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​Wastewater Asset 
Management Plan (AMP)

This page highlights information contained in the Wastewater AMP published in January 2022. The document outlines the current state of Barrie's wastewater infrastructure and highlights the costs associated with collecting and treating the City's wastewater.

The City's wastewater collection and treatment service is critical for our residents and businesses, as well as the environmental health of Lake Simcoe and the City's drinking water supply.  
 

Wastewater Assets

The City delivers this service through a combination of local and trunk sewers, pumping stations, the Wastewater Treatment Facility (WwTF), and the Oro-Medonte Biosolids Storage Facility, which taken together are worth almost $1.4 billion, including:

  • 1 wastewater treatment facility ($798 million)
  • 1 biosolids storage facility ($119 million)
  • 13 pumping stations ($30 million)
  • 549 km of sewers ($331 million)
  • 7,890 maintenance holes ($74 million)

The State of our Wastewater Assets

The majority of the City's wastewater assets are relatively new, with over 90% having been built in the last four decades. Since, on average, wastewater assets have long service lives, most of the City's wastewater assets will not require replacement for a number of years. This is good news; it means we have time to plan and prepare for the future. This planning is particularly important because once these assets do require renewal, it will be a lot.

graph

Understanding the condition of our assets is a key component of managing them effectively. The City has a program to monitor the condition of our wastewater assets. This ranges from visual inspections with CCTV cameras for sanitary sewers to detailed condition assessment of our facilities and sewage pumping stations. Most wastewater assets are in 'fair' condition to 'very good' condition, however 9.6% ($130 million) are currently in poor to very poor condition and will require renewal soon.

 

To prioritize assets for inspection, maintenance, or renewal activities, it is important to consider the overall risk of the asset failing. The risk assessment conducted for the 2022 Wastewater AMP concluded that no assets are currently considered to be in the 'very high risk' category.

However, approximately 8.8% of the assets in the City's wastewater portfolio ($119M) are considered 'high risk' assets. These high-risk assets are all components of the WwTF, many of which will be replaced or renewed as part of planned upgrades at the WwTF. City staff will continue to monitor the condition of the remaining high-risk assets and plan renewal work as appropriate.

The Cost of Wastewater Management

To sustain current levels of service for wastewater collection and treatment, the City needs to invest in growth and upgrades, renewal, and operations and maintenance of its wastewater assets.

Overall Wastewater Investment (Annual Average, 2021–30)

Budgeted City of Barrie investment $75.8M / year
Actual investment needed to sustain assets $83.3M / year
Investment gap $7.6M / year

Breakdown of Wastewater Investment (Annual Average, 2021–30)

Lifecycle Activity Budgeted
Investment*
per year
Needed Investment
per year
Investment Gap
per year

Growth & Upgrades
New infrastructure projects are required to support growth, while certain upgrades are needed for infrastructure to meet regulatory requirements.

$36.3M

$37.2M

$0.9M

Renewal
As assets near the end of their life, they need to be rehabilitated or renewed.

$8.2M 

$13.9M

$5.7M

Operations & Maintenance
Assets need ongoing operation and maintenance work to function.

$31.2M

$32.2M

$1 M

* Includes Capital carry-forward, one-year Operating budget, three-year Operating forecast, and a six-year estimated Operating forecast.

Growth & Upgrade Needs

To meet Barrie's growth and upgrade needs, the City is investing approximately $360 million over the next 10 years. Based on the needs identified in the Wastewater Treatment and Wastewater Collection Master Plans, approximately  $0.9 million per year is needed over what has already been budgeted by the City. This gap is very small in the context of the capital plan, and not expected to impact service levels over the 10-year period.

Renewal Needs

The City's most valuable wastewater asset is the WwTF, which receives the entire City's wastewater and discharges clean treated water to Kempenfelt Bay. As outlined in the 2022 Wastewater AMP, the treatment facility is expected to need approximately $150 million in renewals over the following 10 years. As of January 2022, much of this work is planned or underway through projects to upgrade and renew the plant. City staff continue to monitor and prioritize renewal work at the plant.

Operating & Maintenance Needs

Additional investment is needed to ensure adequate resources to operate and maintain the City's growing wastewater system. By 2030, the operation and maintenance needs of the City's wastewater assets are anticipated to increase by $3.9 million per year.

Wastewater Asset Funding

A long-term strategy needs to be considered when exploring ways of closing the gaps discussed above. The City will need to consider increasing the amount of debt borrowed or increasing rates to build reserves, which in turn would allow for more capital spending when it's needed. A combination of these options may also be considered. Funding sources for building, upgrading and renewing wastewater assets include:

Funding Source Explanation

Development Charges

In accordance with the Development Charges Act, these are charges collected by the City from developers, to help pay for growth-related infrastructure.

Front Ending Agreements / Development Contributions

These are agreements between developers and the City that allow a developer to “up front" the cost of building infrastructure.

Debt

Long-term borrowing to be paid for by future taxpayers and/or through the receipt of development charges (depending on type of debt).

Canada Community-Building Fund

Formerly the Federal Gas Tax Fund, the federal fund provides additional financial support to municipalities for eligible infrastructure projects.

Grants

Project specific grants and subsidies, other than the Canada Community-Building Fund.

Wastewater Capital Reserve

Revenue collected from taxpayers through water/wastewater utility bills.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the impacts of the investment gap?

Any time we underinvest, we are adding to the backlog of work that needs to get done.  If an asset fails, then the cost (and service impact) of an emergency repair is going to be more than if we had proactively repaired that asset.

With so many capital needs, how do we prioritize wastewater projects in our capital plan?

The City uses a risk based approach to capital planning. Funding is generally directed towards projects that will address the areas of greatest risks, while also considering alignment with Council's strategic priorities, our ability to deliver projects, and overall affordability.

How does Barrie's investment in its wastewater assets compare with those belonging to other Canadian municipalities?

The Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (CIRC) assesses the overall health of municipal infrastructure as reported by cities and communities across Canada. Using the CIRC assessment, comparisons between the City of Barrie and the national average can be made.

Asset Renewal Rates Compared to CIRC Recommendations

Assets 10-Year Renewal Budget
(2020, $K)
Portfolio Value
(2020$K)*
10-Year Average
Renewal Rate
CIRC Recommended Rate

Vertical Assets

$45,848

$947,900

0.5%

1.7% to 2.5%

Linear Assets

$36,174

$405,681

0.9%

1.0% to 1.3%

*Only accounts for existing assets. Vertical assets include the Wastewater Treatment Facility, Biosolids Storage Facility, and pumping stations. Linear assets include sewers and maintenance holes.

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