Two meetings on June 20 at the Metcalfe Centre in Maxville were all about the Township of North Glengarry’s $30 million project to bring reliable, safe drinking water to Maxville through a new pipeline from Alexandria.

Work began in 2018 and is to be completed in the fall of 2019.

At the first meeting, Josh Eamon of EVB Engineering and North Glengarry Project Manager Dave Malcolm explained that the new 1,500 cubic metre elevated storage tank—or water tower – is now mostly complete, but work is still taking place on the inside.

The transmission main is to be completed by July 31.  A booster station along Concession 6 east of County Road 30 will be completed by September 30.  Eamon said the booster station is necessary because Maxville is at a higher elevation than Alexandria.

Improvements to the treatment process and the rehabilitation of some older infrastructure at the Alexandria water treatment plant are also going to be completed by March 2020.

Not everyone in the audience of approximately 300 people was satisfied. One man in the audience called the situation a “shit show” to describe construction garbage being left behind by workers.  He held up some pipe wrapping he found discarded in a pasture and warned that it could kill cattle if ingested.

Kenyon Ward resident Lori Bartlett voiced her concerns over what she said was a lack of respect by construction crews for private land.  Joanne Routhier of the 5 th Concession of Kenyon had safety concerns over how construction workers are operating their vehicles.  She said there has a been a lack of traffic control people, especially during school bus times.

Mayor Jamie MacDonald apologized on behalf of council for the challenges Maxville and area residents have faced during the construction.

MacDonald later told The Review that the points were well taken and that township employees specifically took note of complaints and forwarded them onto the contractors.

Getting connected

At the second meeting, which attracted approximately 500 people, Deputy Mayor Carma Williams thanked the residents for their patience and understanding.

Chief Building Official Jacob Rhéaume explained a three-step process for property owners to follow in order to connect to the water system.

The first step is connecting property owners’ buildings to the watermain.  The township has a list of three licensed plumbing contractors from whom property owners can use, but property owners can select other contractors. However, residents who use one of the three short-listed contractors will not have to pay the $60 residential or $80 commercial permit fees.  Property owners will still have to pay the contractors for the labour, and the township will still have to inspect the work.  Residents still must apply for a permit before selecting a contractor.

The second step involves proper abandonment and decommissioning of their existing water well.  This step is optional if the well is in proper condition, is supplying water according to existing regulations, will be used for non-potable purposes, and if it is not cross-connected with the municipal water system.

Actual connection to the system is the third step.  This involves the installation of a shut-off valve, water meter, backflow preventer, and a second shut-off valve.  Plumbing contractors are responsible for properly locating other underground cables and pipes on properties.

The water rates for customers in Maxville will be the same as in Alexandria.  Property owners will pay a flat $60.13 monthly for the first 15 cubic metres of water they use.  After that point, they will pay $1.94 per cubic metre.

Property owners will not have to pay any other connection charge.  Customers do not begin to pay for water until it begins to flow through the system and into their home or business.

Under budget, water by end of October

Chief Administrative Officer Sarah Huskinson said the project is likely to come in slightly under budget at approximately $29.5 million.  The federal government has funded 50 percent of it and the Province of Ontario has funded 25 per cent.  North Glengarry is responsible for 7.5 of the capital costs and the rest is financed by user fees and amortized over a 30-year period.

MacDonald said that water should be connected to homes and businesses in Maxville during the third week of October.

“We feel pretty confident,” he said.