McClintock Capacity Expansion


The Township of Algonquin Highlands (Township) currently owns and operates one (1) hauled sewage disposal site within its geographical boundaries, which is known as the McClintock Septage Lagoon.  The McClintock Septage Lagoon is approximately eight (8) kilometres (km) northeast of the Hamlet of Dorset (Figure 1).  Access is gained to the Site from 1068 Wes Clarke Trail, which is located approximately 400 metres (m) east of McClintock Road (Figure 2).   The Township does not own or operate a municipal sewage or wastewater treatment plant and there are no municipally serviced areas for sewage in the Township. 

The McClintock Site operates under the amended Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP) Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) number 3746-8RRM8C, which came into effect on March 14, 2012.  As per the current ECA, the maximum allowable volume of septage to be received at the McClintock Site in a given year is 2,470 cubic m³. 

The McClintock Sewage Lagoon was established to receive hauled liquid waste from local septic and sewage holding tanks.  Septage is collected, transported, and disposed of by private haulers.  Septage is waste from a septic system tank, holding tank or portable toilet and is characterized as raw and untreated sewage that includes both the solids and liquids.  While the Township owns and operates five (5) solid waste disposal facilities, neither septage or biosolids are accepted at any of these facilities.  The only facility in the Township that operates as an approved sewage works for municipal and private septage is the McClintock Septage Lagoon. 

The liquid is received into a single exfiltration lagoon cell directly from haulage trucks, after passing through a concrete screening box.  Discharge of effluent from the lagoon cell occurs by percolation into the sandy overburden below the cell and by evaporation.  Solids settle to the bottom of the lagoon and, over time, fill the voids in the underlying sandy soils.  The solids are periodically re-distributed to allow further percolation into the overburden.  There is no direct removal of supernatant or sludge from the lagoon for disposal purposes at this time.

In 2011 through 2013, due to the concern of both the functionality of the existing lagoon, as well as the limited approved capacity of the lagoon, the Township retained Cambium to explore and present a list of potentially suitable options that would allow the Township to manage the septage generated within its boundaries over the long-term.  The Township expressed an explicit interest in utilizing the infrastructure already in place at the McClintock Site, by improving the overall operation and functionality of the existing system, expanding the existing lagoon, or implementing an alternative technology on the same Site.  In addition to exploring these options, Cambium also considered alternative solutions for consideration by the Township.

The results of the initial research were presented in a report entitled Septage Management Options (Cambium, 2013); this work and report built on previous studies completed for septage management (Cambium, 2011).

Although all of the options presented in the Septage Management Options report were technically feasible, the capital costs of some of the options precluded them from being fiscally viable for the Township. The two (2) most viable options based on their lower capital costs and suitability for the scale of disposal were i) constructing dewatering trenches or ii) a lagoon system on the lands adjacent to the McClintock lagoon. The lands adjacent the Site are Crown Land owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and could possibly be obtained for expansion at the Site. The geology at the Site (sandy soils) also appeared to be favourable for subsurface disposal through dewatering trenches or exfiltration lagoons; however, this needed to be verified through on-site investigation and testing. There were also no adjacent land owners or documented sensitive ecological features in close proximity to the Site, and the existing historical use of septage disposal at the McClintock Lagoon supported expansion of the existing Site.

Based on the recommendations and conclusions included in the Septage Management Options report, the Township contacted the MNRF to determine if the MNRF would agree, in principal, to selling the land to the Township.  Staff received confirmation from the MNRF that, provided there were no concerns identified through the required Class Environmental Assessment (EA), the MNRF did not see any reason the sale would not go ahead.  As such, the Township initiated the next steps involved with evaluating the various alternatives. 

In late 2016, Cambium was retained by the Township to complete a preliminary assessment in support of a proposed expansion of the McClintock Site (Phase 1 of the expansion project).  The objective was to confirm the geology of the adjacent lands to aid in evaluating the various expansion alternatives. Preliminary hydrogeological investigation and terrain analysis / impact assessment completed in late 2016 determined that the geology of the adjacent lands was favourable for site expansion.  Given these preliminary results, additional studies were commenced in early 2017 to continue to assess the adjacent lands including a: Hydrogeological Study, Natural Heritage Study, and an Archaeological Study.  Some preliminary results of these studies are available and were presented at the Public Information Centre, held on August 25, 2018.

