Hudson’s Brick Shithouse

What is the ultimate capacity of Hudson’s sewage treatment facility?

According to the people who built it, 25% more than what it was originally designed to handle, with future expansions possible. I have been told the system is currently operating at approximately 60 per cent capacity, but the only confirmation I’d accept from this administration would be in the form of flowmeter data.

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Above, the Town of Hudson’s sewage treatment facility as seen from Wharf Road. Below, the array of sequencing batch reactors at the back.

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The 25% comes from former Hudson/St. Lazare Gazette reporter Matthew Brett’s sewer system notes from November 2007, which I post verbatim together with a big thanks to Matt for preserving them in digital form:

Whole system will be housed in a two-storey round building 28 metres in diameter according to town engineer Trail Grubert. Six-acre site off Wharf Road, next to the municipal snow dump.

Grubert said they’d looked at six other zones that weren’t suitable.

Space already belongs to town, so didn’t have to buy more property.

Discharge flows into the Lake of Two Mountains.

Denis Provencher of LBCD says it will use industrial processing tanks, called sequencing batch reactors (SBRs), to remove bacteria and solids from the water.

The first step in the treatment process involves what Provencher calls a “rotary screen,” where solids bigger than 6mm are filtered out. The liquid waste flows into an equalization tank to await transfer to one of the four SBRs. There, each load is pumped full of oxygen, which promotes the growth of aerobic bacteria that consume the particles found in the sewage.

Afterwards, the wastewater is left to settle before being separated from the leftover sludge. The water goes through a further ultraviolet disinfection process before flowing into the Lake of Two Mountains through a 300-metre pipe. The sludge is treated and dried, and periodically disposed of in a landfill.

According to Provencher, the water and sludge being returned into the environment must meet strict government requirements. One reason the town is installing the system is because municipalities downstream complained to the Ministry of Environment that Hudson is discharging raw sewage into the Lake of Two Mountains.

Building is equipped with a carbon filter that neutralizes odours.

Acoustic enclosure dampens noise.

For now, the sewer system will be available to businesses and residents in the town’s centre within the boundaries of Lakeview, Mount Pleasant, Côte St. Charles and Main Road, and all civic addresses on Bellevue, Sanderson, Seigneurie, Wilkinson and Parsons.

Provencher said the treatment facility has been designed to handle a larger service area in the future. “In the design, considerations have been given to future expansion. For example, by converting the equalization tank to a SBR, the capacity can be increased by 25 percent,” he said.

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29 thoughts on “Hudson’s Brick Shithouse

  1. I am going to leave the inner workings of the shithouse off the table and for a moment reference the aesthetics , admittedly difficult with its new christening. I think the building is not too bad looking and would not detract from the way to the Jack Layton and Sandy Beach but site work and I refer to the snow dump and the Town storage yard was never finished. Really not even started. 3 administrations have left this heart of Hudson an absolute disgrace. From the start, it was the very worst location for a snow dump. Chain link fences and dirty snow and pipes and blue boxes and junk. Outside the fence the Town has decided to pile old pipes and broken asphalt. That’s right behind the shithouse. The rest is weeds and refuse. This site has the potential to be a park gem . It’ll never work for bldg. facilities because it’s basically 20 ft. of fill on top of marshland. But it could be a wonderful extension of our park system from Benson Park to Sandy Beach. Instead it’s the eyesore it is and nobody seems to care. We don’t have any money should not lead to : let’s pile all our junk there. We’re so worn down by bad I don’t think it even registers with people walking by anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve always thought that to be a good idea Brian, it is an eyesore there. Just wondering though where all that stuff that is stored there would go. Does the town own any other piece of land that could be used? The town doesn’t have a lot of storage space. One of the reasons we purchased the old medi-centre was to store the archives, the food bank and relocate public security. We needed the space as the 2 buildings they were in were being torn down for the new firehall. Seemed like a good idea at the time although this council said it was not a good deal as the town lost money when they sold it. Not true, sold it for 200,000 the rest was in the form of a tax receipt. Amazing how things get reported.
      Also, the artists are always asking for the town to turn over the old fire station to be used as an arts studio. Great in theory, Coaticook has an Artist house in an old post office(?) where artists share space on a rotating basis but where would the town put everything that’s in there? We are quick to say “why doesn’t the town do this, or that, but sometimes there are constraints that citizens don’t know about.

