If you have questions about contractors, water meter installation or specific work required on your property, please contact the RM office.
About this project
This new system will transport wastewater from about 1,800 properties in South St. Andrews to the North End Pollution Control Centre in Winnipeg. This will greatly reduce how frequently holding tanks must be pumped out and will assist the transition away from septic fields in this environmentally sensitive area.
With construction now completed, the system is expected to begin operation in the spring of 2021. The last remaining steps are rate-setting by the Public Utilities Board and finalization of our service agreements with other municipalities.
How the system will work
Using a low pressure sewer system, wastewater will be moved from properties in South St. Andrews to a forcemain and shared regional gravity sewer line running to the North End Water Pollution Control Centre in Winnipeg. St. Andrews will enter into formal agreements with the RM of West St. Paul and the City of Winnipeg to share services. We have also entered into an agreement with the City of Selkirk to operate our system during the first years of use as our staff gain experience.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 construction is now complete. All residents in these service areas will have the opportunity to connect once the system starts up in the spring of 2021.
Costs to homeowners
Users of the service will be responsible for three different types of costs which are explained below. You can also download a PDF showing all of these costs in one chart.
1. Your share of the public infrastructure cost
Every property in the service area will pay an equal portion of the RM’s capital cost to build the public infrastructure and extend it to everyone’s property lines. The fee for each household will be $7,264.37. You can pay this fee over time by making an annual payment of $464, which will be automatically added to your property tax bill for the next 20 years. Or, instead of making annual payments, you can prepay the $7,264.37 in one lump sum. The fee will be due when the system is ready for operation, regardless of whether a homeowner is hooking up immediately or waiting longer.
2. The cost of work on your property and the one-time connection fee
When you are getting ready to connect to the system, you will be responsible for these costs:
- Any equipment and work needed on your property, including installation, maintenance and required upgrades, and
- A one-time connection fee to the City of Winnipeg.
Based on information from contractors and installations to date, the average cost of the work required on a property is about $6,300. However, costs can be higher because of challenges such as failing tanks, pumps or underground services that make pushing the pipe to the home more complex.
The best way to determine your costs is to contact an approved contractor.
The one-time connection fee will be $2,680 in 2021 and will increase over time.
3. Your share of the cost to operate the system
Once your household is hooked up, you will receive a quarterly bill for your use of the system. The bill will include a basic participation fee plus a charge for the number of cubic meters your household has used during the quarter.
The $/cubic meter rate will be approved by the Public Utilities Board, based on a rate-setting model.
Unconnected properties may be required to pay a special service levy of $100/year (prorated to $75 in the first year of operation) until they hook up to the system. Read more here about this proposed levy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it true that provincial legislation says water softener discharge shouldn't enter a municipal water treatment system?
Provincial legislation says that softener discharge water can affect biological breakdown in an "on-site wastewater management system” such as a septic tank and septic field.
However, there are different considerations when wastewater is headed to a treatment plant. The presence of water softener discharge in our wastewater will have no impact on operations at the Winnipeg treatment plant. In fact, it could actually be beneficial to our system because it may reduce the need to use chemical pre-treatments before wastewater is sent to the treatment plant.
Measuring inflow, rather than outflow, is a practical way for municipal utilities to measure the volume of wastewater generated by each property. Virtually all water going into a home goes out through drains and toilets – therefore, the volume of water entering a home is a good indicator of how much wastewater will end up in the municipal system.
It’s also more economical to measure clean water flowing in, rather than effluent flowing out. The equipment costs far less, lasts longer and is easier to get at and maintain.
Geothermal systems draw water ahead of the meter. Therefore, the water they use is not metered.
The meter measures the amount of water flowing into a home through the incoming water pipe. Nearly all of this water will leave the home through drains and toilets – therefore, measuring water inflow is a practical way to determine wastewater outflow.
In our system, it’s standard to install the meter after the point where the water line branches off to the outside tap. This ensures that the meter records only the water headed into your home – not the water flowing to your outside tap for outdoor uses.
When you’re ready to have a meter installed, you can talk to the installer about any concerns you may have about the planned location for the meter. In some cases, existing plumbing may be configured in a way that makes it very difficult to locate the meter beyond the line leading to the outside tap – and if so, you may want to consider relocating the line. Additional plumbing may also be needed to work around outside lines, water softeners and other equipment.
Please keep in mind that you may be responsible for any additional work required beyond a standard installation.
There is no additional charge for the metering equipment and a standard installation.
Most times, a standard installation is all that is required. However, additional work is sometimes needed, and the homeowner may be responsible for these costs. The installer will point out any situations of this kind.
