Ontario Pipeline - Summer 2015 - (Page 24)

FEATURE | HIGH VOLUME USERS WHEN BIG USERS CUT BACK, UTILITIES LEFT SCRAMBLING BY JAMES CARELESS, SPECIAL TO ONTARIO PIPELINE M olson's in Barrie, Heinz in Leamington, and U.S. Steel Canada in Hamilton: These are all examples of major Ontario industrial users who slashed or even terminated their major consumption of municipal water. These cutbacks left their respective water utilities scrambling to cover the resulting revenue shortfalls, usually by raising the rates charged to their remaining users. To say the least, this is not a popular tactic, but is often the only real option for utilities. "We are really caught between a rock and a hard place in these circumstances," said Rodney R. Bouchard, General Manager of Union Water Supply System that supplies water to the Municipality of Leamington. "The problem is that when you factor in the operating, staffing, and capital costs of treating and distributing municipal water, it costs about the same to provide this service no matter how much or how little water is going through the pipes." Different Stories, Same Impact In 2000, Molson's closed down its modern brewery in Barrie, and consolidated its brewing operations in Toronto. The shutdown cost more than 400 people their jobs, and left the City of Barrie's Water Services in a serious financial hole. "Molson's was using 24 | O N T A R I O P I P E L I N E | SUMMER 2015 5 to 10 megalitres a day, which accounted for 10 to 15 per cent of our total water flow," said John Thompson, Director of Barrie's Environmental Services Environmental Services Department. "Their usage of our wastewater facilities was similar, which means that the water fees they paid us were significant." Adding insult to that injury, the City of Barrie had paid to dedicate a single water main and pumping station to the brewery and had absorbed the cost of cutting off 50-odd users from that pipeline and connecting them to another one. (After the Molson plant was shut down, no new tenants moved in to take up the slack; at least not legal ones. In 2004, police raided the plant and found an illegal grow-up of 30,000 marijuana plants worth $30 million.) The 2014 shutdown of the Heinz plant in Leamington - 740 jobs lost - was similarly disruptive to Leamington Water Services and the Union Water Supply System (a water supplier owned by the Towns of Kingsville, Essex and Lakeshore, and the Municipality of Leamington). "Our flow in 2013 was 6 million cubic litres, and Heinz used about a quarter of that," said Kit Woods, Leamington's Manager of Environmental Services. Because Heinz had previously owned a share of the water supply system before it was made public by the Ontario government, the company subsequently paid a lower wholesale rate directly to Union Water Supply, leaving Leamington with no direct revenue to be lost. However, the fact

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Ontario Pipeline - Summer 2015

From the Publications Chair
The OWWA Report
The OMWA Report
The OWWEA Report
From Our AWWA Director
Water on the Water: Ontario’s Water Conference and Trade Show
Conference Sponsors
2015 Fuller Award
2015 OWWA Awards
Student Art Awards
When Big Users Cut Back, Utilities Left Scrambling
Small Town Dilemma
Committee Reports
Certification Corner
Calendar of Events
Welcome New Members
OWWEA Member Listing
OWWEA Member News
Index of Advertisers

Ontario Pipeline - Summer 2015