An in-depth review of water distribution and sewage disposal operations in the town of Smiths Falls has identified a potential $174,000 in savings to taxpayers.
Director of Public Works and Utilities Troy Dunlop presented the results of a six-month service review to town councillors on June 19. In 2017, he said, the town budget includes $714,280 for water distribution and $233,860 for wastewater collection. In 2015, Dunlop added, the water budget shot up to $1,120,000 due to unforeseen costs associated with water main breaks that occurred during a deep freeze.
Dunlop said the town has 62 kilometres of water mains, delivering service to 3,300 customers. The water distribution system also includes 300 hydrants. The wastewater system consists of 58 kilometres of sanitary sewers and three pumping stations.
Smiths Falls has a total of 13 staff licensed as operators of the water and sewer systems. Six of them have dual licences to operate both systems. According to Dunlop, the town could realize future savings by pushing to have as many staff as possible have dual licences, thus eliminating the need to have two individuals on call at once. The town could also save $58,000 in labour costs and an additional $20,000 in benefits by eliminating one full-time staff position which is currently vacant, and not really need to operate the water system, Dunlop reported.
The service review also identified savings through the disposal of some un-needed equipment. Dunlop suggested the town should dispose of two electrical units for thawing pipes, and replace them with a new steamer unit costing about $4,500. A seldom-used “sewer rodder” should also be declared surplus, he added.
Further savings will be identified when future service reviews are conducted in the wastewater and drinking water treatment plans, commented Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm Morris.