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      1. No, Diane, the town bought it for $200,000 and the tax receipt for something like $250,000 to Dr. Homayun. The town sold it for what I posted back in the fall to a St. Lazare realtor, who flipped it to a numbered company whose ownership you can research for yourself. Yes, the town lost money on both sides of the deal but I’m waiting for the numbered company to make its move before I comment. As Don Trump would say, a very bad deal.

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    2. Brian, the way I understand it, the town had little time to build a snow dump because of pressure from the environment ministry. That was at the time when Montréal was under fire for the snow dumping that eventually led to the massive sewage release that caused so much trouble.
      I still think the town should have moved the entire public works operation off Main Road and down there, then sold the land for mixed density and use. Diane evokes Cowansville but I’m huge fan of Knowlton’s news developments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The town sold it to Dr. Homayun? Council was told it was sold to a few doctors who owned the building, anyway doesn’t matter one doctor, 2 doctors, 3 doctors, it was to me a good deal as we only had to pay $200,000 cash. As far as the tax receipt, tell me as to how this cost the taxpayers? Just asking, as I don’t see it. Tax receipts were given by the town left and right for years.
        As far as this council I thought they sold the building to one person, who outbid the others, and who was going to build condos for seniors. I know the little house next door was sold to a numbered company and yes I do know the names of course, easy to get. So you are saying that this old medi-centre buyer was a realtor who then flipped it to this numbered company? Nothing illegal in that. I hear that this group wanted the property to use the two lots to build a much needed seniors complex? I’m thinking we need such a building, walking to downtown near services, churches, etc. but very little room left over for greenspace; perhaps the design builds in a sort of courtyard? This is when the urban planning department should be working to make sure this is an asset to the town.

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      2. If the goal is to make Hudson an assisted living destination, yes. The problem will be when our doctors finally retire.
        The realtor also fronts a developer and from what I can gather the town was under the impression the land would be occupied by mixed use multi family development, not an assisted living facility. If this comes to pass – and I say if – the town should repurpose R55 at the corner of Cote Road and Hillside for multi-family residential so we can add doors to the sewage system. That should be a factor in any future development plans, considering the downtown core is currently shouldering the cost of skewering three schools, two churches and a dozen other in taxable properties.
        That Oakland extension cost us $1 million, of which the west end doesn’t contribute a dime. Frankly, some might say those who don’t pay have no say.

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      3. No, Diane, the town bought it from Dr. Homayun, the last man standing in the original Medi-centre consortium. They paid $200,000 plus a tax receipt for the rest. They then sold it to the highest bidder for straight cash, as is required by law. What earthly use would the town have for a tax receipt to itself?

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      4. Moving the entire public works operation was discussed by our council for sure but if I remember correctly, it is a wetland and the environment department would never have allowed it. I think they tolerate a snow dump, not sure about fill though??? Speaking about that area, I also wonder if the Transportation Department was ever going to make the developer of Sandy Beach absorb the cost of an overpass over the tracks before building a high density development. Was this not an issue at one point? Maybe it’s not needed because the train that passes there is a commuter train and not a never ending freight train?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You misunderstood me Jim, our council sold it for $200,000 PLUS a tax receipt for 250,000 not this council. As far your comment on the Oakland extension and those in the west end who don’t pay should not have a say? Just under $10,000 in municipal taxes with no water and no sewer certainly qualifies for a say.

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    1. Funny. I was under the impression Mayor Ed’s administration called for tenders on 98 Cameron.
      As for your second point, Quebec outlawed zoning and loan bylaw referendums based on municipal property evaluations.

