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Cost of expanding sewage plant grows

In Penetanguishene
Nov 5th, 2009

By Travis Mealing Midland Mirror November 3 2009
The cost of Penetanguishene’s sewage treatment plant expansion is set to grow by nearly $1.1 million, but officials are hopeful provincial and federal funds will cover two-thirds of that amount.
When the town applied to the Building Canada Fund (BCF) for money to finance an expansion of the Philip H. Jones Pollution Control Plant, it received approval for $19.5 million.

The project, however, did not include an upgraded computer system or the replacement of an outfall pipe, add-ons that will cost an extra $1.1 million.
The construction and engineering costs for the already-approved work amount to just under $18.4 million, meaning the BCF allowance should just cover the additional work.
“We’ll be able to add these at very little cost to the town,” Coun. Pat Marion said at the Oct. 28 council meeting, noting Penetanguishene’s one-third share will come to almost $365,000.
That breakdown, of course, is contingent on the extra work being approved by the town’s provincial and federal partners.
In a report to council, public works director John Boucher stated the outfall pipe must be replaced, BCF funding or no BCF funding.
The computer system, known as SCADA, or supervisory control and data acquisition, is another matter. Boucher reported the plant could make do with the existing SCADA system, but the “obsolete” hardware is not without problems.
“The system has been discontinued,” he said. “Parts are getting difficult to find, and, if a critical part needed replacing, you’d have to replace the whole thing anyway.”
He added the outdated SCADA equipment also has difficulties communicating with more modern hardware elsewhere in the system.
Coun. Ken Mackie pointed out the uncertain nature of the cost estimates makes him nervous, but he voted to proceed nonetheless.
“We don’t seem to have a choice,” he said. “But we’re going to have to look at this pretty closely when it comes to budget time.”
Council unanimously approved the staff recommendation to apply to have the extra work added to the project, and to update the capital plan to reflect the additional costs.

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