Petrolia water system needs fewer repairs

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It is not as bad as they thought.

Petrolia Mayor John McCharles says an engineer has recently looked at what repairs will be needed in the Petrolia water treatment system and it is not nearly as expensive as officials had expected.

In the past few years, engineers had said the water system would need about $18 million worth of repairs in the next six years. But McCharles says the town wanted to take a second look.

Petrolia is in the middle of water rate negotiations with Enniskillen Township. Enniskillen is considering whether it will continue buying its water from Petrolia or work with the Lambton Area Water Supply System, which is offering a guaranteed rate for 25 years which will save ratepayers about $309,000 a year.

As the municipality continues negotiations to keep Enniskillen Township as a water user, the town thought it would be a good idea to review the capital plan to see if all of the work needed to be done in the hopes of being able to offer Enniskillen a better deal.

“We talked to the engineers to get a better idea of what capital projects we must absolutely do in the next ten years and there are a few that will have to be done,” says McCharles. “But it is a lot fewer than what we had first thought.

“Instead of $18 million, we’re probably looking more like $10 million over 10 years.”

McCharles says the town will still have to put aside money for those capital projects, but the news means Petrolia can offer Enniskillen a better deal. “We can actuall reduce or need for capital reserves a fair amount and that would bring the water rate down.”

“I’m sure the bulk water rate offered to Enniskillen will be offered for less than what it was.”

McCharles says Petrolia ratepayers may also see a decrease in bulk water rates. “We said we would certainly try to keep our rates equal to what our other customers pay,” he says adding the distribution cost would also be added in.

“I don’t see Petrolia’s water rate going up and I don’t it see it going up for a number of years if we can keep Enniskillen as a bulk water customer,” says McCharles.

“Maybe work out to the best for everyone.”