February 2017 | Business View Magazine

182 183 Brantford, Ontario strength wastewater, or it could try to curtail it at its source. In 2012, Brantford identified 26 companies that were dis- charging untreated effluent and asked them to monitor their discharge and provide the City with appropriate data. “We used a carrot-and-stick approach,” says Kongara. “We gave in- centives to companies to either eliminate certain chemicals from their processes before they discharged, or they could put a treatment process right at their plant –pre-treatment, we call it –before all those chemicals got mixed with the City’s wastewater.We partially waived their over-strength treatment costs for a period if they monitored their operation and came up with a plan that outlined the steps they were intending to take to come into compliance with the by-law limits. If the chemicals are within this limit, our plant will operate efficiently. So, we said that anybody that discharg- es higher strength than what the by-law allows needed to improve. It didn’t mean zero discharge of wastewater; it meant that the wastewater that was discharged was within the by-law’s limit. The industries all want to be good environmental stewards, but if it costs too much money, it’s difficult for them, so we helped them with the incentive. The by-law provided enforcement actions if compliance wasn’t met. But everyone has been so cooperative that we didn’t have to charge anyone.” Half of the targeted companies were small – mostly stores and restaurants that discharged oil and grease. Kongara says that they were able to manage their discharge by placing prop- er interceptors and managing them well. “With- in the remaining thirteen, five of them have already addressed their particular issue, and seven of them are in the process of doing so,” she reports. “Every industry has cooperated, and we’re hoping by 2018, that everybody comes into compliance.” The major plants have already addressed their discharge problems, and the City is now working with some medium-sized operations. “And what we found is that it was really a win-win situation,” Kongara states. “By trying to work on this issue, they found ways to cut down on their water usage. So now they save money on water costs.” In addition, the City was able to take a full third of its treatment capacity offline, because of the reduction in effluent discharge. “The plant saved 30 percent of its biosolids hauling and sludge production costs – approx- imately $300,000,” she adds. “So, we’re already seeing that the plant is starting to perform bet- In taking an unprecedented approach to working closely with its industrial residents, both the City and its busi- nesses became more fi- nancially efficient, and the Grand River, into which the City’s treatment plant re- cycles its treated water is now cleaner - a win-win-win outcome.