Emergency meeting on wastewater unites members in action

Over 150 people, including the Honourable Perry Trimper, new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment and the province’s 7 Members of Parliament, met today in St. John’s for an emergency meeting to discuss the federal Wastewater System Effluent Regulations (WSER).

Among the top issues for municipalities is a lack of money to put the required treatment systems in place, and time. Enforcement of the regulations is already underway.

“Our members are united. What is being asked of us under these regulations is impossible, yet we’re facing harsh penalties,” said MNL President Tony Keats. “This is an election issue and we need it resolved.”

MNL called the meeting amid mounting concerns from its members.

Members heard from President Keats, Minister Trimper, as well as a representative from the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change on the issue. They asked questions of their MPs, demanding action. A facilitated session in the afternoon resulted in two MNL resolutions to bring forward to its fall conference in St. John’s.

Members are asking for another opportunity to apply for what is called transitional authorization (TA) under the regulations. They are also asking the Federal Government for a permanent doubling of the gas tax.

“We support the goals of these regulations,” said MNL CEO Craig Pollett. “But we need a new path to get there. If we don’t get one, this will become a crisis.”