all these WWTF is also heightened when heavy rain events necessitate bypassing of untreated or undertreated effluent into the environment. To date there has been no Cyanobacteria reported on the northern arm of the Vermilion River where the Vale Public Water Intake is located; however, there is a likelihood of this occurring as scientists predict that climate change will increase the number of extreme rain and drought events, and our City of Sudbury waste water facilities were not built to deal with these extreme weather events. VRS realizes the water going into the Vale Public Water Intake is treated; however, there are numerous questions that we would like answered with respect to the cumulative effects of treated and undertreated effluent discharge, and the threats that Cyanobacteria outbreaks could pose: 1. Is there a communication protocol between CGS Water Wastewater and NDCA when a sewage bypass occurs? 2. How are the 5 upstream CGS WWTF accounted for in the Greater Sudbury Source Drinking Water Protection Proposed Assessment Report? 3. Please clarify how the CGS WWTFs’ cumulative effects are accounted for in this risk assessment report. 4. To what degree would cyanobacteria toxins be eliminated from treated drinking water at the Vale Public Water Intake and private residences? 5. What long-term effects would drinking this treated water have on human health and safety? 6. What protection is provided for the hundreds of Vermilion River shoreline residents who rely on the River and/or its often highly vulnerable aquifers for all their drinking water and household requirements? Most residents do not: a. Have the facilities to detect these toxins in their well water, or to filter them out, and/or b. Have another convenient source of water available to them. 7. What are the associated risks of a Cyanobacteria outbreak, or a waste water bypass, to shoreline residents who rely on the Vermilion River for their drinking water and household water needs? VRS makes the following requests: 1. Onaping Lake drawdown already begins in September, but could measures be taken to increase the rate of drawdown during the low flow months of September and October to increase water levels and flow in the Vermilion River? 2. VRS requests a warning protocol to shoreline residents when WWTF bypasses or toxic algae events occur and water quality is compromised – similar to the one already established with the Ramsay Lake Algae Watch? 3. VRS requests that private water intakes along the Vermilion River and its connecting lakes be included in NDCA’s Source Water Protection Risk Assessment protocol, and are formally included under the Clean Water Act. 4. VRS requests NDCA develop a plan to adequately deal with reduction of risks, and that these risks be considered and included in the Source Water Protection Risk Assessment Report. 2
Many shoreline residents who rely on the Vermilion River system for their drinking water and household needs were extremely distressed and inconvenienced with the Cyanobacteria outbreak which occurred during the month of October, and VRS is requesting action be taken to avoid similar or more serious problems in the future. VRS looks forward to your reply. Sincerely,
Linda Heron Chair, Vermilion River Stewardship CC:
Nick Benkovich, Director Water/Waste Water - Nick.Benkovich@greatersudbury.ca Judy Sewell, Project Co-ordinator - Judy.Sewell@sudbury.ca Jacques Barbeau, Councillor Ward 4 - Jacques.Barbeau@city.greatersudbury.on.ca France Gelinas, NDP, MPP - FGelinasfirstname.lastname@example.org Chief Steven Miller, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek - Chief@wlfn.com Stephen Monet, City of Sudbury - Stephen.Monet@city.greatersudbury.on.ca Stephen Butcher, Chair, GSWA - email@example.com Perry Sarvas, Simon Lake Community Stewardship Group - Sarvas@vianet.ca
Eutrophication and Recovery in Experimental Lakes: Implications for Lake Management, by D.W. Schindler, Fisheries & Marine Services, Freshwater Institute, Winnipeg, Manitoba. ii Greater Sudbury Source Protection Assessment â€“ Amended Property Assessment Report, Table 5.7, P 5-14
Vermilion River Stewardship Meeting Notes 15 December 2011 Sudbury Wastewater Treatment Facility Al Stanley, Dale Kilbey, Bob Little, Ron Basso, Sheri Purdon, Linda Heron Nick Benkovich, Director, Water/Wastewater, Dan Miron, Supervisor, Paul ?, Operator.
Tour of Sudbury Wastewater Treatment Facility (SWTF) The tour was interesting, and everyone walked away feeling very impressed with the efforts and improvements the Water/Wastewater team have made. There has been continuous progress in the efforts to improve the quality of effluent released into the environment, and staff have established their own targets for effluent limits that at .2, .3, and as high as .4 mg/L are way below the targets set by MOE at 1 mg/L. None of us could find fault with the way this plant is run. Existing SWT facilities were all built piece meal over the years, however, a Master Plan is in the works to create improved consistencies, as well as economic and wastewater output efficiencies – plan should be released within the next few months.
Effluent Bypasses The SWWTF facility was originally built in the 1970s, but their recent upgrades have made it possible to screen, chlorinate, and then dechlorinate effluent when bypasses occur. This results in a partially‐treated effluent being discharged into the creek, and still apparently beats MOE targets. SWTF has made some major changes over these last 3 years – Dan says it was a struggle in the beginning because these efforts cost more, but now everyone is on board. Use of a tunnel has also made it possible to store some effluent during heavy rain events to be treated when event subsides – this has reduced number of bypass events.
Phosphorus Loading One of VRS concerns was that phosphorus targets for effluent discharge were being increased in September when flows are at their lowest; however, it was confirmed by Dan Miron that although MOE allows for this increase in targets, that all Sudbury wastewater plants continue to maintain the .5 mg/l, or lower, targets. Illegal Connections & ByLaw Enforcement The new By‐law Officer has made significant progress with industrial infractions where chemicals and other contaminants are released into the system, however, not as much progress is being made with eliminating illegal downspouts, and this has been identified as a main cause for bypasses to the SWWTF. Presently there is only one by‐law officer, but VRS believes it may be more cost effective to hire a few more by‐law enforcement
officers to deal with these illegal connections, and might lighten the phosphorus burden on the watershed. Tertiary Treatment ‐ Priorities Nick pointed out that there are still primary treatment facilities and sewage lagoons that need to be replaced, so tertiary treatment may be down on his list of priorities. One sewage lagoon has been eliminated, so there are now 2 left.