SHEDIAC (GNB) – With preliminary work completed, construction on two projects to upgrade wastewater infrastructure will begin this fall in Shediac and Pointe-du-Chêne. The work, valued at about $1.68 million, is meant to ensure better protection of the environment and public health.

“Investments in wastewater treatment infrastructure are essential to maintaining clean waterways and a healthy environment,” said Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle.

The projects in Shediac include the renewal of a lift station on Wayne Street and the addition of a standby generator. Other standby generators will be installed at lift stations on Pleasant Street, Paturel Street and Pussyfoot Lane. In Pointe-du-Chêne, work includes upgrades to the lift station on Jarvis Street and the renewal of 455 metres of sanitary sewer and six manholes along St. John Street.

These projects are funded by the Gas Tax Fund and the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. Work will be performed by the Greater Shediac Sewerage Commission.

“We are pleased to see these important investments allocated to our wastewater systems so that we can continue to serve our residents with updated infrastructure that will contribute to a safe and clean environment,” said Joey Frenette, the commission’s general manager.

The majority of the other projects announced by the provincial government in May to help address water quality issues at Parlee Beach and Murray Beach are well underway or completed.

“Public safety is our number one concern, and we understand that Parlee Beach is a major tourism draw for New Brunswick, one of North America’s finest beaches, and your government is working hard to get things done in a timely manner,” said Rousselle. “A lot of groundwork has been done, but there is no silver bullet solution to fixing this issue in the immediate future, so we all need to work together on this. We are proud of the work that has been accomplished so far and we will continue to build on this progress in order to address the water quality issues.”

Following is an update on projects announced in May:

  • The installation of a rain gauge and near real-time data logger at Parlee Beach has been completed. A rain gauge was also installed at Murray Beach.
  • An education campaign about responsible dog ownership began in May and is ongoing. Waste bins, bag dispensers and signage have been placed at Parlee Beach. Flyers are also being distributed.
  • Upgrades to the Murray Beach sewage lagoon have begun. A nutrient infuser was installed. An ultraviolet purifier, as well as the backup generator, will be installed in the coming weeks.
  • The independent ground survey to delineate wetlands is underway. Delineation of a large section of wetland along the Pointe-du-Chêne Road and in Parlee Beach Provincial Park has been completed and a map is now online.
  • Construction on the Parlee Beach Provincial Park sewage system will begin this fall. A detailed engineering assessment is complete and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure is working on the design and tendering.
  • Equipment to upgrade the pump stations at both marinas was ordered in mid-June and will be installed as soon as it is received.
  • The inventory of private septic systems will begin in the coming weeks and is expected to be completed by the end of summer.
  • The Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture is working with Transport Canada on establishing a boater exclusion zone in accordance with the federal Navigation Protection Act. A meeting with stakeholders was held on Aug. 11 and a public meeting is scheduled for Aug. 24. The installation of buoys farther from the swimming area is expected to be completed next year.
  • All scientific work will be completed within the next few months and will then be used by the steering committee to make recommendations to the government by early 2018.

In April, the government announced measures to improve water quality monitoring, in accordance with the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality, and to improve communication with the public. Water quality test results have been posted online on a daily basis since the beginning of the season.

In May, the government announced about $3 million in investments in strategic infrastructure and studies to support water quality improvements at Parlee Beach. It also declared the Parlee Beach watershed a unique feature of the environment under the environmental impact assessment regulation. The declaration means developments that could affect water quality at Parlee Beach now require an automatic review by the Department of Environment and Local Government to determine whether an environmental impact assessment is required. To date, there have been 37 new projects screened, with one requiring an assessment.