By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
The Chatham-Kent Public Utilities Commission approved an environmental assessment for the Northeast Chatham-Kent water distribution system in an attempt to address capacity issues.
The PUC is looking to expand water supply to meet the needs of farmers and demands of a growing greenhouse industry developing along Baseline Road.
AECOM, an American multinational engineering firm, was awarded the $250,123 tender at the PUC’s meeting on Thursday.
The Northeast distribution system encompasses the area between the communities of Dresden, Kent Bridge, Thamesville and Bothwell.
“These areas do not seem to have the capacity right now to expand, and we’ve been working on this model for a number of years to find out a solution,” said Tim Sunderland, general manager of the PUC.
“So upon evaluation of the existing infrastructure, Chatham-Kent determined the infrastructure upgrades are necessary and required to increase the water supply in the northeast quadrant.”
Sunderland said it was important to move ahead with the project right away. It could be 2026 before the project is completed from start to finish.
An environmental assessment for the water as well as water and wastewater projects can take between 12 to 18 months. A detailed engineering design for construction will take between one to two years to complete, with construction also taking another one to two years.
The assessment will be looking at ways to supply the area for the next 20 years or more.
“We’re confident this is going to be our solution,” Sunderland said.