Class Environmental Assessment

As this is a municipal infrastructure project, a Municipal Engineers Association (MEA) Schedule “C” Class Environmental Assessment is required.  The following provides:

  • an overview of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Process; and,
  • explains the role of the public in the process and opportunities to get involved

The purpose of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (EA Act) is “the betterment of the people of the whole or any part of Ontario by providing for the protection, conservation and wise management in Ontario of the environment”. Environment is applied broadly and includes the natural, social, cultural, built, and economic components.

Environment Assessment (EA) is a decision making process to promote good environmental assessment planning. The key features are:

  • Early consultation
  • Consideration of a reasonable range of alternatives
  • Assessment of environmental effects
  • Systematic evaluation of alternatives
  • Clear documentation and traceable decision making

There are 2 basic types of EA processes:

  • Individual EA
    • requires Terms of Reference approved by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP)
    • requires that EA report be submitted to MECP for review and approval by the province
  • Class EA
    • project is approved subject to compliance with an approved Class EA process for a group or “class” of projects

The Municipal Class EA is an approved Class EA process which applies to municipal infrastructure projects including roads, water, wastewater, and transit.

There are four types of projects or activities:

Schedule ‘A’

  • municipal maintenance, operational and emergency activities
  • pre-approved therefore municipality can proceed without further approval under the EA Act

Schedule ‘A+’

  • pre-approved, however the public is to be advised prior to project implementation

Schedule ‘B’

  • projects with the potential for some adverse environmental effects
  • these are approved subject to a screening process including consultation with directly affected public and agencies

Schedule ‘C’ 

  • projects with the potential for significant environmental effects which must proceed under the planning and documentation procedures outlined in the Municipal Class EA document

The Township of Algonquin Highlands is undertaking the study of a Capacity Expansion at the McClintock Septage site and is planning this project under Schedule ‘C’ in accordance with the requirements of the Municipal Class EA.


The role of those members of the public with an interest in a study is to provide background information to advise the proponent of their support and concerns, and to review and provide comments and input about the study findings. For Schedule C projects there are three mandatory opportunities for public involvement.  The opportunity to get involved will usually be done through notices in the newspaper. This is, however, the minimum and on many projects there will be additional opportunities for example, to attend public information centres, community workshops and / or municipal council meetings. Members of the public with an interest in the study should ask to be placed on the study mailing list to receive notification of the consultation opportunities for a specific project.

Public Invite to Comment and Notice of Public Information Centre

As the Township has completed an initial assessment of various alternatives, as well as initiated the studies required to evaluate these alternatives, the Township of Algonquin Highlands now invites interested parties to attend a Public Information Centre.  The purpose of the Public Information Centre is to provide information to members of the public and other interested parties about the McClintock Septage Site Capacity Expansion Class EA, which is being completed in accordance the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA).  The Class EA is intended to determine the feasibility of a capacity expansion at the McClintock Septage Site for a long-term, on-site solution that will best meet the needs of the municipality with respect to the management of wastewater generated in the Township of Algonquin Highlands.

Public participation is an integral component of this process; therefore, all parties having interest in the Class EA are encouraged to attend this event to provide comments, information, ideas, and concerns about the expansion of capacity at the McClintock Septage Site.

At the Public Information Centre, information of the various options for on-site disposal at the septage site will be provided and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide comments.  Attendance is therefore highly encouraged. The Township's consultants will be available to discuss issues and concerns with members of the public.  Thereafter, input and comment will be accepted by the consultants until September 30, 2018.

Subject to comments received as a result of this Notice and Public Information Centre, the Township plans to proceed with the completion of the Class EA for this project and an Environmental Study Report will be prepared and placed on the public record for a minimum 30 day review period.

The Public Information Centre was held:

Saturday, August 25, 2018 
11AM to 1PM
Dorset Recreation Centre
1049 Main Street
Dorset, Ontario
P0A 1E0


To provide your comments or to be placed on the study mailing list, please contact the following:

Stephanie Reeder, Cambium Inc.
52 Hunter Street East, Peterborough, Ontario  K9H 1G5
Phone: (705) 742-7900 ext. 204

A printable form for comments is available for download.




Expansion Preliminary Investigation Report (Cambium 2017)
McClintock Archaeological Background Study (2018)
McClintock Site Map
Regional location map
Septage Management Options (Cambium 2013)