Huron Ridge resident suggests different reason for flooding
in that area

By Liz Dadson

Kincardine council

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Five years and $6-million later, the reconstruction in the Huron Ridge subdivision may not have even been required.

That's the word from Jim Bagshaw, professional engineer and resident of the Huron Ridge subdivision in Kincardine.

Speaking to Kincardine council, in committee-of-the- whole Wednesday night (Feb. 19), Bagshaw said he hoped this would be the last time he had to come before council regarding flooding problems in this subdivision.

Following his previous presentations, council decided not to proceed with a program for mandatory disconnection of footing drains for all homeowners in the subdivision, and decided to do more monitoring of the area.

Wednesday night, Bagshaw explained that the flooding and sewer back-up issues, experienced in the area, could be the result of a blocked trunk line that runs across the nearby golf course.

He said an inspection of that trunk line, done Sept. 26-27, 2013, indicates multiple debris deposits of hardened grease and calcite with restrictions of five per cent to 50 per cent.

In addition, two large rocks were found inside the line; the line was running about half-full upstream of the rock in the southwest corner of the golf course, and the line is in poor condition with significant line restrictions.

"The degraded and restricted condition of the line was probably the main contributor to the surcharge and environmental spills from the manholes in 2006," said Bagshaw, "and the sewage back-ups into some homes."

He said there is potential legal-liability-insurance implications since the spills and back-ups may not have been an "Act of God" as claimed by the insurance companies.

Also, the actual flow capacity of this line is significantly less than the 20 litres-per-second design flow stated by municipal engineers B.M. Ross and Associates, said Bagshaw.

"Although the line was flushed before, during and after inspection, the rocks and hardened debris are still there, since September, 2013," he said. "There is, thus, a continuing risk of sewage spills and back-ups into homes that are upstream of these restrictions in this line, in a severe storm."

He added that the condition of other sections of the trunk line to Connaught Park is unknown.

Bagshaw outlined five conclusions for council:

  • Footing drain flows may, in fact, not be a significant contributor to overall sewer system flows
  • Flow in the sewer system is being restricted by debris and deposits in the main trunk line across the golf course
  • These restrictions were the most probable contributor to surcharges and back-ups during the 2006 severe storm conditions
  • Large capital expenditures ($6-million) were made that were based on incomplete analysis; some of this reconstruction may not have been required

He added that the municipality may be at legal liability risk of further environmental spills and sewage back-ups due to: current known degraded condition of the golf course line; lack of effective routine inspection and maintenance on the complete trunk line; and slow response to address other probable sources of water ingress to the sanitary sewer system.

Moving forward, Bagshaw suggested the municipality do the following:

  • Perform high quality root-cause analysis when faced with significant events
  • Present comprehensive and defensible data
  • Rigorously assess and address residents' questions and comments
  • Realize that routine inspection and maintenance of sewer lines is vitally important


As for the situation in Huron Ridge, Bagshaw recommended the following:

  • Remove all obstructions from the golf course trunk line as soon as possible
  • Inspect and clean the remainder of the main trunk line as soon as possible
  • Determine the reason for erratic water levels in the golf course trunk line
  • Replace the golf course trunk line as soon as practical
  • Seriously address the possibility of other sources of storm inflow, such as via manhole covers, sump pumps, etc.
  • If necessary, investigate alternate means of measuring sewage flows from Huron Ridge

To read Bagshaw's presentation, click here.

"Thank you for your informative report," said councillor Jacqueline Faubert. "Council needs to talk about accountability on this project and set a precedent before looking at other similar large projects. We can't change the past, but something needs to be done."

"I'm grateful that people are willing to work with staff and council in order to offer clarity on this issue," said councillor Ron Coristine. "We need to fix this and put in place best practices so this does not happen again."

Councillor Mike Leggett disagreed that the municipality spent too much on Huron Ridge.

"It needed the proper urban reconstruction anyway," he said. "The only money wasted may have been on engineering."

"When the former council embarked on this project, it depended on the data available at the time," said deputy mayor Anne Eadie, policy chairperson for public works.

She said there was not enough data at the time but a process has been put in place to increase the data on this project.

"We will discuss it with public works staff and our engineer," said Eadie.

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Monday, February 24, 2014