December 2, 2014 – Minutes of Public Meetings regarding the Bio-Digester held on July 16 and July 23, 2014

The Minutes of the July 16 and the July 23, 2014 Chatsworth Council meetings that are posted on the Chatsworth website (click here) both state that Minutes of the public meetings “are under separate cover.”

I recently sent an email to CAO/Clerk Will Moore about the record of these public meetings because, although they might have been “under separate cover,” they are nowhere to be found on the website. A couple of days after sending the request, I received these minutes:

Public Meeting July 16, 2014; and
Public Meeting July 23, 2014.

I attended the meeting on July 16 and it appears that the notes reflect reasonably well what was said. Two points are missing, however.

In response to stated concerns that the operation of the bio-digester to date shows clearly that it is not capable of dealing with all of the septage that would be delivered as a consequence of the by-law, Mayor Pringle said that the Council could simply rescind the by-law. In response to concerns expressed by septage haulers that there is no doubt that the receiving facilities at the bio-digester would cause problems, Mayor Pringle said that the septage haulers might have to coordinate deliveries among themselves.

When he made both of these responses, it appeared to me that the Mayor was actually serious.

Sept 22, 2014: Volume information for 2012 and 2013

In response to the December 18, 2013 motion by the Chatsworth Council about subsidies to the Sunset Strip (see my Sept 18 post under the “Sunset Strip Subsidies” tab), a joint meeting of the two councils was held on May 28, 2014.

The Agenda, Minutes and background information for that meeting are not on the Chatsworth website, nor are they on the bio-digester website, nor are they on the Georgian Bluffs website. However, I retained my copy which you can see here.

According to a staff presentation at this joint meeting (not included in the background information sent out in advance of the meeting), the total volume of septage received at the bio-digester in 2013 was 1,786,906 gallons. Of this amount, 96% was from the Sunset Strip, 3% was residential and 1% was from other sources. No figures were provided for 2011.

For 2012, the volume was 2,347,373 gallons of which 68% was from the Sunset Strip, 4% was residential and 28% was from contracts (such as from Chapman’s in Markdale, one of the many experiments that ended in failure when it was determined that the waste wasn’t appropriate).

The most recent data I have is that there are 2,890 households in Chatsworth and 4,890 in Georgian Georgian Bluffs. The number of septic tanks may not be exactly the same, but it must be quite close, so I will assume for now that this is also how many septic tanks there are in each township. That is, Chatsworth has 37% of the septic tanks in the two townships.

For 2013, if 3% of the volume were residential, this would be 53,600 gallons. It is my understanding that most septic tanks hold between 800 and 1,000 gallons. Using an average of 900 gallons would mean that the 2013 volume was from 60 septic tanks in total from the two townships. The corresponding figures for 2012 are 93,900 gallons and 104 septic tanks.

Roughly speaking, then, septage from 38 Chatsworth households (37% of 104) was taken to the bio-digester in 2012; the figure dropped to 22 Chatsworth households in 2013. That is, the bio-digester provided a service to 60 Chatsworth households in 2012 and 2013 combined.

The tipping fee (charge to dump a load at the bio-digester) is set by by-law at $25 per cubic metre (one cubic metre is about 220 Imperial gallons). Therefore, each of these households would have paid an extra amount of about $100 to have their septage dumped at the bio-digester, plus perhaps some extra charge related to distance.


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