Metering requirements for the South St. Andrews system are specified in By-law No. 4291, which was passed by Council in October 2018. The by-law states that a meter must be installed so that it measures all water supplied to a property by a well, unless the well water can be used only for irrigation.
The RM will use radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to make the process more efficient and hassle-free. Instead of entering homes to check meters, RM staff will do drive-by readings using wireless scanners. The system will also flag unusually high or low readings so homeowners can be alerted to the possibility of a leaky toilet or other problem.
What about the backwash from softener systems and other water conditioners? If these systems discharge outside, the backwash doesn't go into the wastewater system. Will it still be metered?
Discharge from water softeners is considered wastewater. If the softener is discharged outside, rather than to the sewer pipe, it may be possible to install the meter after the softener. However, the backwash must end up in an environmentally approved discharge area. This means the homeowner must ensure that the discharge remains on the property. Letting softener discharge run into a public ditch is a bad practice.
April 2021 is our target date.
No, there is no set schedule for connecting. You can hook up as soon as the service begins operating, as long as your property is ready and the RM has installed a meter. Current provincial regulations say you have up to five years to connect, once the system starts up.
No, homes in both areas can begin using the system as soon as it begins operating. The system was constructed in two phases, but both parts have been completed in time for the spring 2021 start-up.
Residents have two options: They can pay this fee in one lump sum when the service starts up in the spring, or they can add the fee to their property taxes and pay it over a 20-year term. If they choose to add the fee to their property tax bill, the first installment will be due in October 2021, when property taxes are paid.
The fee amount is now being calculated by the RM, based on the final costs of construction. All households will soon receive a notice explaining what this amount will be, when payment will be due and the option to finance the fee on property tax bills.
The first step is to contact a qualified contractor to determine what work will be required on your property. Please see the Getting Your Property Ready page for a list of approved companies. You'll also find a fact sheet on technical requirements.
Before the system goes into operation, we will mail out an information package with all details, including payment timelines and opportunities to finance these costs on your property bills. In the meantime, we'll continue to post updates on this website and through CONNECT notification system.
How is the South St. Andrews Wastewater System affected by the City of Winnipeg's concerns about sewage treatment capacity?
The City of Winnipeg has capacity to treat wastewater from our new system. Under our 10-year agreement, soon to be finalized, Winnipeg will provide wastewater treatment services for up to 1,800 households in South St. Andrews. At current rates of growth, this is more than adequate to handle the community's needs.
It’s also important to note that our system won’t significantly contribute to the volume of sludge treated at the Winnipeg plant, since our system will deliver wastewater with solids already separated in residential holding tanks.
That said, waste management capacity is a long-term concern for Winnipeg and many other municipalities. That's why Winnipeg is embarking on a major expansion of its North End Treatment Plan. At the current schedule, the expansion is expected to be completed within eight years.
Here in St. Andrews, we’re also taking forward-looking action to ensure our long-term needs will be met. We’re currently developing a wastewater management strategy for the entire municipality. Engineers have been contracted to help us with the planning.
Please contact the RM office by using the inquiry form or by calling 204-738-2076. There is no additional charge for the meter and a standard installation.
Please note that some situations may create the need for additional work. If so, these costs may be the responsibility of the property owner.
The system will assist South St. Andrews residents as they make the transition from septic fields to more environmentally friendly ways of managing household waste. As aging septic fields fail, they increase the risk of leaching, odour, backup and exposure to harmful substances. Land near the Red River is also environmentally sensitive, which has prompted the provincial government to prohibit new and replacement septic fields in the Red River Corridor designated area.
This means all homes in the designated area will eventually have to replace septic fields with holding tanks, which will need frequent costly pump-outs. By providing a convenient system to carry the wastewater portion of sewage away, we can greatly reduce the frequency with which holding tanks will need to be emptied. In this way, we can help residents do their part to protect the well-being of our natural environment for future generations and improve home resale values.
The system is expected to begin operating in the spring of 2021. Once the system is ready for operation, homeowners in the service area will have up to five years to hook up, based on current provincial regulations.
The deadline is set by the provincial government. Under provincial regulations, residents in the service area are mandated to connect within five years of the system beginning operation.
If the property is sold after the wastewater system is up and running, and before the home has been connected, the new owner has two years to hook up to the system following transfer of the title.
The system is expected to begin operation in the spring of 2021. Once the system is ready for operation, homeowners in the service area will have up to five years to hook up.
The first step is to contact a qualified contractor to determine what work will be required on your property. Please see the Hiring a Contractor Fact Sheet for a list of approved companies and other facts to keep in mind.