What indeed is the best wastewater collection system?
In a Jan. 26 letter to the Pipestone Flyer, a Mr. Reg Roberts of Edmonton presents an opinion that the proposed South Pigeon Lake wastewater system is a bad idea. I have no idea of this man’s credentials for such a claim, but I do know that it is oppositional to the engineering and medical specialists who have specifically recommended the low-pressure system for the south shore communities.
To summarize Mr. Roberts’s positions (in quotations): “Scientific studies have verified that tanks are safer when properly maintained.”
Mr. Roberts has not identified the studies he refers to and just urges readers to undertake their own research. We did that and could not find a single study confirming that claim. We did however find significant information about poorly maintained tank systems, a situation that inspection professionals have found to be pandemic around Pigeon Lake. Many tanks are aging and have never been inspected.
In addition, we still have outhouses, we have cottages dumping black water, one community on the south side alone has some 27 septic fields near the lake that will eventually filter back and the homes with grey water by-passes number in the dozens. We will never eliminate this black and grey water dumping as long as the cost of elimination is based on the individual homeowners volume and cost.
“Homeowner costs will be higher with a public system.”
Our calculations suggest savings as high as $430 per year, for even a modest user of the public wastewater system, over a private tank. That is, if the community requires specific standards and inspections, a situation that is occurring in more communities every year and that is contemplated if necessary on the south shore.
“The few residents in the winter will jeopardize the effectiveness of the system.”
A supporter of the Lakewise group reported that only 10 residents are full time over the winter. Our own count identified some 44 full time and 48 regular winter cottage users in the village of Crystal Springs alone and engineers have categorically confirmed that low use will not jeopardize the system.
In summary, let me simply state that from the experience reported in other communities, a communal public sewer system will improve both lake and ground water (well) quality and there is absolutely no question, that the health of Pigeon Lake will determine the recreational worth, the area’s economy, the value of property and the health and safety of residents.
For more information residents can go to: pigeonlakerenewal.weebly.com.
Ian Rawlinson, Lacombe
(Crystal Springs cabin owner)