60 Pleasant Street, Bridgewater, NS, B4V 3X9
Tel: 902-543-4651 Fax: 902-543-6876

Sustainable Municipal Infrastructure

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The Town of Bridgewater owns and is responsible for managing a significant amount of public infrastructure. By “infrastructure” we mean concrete, physical parts of our community that residents, businesses and visitors make use of every day, often without even being aware of them. Paying for and managing municipal infrastructure is what the Town of Bridgewater spends much of its time and money doing, often in partnership with other entities. For example, the Bridgewater Public Service Commission manages the water system, and we work with several other municipalities jointly to operate the solid waste management system.

Municipalities have a long history of operating these kinds of services for the benefit of local communities, because it is more cost-effective and efficient to do so than for everyone to take care of these parts of our common environment by themselves. Sustainable municipal infrastructure...

  • helps meet the basic needs of all people in our community
  • is environmentally responsible

Our objective is to ensure that, over time, our infrastructures are improved so that they meet these criteria, and so that we can manage them in a fiscally responsible manner.

 

What infrastructure systems are included in the Town's sustainability plan?
 

1. Water Supply, Treatment & Distribution. The Public Service Commission manages the Town's water utility, and sets water rates. Our water comes from a watershed made of several lakes and stream systems in the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg. Water is drawn from these lakes and treated at the Water Treatment Plant on Century Dr. just outside of Bridgewater. From there it enters a large distribution system to provide high quality potable water for approximately 3100 customers and fire protection through hydrants and sprinkler services. Our sustainability goals for our water infrastructure are to:

  • improve our capacity manage the system
  • protect our source water
  • renew aging infrastructure
  • make the system more efficient and reduce water consumption

Update: On February 10, 2014, Bridgewater Town Council passed motions that the Town "recognizes and affirms that access to clean water is a fundamental human right," and "opposes privatization in any form of water and wastewater treatment services, including through P3s, retaining these services in the public domain."  This makes Bridgewater one of the first communities in Atlantic Canada to make motions supporting the Blue Communities campaign.

 

2. Sanitary Sewer and Waste Water Treatment. Everything we flush down our toilets is handled by Bridgewater’s waste water system. A large, gravity-fed collection system connects sanitary systems in homes and businesses with the main sewer lines. These pump waste water to the treatment plant located at 16 LaHave St. It employs several innovative technologies including an anaerobic digester (which produces and burns methane to produce heat), an energy efficient aerobic treatment system, and a new UV disinfection system. Treated bio-solids are pressed to remove water content, and transported to the Lunenburg Regional Community Recycling Centre to be turned into compost. Treated water is piped into the LaHave River. Our sustainability goals for our waste water infrastructure are to:

  • make the treatment process more efficient
  • renew aging infrastructure
  • reduce the amount of waste water that needs to be treated
  • protect the health of the LaHave River
  3. Storm Water. Storm water infrastructure is a network of drains, pipes, culverts and other water-carrying systems that bring rain and melt water from our streets down to the LaHave River and other natural drainage features such as streams and ponds. Mostly in older neighbourhoods, Bridgewater has “combined” storm sewers that also collect sanitary waste water – all this water is carried to the Waste Water Treatment plant for safe handling. However, due to the nature of combined sewers, storm events can result in waste water overflows into the LaHave River. The town is currently undergoing an expansion in dedicated storm water systems to reduce this problem. Our sustainability goals for our storm water infrastructure are to:
  • complete the process of separating storm from sanitary sewers
  • secure sufficient funding to build and maintain the storm water system
  • protect the health of the LaHave River
  4. Road Infrastructure. Bridgewater has a high level of road and active transportation (AT) infrastructure compared to many rural communities and small towns in Nova Scotia. As a regional business and service centre, our roads are heavily used, connecting thousands of people in the region on a daily basis. Our roads also see heavy use from truck traffic, and function as a thoroughfare by many users. The community continues to have increasing expectations for high quality services (especially accessibility and AT infrastructure), plans for which will require a significant increase in effort to implement. Our sustainability goals for our road infrastructure are to:
  • plan future road connections well
  • make the road system more compact and efficient
  • secure sufficient funding to build and maintain high quality street infrastructure
  • integrate transportation alternatives (eg. public transit & active transportation) into our streets
  5. Solid Waste. The Lunenburg Regional Community Recycling Centre (in Whynott’s Settlement) was built in 1994 as Canada's first integrated solid waste management facility. Thanks to this facility, Lunenburg County now diverts close to 50% of its waste from landfill. It is jointly owned by the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, and the Towns of Mahone Bay, Bridgewater and Lunenburg.  However, aging infrastructure, rising costs, and fluctuating markets are challenges that need to be addressed.  Our sustainability goals for our waste water infrastructure are to:
  • make sure the facility operates efficiently and is well maintained
  • reduce the waste produced by our community
  • recycle more waste materials in environmentally responsible ways

 

How will the Town of Bridgewater measure success in the future?

Over the long term, our goal is that sustainable infrastructure will result in the following benefits for the community:

environmental benefits: - fewer pollutants being emitted into the air, water and soil
- improved natural habitats (eg. LaHave River)
    community benefits:

    - more people having access to high quality infrastructure services (eg. transportation, safe streets, clean water, waste management services, etc)
    - better business environment due to high quality infrastructure services

      financial benefits:

      - reduced cost of municipal energy bills
      - more efficient spending on municipal infrastructure maintenance & management

        We will achieve these successes by continuing to improve our own operations, by working with community partners and businesses to start new programs, by setting appropriate public policies that relate to infrastructure, and by advocating for sustainable infrastructure policies at the provincial and federal levels of government.

        Sustainability News & Updates

        The Town of Bridgewater launched Energize Bridgewater in July 2016!  The 2016 Growing Green Festival will be held on September 16-18.