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  3. Jim and Diane, I still think the site around the sewage treatment plant must stay vacant of bldgs. just because of the fill problems (20 ft. of branches leaves and assorted refuse on top of marshland originally in the 20 yr. flood plain.)I believe the spot where the shithouse is was the only buildable area on that whole section from the tracks to the lake and from wharf to yacht club road.
    But I haven’t answered Diane’s very relevant question of where to locate the snow dump and Town works. I’ve looked at VD, St.Lazare , and Rigaud and their public works are quite removed from their downtowns. I wonder if the Cote St. Charles R-55 owners would sever off and cede to the Town a section along Cote adequate to our works dept. needs in return for some kind of rezoning. Or think about the top end of the Ellerbeck property along 342. Remember he initially wanted to cede the whole 90 acre section south from the CPR tracks to 342 to the Town. Maybe a deal there. Either have to be careful about disrupting residential nearby with what is for all intents and purposes an industrial usage. But it could be explored.
    Ultimately I would hope the Town works buildings beside the firehall would be revamped as the Town’s administration headquarters. McNaughten Hall could be leased by the Town to some arts group or simply sold. I think I’m hitting the bottom of my relevant ideas barrel here. Waiting for Peter to save me from myself.
    There is a ps here. The snow dump is surrounded by a very Nazi 6 ft. chain link Stalag fence . I know snow theft is a growing problem elsewhere but I thought it was always somewhere else. WTF is the fence for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To answer your very pertinent final question first, we were told at the time it was one of Quebec’s requirements, along with ditching and an impermeable layer of something. Maybe it’s to prevent thrill seeking kids from sledding on the lead-contaminated iceberg. Or maybe it was to give another consulting engineering firm a million-dollar contract.
      I really like your suggestion for an admin complex where public works is. The neighbours will be happy and from the bueaupalace St. Lazare is building I’d say there’s funding available if we can free up a body to file the paper and afford an infrastructure inventory to make Quebec happy. As for McNaughten, you’re almost as old as me and likely will recall when it had a stage where the wheelchair entrance/mayor’s office is now. Arts Centre? Maybe a tad small, but I would challenge the local arts community to start working the phones and all those big names they drop for support of an arts centre that would encompass McNaughten Hall, 64 Cedar and the parking lot. Parking? A work in progress, needs tweaking and not just reassigning the Community Patrol to ticket the Muskie fishers.
      I forgot the snow dump on purpose. If we keep our current snow removal contractor we don’t need one. I walked down there today to have a look. The gate was wide open and there isn’t enough snow in there to build a decent toboggan run.
      If the province insists on a snow dump, I know agriculturally zoned land is out and I live not far from R55 so I’d plead NIMBY. I say keep the incompetent contractor.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sure Mayor Prevost’s administration did call for tenders and the buyer who had the highest bid bought it. First time I have heard that the buyer resold it to someone else. I know who bought the little house but wasn’t aware of the second buyer. I guess now you are saying it’s the same numbered company? So be it.
    As far as the Oakland extension, isn’t customary that the developer pay for it? Yes Hudson taxpayers ended up paying for it.

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    1. I was a Wolf Cub and we’d have our pack howls at McNaughten Hall when St. James Church Hall was busy. I recall bile yellow walls and varnished moulding but that may be my doddering conflations.
      The more the merrier, I say. Eventually I hope a critical mass will form and give birth to a roster of candidates for this November’s municipal election.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The Oakland extension. My favorite subject. How far up does the actual sewer pipe go? Just so we are clear to the readers and non commentators.. this is the sewer extension that was paid for by our tax dollars for the totted miracle man, King Johnny come lately, who was going to build a assisted facility at the top of Oakland– Rezoned and all. That was before his telephone turned into, as Elvis so put it, no such number – no such zone. Yes. The Oakland extension.

