World comes to Minden to test alternative septic systems
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | Aug 2 2018|
Minden is about to become a leading-edge test facility for alternative septic systems.
Fleming College’s Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies (CAWT) has asked the township if it can use its wastewater treatment plant as a test site. Companies, not the CAWT, would then be able to have a place to research, test and demonstrate new technologies.
Brent Wooton of the CAWT said they were looking for a location within a specific climate zone, but still close to their Lindsay-based operations at Fleming College. They’ve also been looking for a plant with accessible grounds and space, as well as having specific wastewater characteristics.
“Minden’s wastewater treatment plant meets all of those needs,” Wooton told The Highlander.
He emphasized that CAWT isn’t proposing any type of technology, but a centre that would do research, testing and assessment of various kinds of technologies.
“The type of systems that companies would bring to the testing facility would be advanced technologies that have enhancements above and beyond a typical septic system,” he said.
He added that the specific research, testing, and evaluation activities would be specific to each company and each technology but most companies would be approaching the testing facility to determine if their technology meets a third-party standard.
In Ontario, the Building Code requires that advanced septic systems meet the CAN/BNQ 3680-600 standard. This is a very high level of performance and is difficult to achieve. He said the CAWT works with a number of standards organizations to provide recognized and highly sought-after certifications for technologies. This includes NSF and others such as the ISO 14034 standard.
Wooton said technologies that undergo formal testing and evaluation for the purposes of third party certification typically have to be evaluated for six months, while some take a year or longer.
“Most people are familiar with the CSA logo or UL logo on home appliances. Septic systems have their own type of certifications and that is what we are proposing to offer to companies. Currently, there are no such facilities or services offered in Ontario even though they are required by the Ontario Building Code.”
He added the project’s partners would operate on a not-for-profit basis to offer testing services to companies and it wouldn’t cost the municipality any money.
Minden would be the only location in Ontario, and one of only a handful of testing centres in North America. Wooton said there’s high demand from companies in Ontario, across Canada, the US, and overseas.
“Minden could expect to have companies come to the county often while their technologies are being evaluated and tested. The county would be exposed to new types of technologies and if these systems pass certification would have the benefit of knowing the technology performed to the highest standards during the cold Haliburton winters. Minden would benefit from the recognition of having this testing facility. Additionally, there would be some job creation as the activity at the centre expanded. Costs to create and operate the facility would be covered by Fleming College and other funding agencies.”
Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin said the type of research being done had never been tried this far north. He is equally excited that the CAWT is confident it would be full-funded by outside agencies.
“This is exciting, leading-edge stuff,” he said. Coun. Pam Sayne added it’s a “very exciting project and I’m pleased we’re able to take this on.”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.