The Wastewater Asset Management Plan (PDF) outlines the 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.
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.
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)
|Growth & Upgrades|
New infrastructure projects are required to support growth, while certain upgrades are needed for infrastructure to meet regulatory requirements.
As assets near the end of their life, they need to be rehabilitated or renewed.
|Operations & Maintenance|
Assets need ongoing operation and maintenance work to function.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Project specific grants and subsidies, other than the Canada Community-Building Fund.
Wastewater Capital Reserve
Revenue collected from taxpayers through water/wastewater utility bills.