    Sorry Lower Whitlock, Brisbane, and Birch Hill.. you don’t qualify for the sewers. Sure, if you take a spoon and dig a 1.5 inch hole, it will be filled with water within 3 minutes. Too busy running a pipe to nowhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can see the connection manhole on Oakland opposite the north side driveway into the old Dwyer house south of Ridge.
      If a sufficient number of residents of Birch Hill, Brisbane and Upper and Lower Whitlock want to be sewered, they have to petition the town for a draft loan bylaw. my understanding is that there must be a certain percentage of property owners who must sign the petition, otherwise the town won’t bother. You could put that question to the DG and get a more accurate answer than you would during a council QP. It’s likely the town would be eligible for government grants for at least two thirds and maybe more if the town plays its cards right.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve talked to a couple of Birch Hill people and it’s going to be a hard sell as many of them got to the stage where they couldn’t wait two more days to run the next load of wash and they have had to buy that $25K septic system. Then there’s probably a higher percentage of finished basements in that area (era of homes) with pipes out the back and sewers would be in front which increases total connection cost. And it would be ideal for grant money, but without that inventory of our infrastructure deficit we can’t hope to get grants and with such an inventory we may be told to fix a bunch of long outstanding issues before we become finally eligible for grants. I suppose I’d also like to know why, as grant ineligibles, we’ve hired a grant seeking guru rather than and infrastructure inventory wizard.

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  6. Completely on another subject but I felt it was important to remind citizens.

    Tomorrow is the last day for qualified residents to file an application to have a say in proposed By-Laws 679-2016 and 680-2016 regarding the Mayfair change of zoning to allow semi-detached housing. If 12 signatures are received, the town would have to hold a referendum. Residents who are in Zones R-44, R35 (my husband & I), zones A-46, A-50, P42, P43, P68, R40, R48, REC-41 and REC-45. Many residents are away for the winter months so a deadline of Jan. 31st was perhaps not an ideal date for citizens.

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    1. Diane, we hear in the summer that registrations are scheduled when people are away on summer vacations and in winter when they’re away on a sunny beach. I’m guessing if it was in spring or fall it would be that people are planting gardens or raking leaves. Don’t think a Town can schedule itself around these things. Didn’t mean to be snippy , Diane. I am not registering against the project although as a coherently planned project approved by our Town experts I feel it is just another ad hoc decision sloughed off as ” oh well it has to pass a registration and referendum so let the citizens decide.” I never saw any other argument other than densification put forward. As much needed residences for young families (council said that) they’re hardly handy to any facilities for young people. Out on to 342 on their bikes and down to the Yacht Club or Community Center . “Careful of the trucks on the hill , kids.” As for empty nesters , basically the same thing. Too far. We were supposed to densify around the so-called TOD. So far we have densification with Rodrigue and Ellerbeck proposing multi-family on our extreme fringes and our planners say OK. What do we need them for with their accompanying $500K/yr. budget. So I hope it passes at registration as another ill thought out planning nail in this department’s coffin.

      PS, Peter , why are we grant ineligibles ? I must have snoozed for something.

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  7. Well Brian, I don’t think you’re snippy, you just have your own opinion (which I always like to hear). Yes you’re right, residents are away on summer vacations too but 3 months? I know it’s hard to choose a time but most people I know are back in April when the worst of winter is over. I just think though that since this is the first project in Hudson to officially go for a change of zoning (am I right?) as an elected official you have to make sure residents who will be impacted will have their voice heard. Their councillor would have surveyed her constituents I presume?
    Don’t get me going as to what the mayor said about the project, “we need to attract young families”. Really? those semi’s will cost nearly $600,000 after taxes are added in. I have the brochure at home with prices and layouts, all lovely. The target market for this project is downsizers, well-to-do downsizers and not young families unless they have a rich papa. I’m sure they will sell as I’m positive Rodrigue did his market research first and knows there is a demand.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brian, you rarely snooze.

    Apparently as reported by Jim Duff in another post, to be eligible for grants we need to have a completed inventory of infrastructure including state of repair done as a prerequisite to being eligible. We may have discovered this after deciding to hire a grant guru, perhaps it was the first function of the grant guru.

