From: The Ottawa Citizen - April 11, 2008

‘Pilloried’ firm seeks apology from city

Officials ‘misrepresented facts’ about Manotick waste-treatment plant: Seprotech president

The Ottawa Citizen


The president of an Ottawa waste-treatment company is demanding a public apology from the City of Ottawa over disparaging comments senior city officials made about his company’s plant in Manotick.

Martin Hauschild, president of Seprotech Systems, says "city officials have misrepresented the facts" by publicly suggesting the Seprotech wastewater plant used at the Manotick community of Village Walk isn’t up to par.

On March 31, at the agricultural and rural affairs committee, Dixon Weir, director of water and wastewater services, and Wayne Newell, director of infrastructure services, said Manotick needs full city sewer service and smaller local wastewater solutions lack a good record of performance.

Mr. Weir said the Seprotech system handling waste from 68 units in Village Walk had discharged effluent that is out of compliance with strict Ministry of the Environment standards in 13 of the last 36 months, including every month of this year.

"It is struggling," said Mr. Weir, speaking in support of a $27-million project that will see Manotick waste pumped to the city’s sewer system and to the huge Pickard waste treatment centre. Mr. Weir said the small plant’s discharge of phosphorous and ammonia exceeded provincial standards.

But Mr. Hauschild, who was travelling abroad when the remarks were made, said he has not been contacted by the city with regard to any performance problems at the plant and he finds the claims of the city’s engineering managers "highly suspect."

Mr. Hauschild has been well known for his criticism of the city in its costly handling of the Munster waste problem, where a small community had a sewage pipeline built by the city to handle waste. He said it’s well known that the city’s engineers are "hellbent on putting pipelines in," rather than using new technology to treat waste on-site, and so he isn’t chasing city business.

But he said to have his home municipality cast doubt on his company’s technology is seriously damaging to the company’s reputation.

"The last thing we need is to be pilloried in our home community," he said, noting that customers could easily get the impression that the firm, which has 3,000 installations of its technology in the field, is not valued by the people of Ottawa.

Apology: ‘Damage done’

In a letter to Mayor Larry O’Brien, Mr. Hauschild says: "There are complex politics surrounding development in and around Manotick, but it is entirely unacceptable that an Ottawa-based environmental technology company should be caught in the middle of this."

He goes on to say: "City officials have misled you, council and the public in all matters surrounding the facility. The plant supplied to Manotick has been operating flawlessly from the time it was commissioned."

For many years, Manotick has been in the throes of a divisive debate over how to handle its waste. The core of the village and Hillside Gardens, a residential neighbourhood, are seeing failing septic systems and many people are pleading for action for a problem that fouls the air.

Some people have argued the Seprotech system, which uses a technology known as P-03, could be used to handle the problem. But the city’s managers told councillors they were having trouble keeping it operating for Village Walk.

At the March 31 meeting, councillors voted to authorize the big-pipe approach, in total a $33-million project that will also see replacement of 40year-old failing water pipes. The decision goes to city council April 23.

Mr. Hauschild said the city has a contractor operating the Manotick Seprotech plant at only 16-per-cent capacity. He said he was told by the plant operator that the city conducted a test of the plant’s capacity, discharging large volumes of sewage from a pumper truck into the system, but without adjusting flows and chemicals, which created a failure and a discharge of sewage into the Rideau River.

Mr. Hauschild said he hopes to meet with Mr. O’Brien and city manager Kent Kirkpatrick to get a public apology from the city within two weeks.

Mr. O’Brien’s spokesman, Pat Uguccioni, said the mayor has asked Mr. Weir to address Mr. Hauschild’s concerns.

"The damage has been done. They need to set this straight," said Mr. Hauschild. In his letter to the mayor, the businessman wrote: "We will be very forceful in seeking redress."

-The Ottawa Citizen-

Additional background information:  (courtesy of

Because of the superior performance of the "Rotating Biological Contactor", (RBC), wastewater treatment process, (as used by Seprotech Systems, Inc.), versus the "Activated Sludge" treatment process, (the type used by the City of Ottawa), the Comptroller General of the United States, as far back as 1975, sent a Report to US Congress, stipulating that any consideration of the Activated Sludge system must be accompanied by a costing of the RBC treatment system, if any federal funding was involved.

See Report excerpts below:

Report to Congress
by the Comptroller General of the United States

Activated Sludge Sewage Treatment Plants
RBC Sewage Treatment Plants


In May 1975, the Comptroller General presented to the U.S. Congress a report dealing with a program to reduce the costs of wastewater treatment plants that are funded by the government.

The report included a value analysis which compared the costs of an activated sludge process with an rotating biological contactor (RBC) process for a flow of 4.5 million GPD.

The conclusions were that the RBC option would result in capital savings of 44.2% plus annual operation, maintenance and replacement savings of $43,600 per annum.

The report said:


"The rotating biological contactor process utilizes oxygen from the air without the need for mechanical aeration mixing as required in the activated sludge process. If rotating biological contactors are utilized, a significant number of process components required in the activated sludge process can be eliminated. These include the aeration tanks, blowers, blower building, and large quantities of piping. In addition, power consumption would be reduced and overall operating costs considerably lowered."



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