Interim Guidelines for Preparing Liquid Waste Management Plans
Section 3.0: Preliminary Planning Considerations
A LWMP provides opportunity for a community to develop a long-term plan for building, financing, and managing their liquid waste infrastructure. In addition, it allows local governments to obtain ministry authorization for reuse and disposal of treated liquid waste to the environment. The LWMP forms the implementation plan for the management of liquid waste from collection, through treatment and resource recovery, to residual disposal.
Prior to proceeding with the LWMP process, a local government should satisfy itself that a LWMP will substantially benefit the community and the environment. Typically, the LWMP process will be an effective vehicle in areas where there is considerable growth and development or where there are known problems associated with existing infrastructure. Further, a LWMP allows community-specific solutions to be developed and sets a schedule to finance and upgrade infrastructure to ultimately meet the MSR requirements.
Local governments need to consider the financial capacity of their communities when developing LWMPs. Both construction and operation costs of the infrastructure must be included, and the community should prepare long range financial plans to ensure resources will be available when they are needed.
Section 3.1: Community Objectives and Land Use Plans
The goals and objectives of local governments should form the basis for the development of a LWMP. In addition to liquid waste, consideration should also be given to issues associated with growth and development, stormwater management, drinking water supply (capacity and contamination risks), and non-point source pollution. A LWMP can also identify and assess opportunities for water conservation, resource recovery (e.g. heat recovery), energy efficiency and generation, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Regional growth strategies and official community plans state objectives and policies regarding future land use patterns in incorporated municipalities or in designated areas of regional districts. These land use plans provide a statement to the public and the province about a local government’s growth management objectives, and provide the rationale for subsequent land-use regulations. Such plans should inform development of a LWMP.
Local government land use planning is essentially a process of anticipating change in land use, and determining how to manage or influence those changes for the benefit of the community or region. Local governments typically include the following elements in official land use plans:
- Identify rural/urban development areas;
- Assess settlement suitability;
- Identify the expected sequence of urban/rural land development, including the proposed timing, location and phasing of water and sewer service; and
- Choose between generic servicing alternatives (e.g., centralized, decentralized, on-site, communal and non-communal,).
Issues raised for discussion in the LWMP may illustrate the need to review and revise official land use plans.
Land use planning and zoning will help protect potential waste management treatment sites, create opportunities for use of reclaimed water and other resources, and maintain natural watershed hydrology. Detailed attention to these planning aspects can help avoid large expenditures in future treatment, storage and other related waste management facilities.
Section 3.2: Provisions for Infrastructure
Careful planning and integration of water, sewage and stormwater infrastructure can minimize environmental impacts, reduce life cycle costs and provide flexibility for future expansion or upgrade of facilities. Asset management is essential for the long-term investment in infrastructure represented in a LWMP where components are often designed for 50 to 100 years of service. Sewage collection system and trunk sewers can be a major cost of sewage works and their location and design should be selected with care to avoid excessive life-cycle costs. Appropriate land-use zoning of adjacent areas, or provision of adequately sized treatment plant sites can allow for future expansion with minimal impact on existing neighbourhoods. The use of satellite treatment plants and on-site systems within an integrated management program can in some cases provide for desirable land use options, reduced life-cycle costs, resource recovery, and provide flexibility for the scheduling and construction of works.
The way in which land is developed impacts watershed hydrology and the resulting requirements for stormwater infrastructure. The creation of impervious surface area associated with development (roofs, roads, etc.) can reduce the infiltration of precipitation into the ground and increases the amount of surface water runoff, which in turn requires drainage works to control flooding, erosion and other impacts. Consideration of watershed hydrology at the outset of the land use planning process can preserve key elements of the natural drainage network (e.g., groundwater recharge, natural detention areas) and can minimize both adverse environmental impacts and the need for drainage infrastructure.
Infrastructure such as storm and sanitary sewers, on-site sewage disposal systems, storm runoff detention and infiltration systems, water supply pipelines, reclaimed water transmission pipelines, pump stations, treatment plants, industrial pre-treatment facilities, sludge treatment works, and outfalls must be viewed as interrelated systems. A change in the design or location of one of these systems can affect the others. To avoid costly future changes, facilities should be located where long term land use conflicts will be minimized, and where there is ample room to upgrade and expand.
As the siting of major infrastructure considers land use concerns, local governments are encouraged to incorporate major sewer, water and stormwater infrastructure considerations in the official land use planning process. Further direction can be obtained from the technical guide for the preparation of official land use plans, the MSR with its guidance documents, the OMRR, and the stormwater guidance documents listed in Appendix 3.
Section 3.3: Data Requirements
Adequate data must be available to properly develop and evaluate plan options. Most important are up-to-date regional growth strategies and official community plans. These documents are important because they normally form the foundation for the preparation of a LWMP.
Desirable data include population projections, daily monitoring records for sewage quantity and quality, water consumption data, stream flow and precipitation records, water quality data for surface and groundwater bodies, inventories of plant and animal species and their habitat, information regarding soils, local drainage, aquifers, and groundwater flow regimes.
In some cases, the advisory committee(s) (see Section 4.2) may decide that there is insufficient information available for an informed and responsible evaluation of alternatives to be conducted. The advisory committee(s) may choose to delay the LWMP pending completion of the appropriate studies, and the studies may be incorporated as a component of the LWMP.
Section 3.4: Authority
Prior to embarking on a LWMP, local governments should determine that they have the authority to undertake all of the functions they wish to control through a LWMP, such as stormwater management, regulation of agricultural runoff, and management of on-site sewage disposal systems (less than 22.7 m3/d). The use of bylaws should also be examined. Some local governments may not have authority for stormwater management (in such cases it may rest with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure).
Most municipalities do not have jurisdiction over agricultural runoff. Onsite sewage systems that generate less than 22.7 m3/d of sewage effluent and discharge effluent to ground are normally under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health. Initiatives that involve on-site systems should be undertaken in cooperation with local health officers. Under the Health Act, local governments can acquire authority for on-site system management.