More money needed for Gananoque lagoon work

Gananoque Town Hall decked out for Christmas in the winter of 2023. Photo by Hollie Pratt-Campbell/Brockvilleist.

Gananoque Town Council has approved a budget deviation of up to $125,000 for the lagoon road and berm maintenance project, to be funded from the wastewater reserves. This occurred during the Dec. 19, 2023 council meeting.

On Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2023, Council approved funding this project as an emergency repair, to an upset limit of $897,992.01, plus the town’s portion of the HST at $15,804.66, totalling $913,796.67. Subsequently, on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023, Council approved a motion that allowed for a budget deviation to an upset limit of $142,000 for this project.

However, according to Town staff, after reviewing the final project variance calculations for the additional imported clay materials, the total expenditures cannot be absorbed within the contingencies of the approved budget.

Following the conclusion of the lagoon berm construction project, the final clay quantities hauled to site were reported to be 14,519.50 m3, 45 per cent more than the estimated volume of 10,000 m3. The volume of imported clay material required was mainly for the clay keyway, however, as the project progressed additional clay was needed in certain areas.

For example, at the northeast corner of Cell No. 1, after extensive vegetation removal from this area of the lagoon, additional clay material was required to restore excessive voids and to level the top side of the berm properly. The additional clay required was not factored into the clay estimate calculations.

Elsewhere, three low-lying areas on the back side of lagoon berms required additional clay material to build the berm to specification. Due to the ponding of water, the extent of these areas was not covered during the topographic survey and the material required to backfill these areas was not quantified in the clay estimate calculations, so more clay material was required in ponding areas.

The location of the wastewater treatment lagoons is depicted at the top of this map. Graphic via Town of Gananoque online documents.

The staging area on the south side of the lagoon cell also needed additional materials. The quantity of materials needed to provide an acceptable slope for the access road was underestimated due to a change in the location of the staging area. The additional imported material estimate did not include the change in location and additional imported fill material was needed.

As well, at the time of the original survey, the water level in the lagoon was half a meter above the proposed bottom of the slope for the inside berm. Due to the water level, the toe of the bottom of the slope along the interior berm could not be accurately determined. More imported clay material was required to complete this section of the interior of the berm.

This repair project, which was not included in the 10-year wastewater capital plan, will now total a cost of $1,180,797.

Cells No. 2 and No. 3 may require similar repairs in the next three years, it was noted to Council. This budget deviation will be funded through an additional draw from the wastewater reserve.


Information on the Gananoque sewer treatment lagoons from the Town of Gananoque website:
The Gananoque Sewage Lagoons are facultative lagoons which have been in operation for over 50 years. The facility is located north of Highway 401, occupying approximately a 1.5 sq km (150 ha) parcel of land consisting of three cells. 

Raw sewage is received in Cell 1 from the East End Pumping Station through a 400 mm diameter forcemain. Once the sewage enters the first cell it flows from one cell to the next allowing the settling of solids and reduction of dissolved nutrients. The final effluent of the lagoon is then discharged to the St Lawrence River.


Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) reporter based out of Gananoque. The LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.

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