Council approves Interim Corporate Climate Action Plan for Colchester County

Municipality of Colchester County

Colchester County council has approved an Interim Corporate Climate Action Plan that includes targets and initiatives for both corporate and community greenhouse gas emissions.

A report to council last night looked at the energy consumption, cost, and emissions from municipal buildings, vehicles, streetlights, and water and sewage components in the county.

That final component, water and sewage, uses the most energy and represents nearly two-thirds of the municipality's emissions based on a report from the baseline year of 2009.

It includes four small sewage treatment plants, two water treatment plants, the Central Colchester Wastewater Treatment Facility (CCWWTF), as well as numerous pumping stations and lift stations.

A minimum of 17 million litres of wastewater flows into the CCWWTF every day at a steady temperature of 10 degrees celsius year-round, and the report to council states that emissions from the plant are more than five times the combined total of the five other treatment plants.

Electricity is used almost exclusively in this sector, with diesel used to power back-up generators at the facilities, and is the main area of focus in the report to reduce emissions.

An estimated $20,000 feasibility study will look at heat exchangers in influent channels, which move raw and semi-processed wastewater for processing, in order to help heat the CCWWTF in the winter, reducing heating costs and making use of a readily available renewable energy source.

Variable Frequency Drives, already installed on the blowers in the Headworks Pumping Station, are estimated to reduce total electricity consumption at the CCWWTF by 25 per cent with a cost pegged at around $286,000.

Energy retrofits are also being targeted for all wastewater treatment and water treatment plants, including draft-proofing and LED lights, at an estimated cost of $50,000.

All three of these initiatives could qualify for external funding such as grants or rebates to help reduce the cost to the municipality.

Looking at renewable energy generation, the report states that a vacant piece of land adjacent to the CCWWTF, owned by the municipality, could be used for a solar farm or even a small wind farm.

Another renewable option would be to install solar panels on the roof of the Tatamagouche Library, helping an already high efficiency building become carbon neutral.

It has geothermal heating and currently uses electricity for the rest of its energy demand.

In total, the report says $585,000 has already been allocated for the plan, with an estimated $185,000 more required to tackle all 22 action items.

The timeframe for completion varies by item, from one to five years in most cases, which the report states is just the beginning of Colchester’s action on climate change.