    I’ll presume that they don’t want to invest public grant money in a town that doesn’t even invest in maintaining itself to a certain minimum acceptable level. I’d bet our current infrastructure deficit exceeds $15-20 million, so we’ve got a lot to borrow and spend so we can be eligible for government grants on projects we can’t afford once we’ve borrowed to get our infrastructure back in good shape.

    In simplistic terms, we’ve maxed our our credit cards and home equity line of credit, we’ve hired a butler and a gardener as staff, we need a new roof and driveway but we’re now asking the bank to borrow more to book a high end river cruise so we can see some art and opera.

    Brian, I support your qualified support of the Mayfair Light development. Surely the EcoTrolley could offer a shuttle service to downtown from those important cash cow hinterlands we need to bleed for their taxes.

    Frankly, I don’t understand why semi-detached, except that they’d maybe need 20,000 square feet each for septic I think under current provincial regulations?

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  9. Well , I guess that’s it for the world famous state of the art waterfront performing arts center. Now how am I supposed to get myself cultured and uppity ? Hell , Peter when I go past my limit on my Mastercard they ask me if I’d like to increase my limit.
    We need to get back to the basics you speak of and borrow way more than we can afford or ever pay off.

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    1. Brian, you may recall JP telling us at the last council meeting the environment ministry will decide from its Article 22/32 assessment what type of sewage disposal the project will require. Whitlock West was forced to install its own treatment facility to serve the entire 49-door project because it was deemed too wet and environmentally sensitive. The deveLoper transferred both the ownership and operation to the town, which was why Mike Elliott was so keen on forcing Schubert to connect to the Hudson sewer system. I was told Mayfair won’t have to because it’s mostly sand and backs onto a newly created ultra low density zone (part of the same bylaw process). If the enviro folks insist, the town can save itself future costs if it lets the developer install individual treatment systems. That way, the responsibility and maintenance costs are transferred to the individual buyers and eventual problems are deferred to future administrations.

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  10. You’re right about Whitlock West , Jim. It was a tricky site and Mr. Schubert was clustering his housing which made individual septic systems a nightmare . There are those ravines to contend with and ground water which seems to point at unpermeable ground that would negate standard septic (tank and field) . 42 bionests @ 20K a pop probably was more expensive than collectors going to a treatment facility like the eventual one we have there. It , I think, was the right way to do it. Hudson Valleys in the rezoned area has probably passed a sieve analysis which would allow for standard septic systems at 7K each x 24 = 168K. I think Mr. Rodrigue and Mr. Schubert both know what they’re doing. Both good developers but one’s a little calmer than the other.

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  11. 30+ years ago, Vermont was insisting on new developments having a common septic system. The logic was simple, WHEN (not if) Sewage treatment became mandatory there was one place to connect a pile of homes to.

    We looked at a few developments and the co-owned septic systems and tile fields were great little parks with super grass. And way cheaper to operate and manage than a pile of individual systems.Those parks could support an eventual sewage treatment plant or act as a pumping transfer point in the future.

    I’m told there are packaged small scale sewage treatment plants available as well, specially for small developments. Probably not popular with the QCEC (Quebec Consulting Engineers Cartel) because the wheel doesn’t need to be re-invented over and over.

    Schubert kept his cool very well when, with Jim’s patience, I was being publicly pretty nasty about the Birch Hill access. We forced the referendum that they chose not to have by rewriting the access plan, with I think only 8 extra votes after a bunch of people had worked really hard on it. Schubert thanked me privately after it was finally approved because clearly with a public Whitlock drive entry from St. Charles it made his development better and more marketable. I was impressed and he was a gentleman through it all.

    Mr. Rodrigue has brought great things to Hudson, against the current mostly, I really like him too.

    We simply can’t stick a developer with no way to build into a current market when there is a reasonable compromise available. Sandy Beach and R-55 come to mind. It’s in the whole town’s best interest to complete marketable developments before rezoning more land, especially those who will use the infrastructure of the Brick Shithouse.

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