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January 22, 2015

OCSI Releases Report on Wastewater Infrastructure Needs Assessment (WINA) Project

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The Ontario Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure (OCSI) recently launched a new report based on its research and consultation on the Wastewater Infrastructure Needs Assessment (WINA) project.

The Province provided OCSI with funding for a Wastewater Infrastructure Needs Assessment project to evaluate the sector need for a risk-based wastewater infrastructure prioritization framework for municipalities, in the context of sustainability planning and asset management.

The report, "When the Bough Breaks:  Helping municipalities prioritize infrastructure investment to build resilient wastewater and stormwater systems," is presented in three parts: 1) Risk-Based Prioritization; 2) Related Initiatives and Resources; and 3) Findings and Recommendations.

The key recommendations of the report are to:

  1. Develop self-assessment rating and report card (dashboard) of the sustainability and resiliency of wastewater and stormwater systems.
  2. Develop guidelines to build resilient wastewater and stormwater systems which include adaptability to climate change and growth (e.g. resiliency condition assessment).
  3. Identify what additional data on stormwater system performance monitoring and reporting would be useful to identify future infrastructure needs (or operational needs) to enhance the health of the watershed and to develop better stormwater systems in the future.
  4. Pilot a risk-based prioritization tool with variety of municipalities (size and location) to develop a standard approach for municipalities to evaluate and prioritize infrastructure needs for wastewater and stormwater systems for inclusion in Asset Management Plans.
  5. Identify learning needs for Asset Management Planning and Sustainability Plans, e.g. big picture benefits of Asset Management Plans. Develop training that meets the learning needs and enhances the municipality’s ability to work together across departments. For example, attendance at training to include three representatives from the municipality (e.g., operations, engineering and finance).
  6. Develop terms of reference and on-going support for "peer-to-peer" municipal groups for wastewater and stormwater Asset Management Planning and Sustainability Plans.
  7. Develop a best practices guide for small communities adapting to extreme rainfall. The guide should share tools, tips and templates to help small communities better address the risks in their wastewater and stormwater systems associated with extreme rainfall. 
  8. Develop communication tools targeted to the general public and elected officials to promote understanding and value of infrastructure and the need for investment to build resilient wastewater and stormwater systems.
  9. Promote the principles of life-cycle costing and the benefits of full-cost recovery for water, wastewater and stormwater services.Advocate for a systems approach in managing drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems that includes a watershed approach, as defined by integrated water resources management.

The complete results of the on-line survey are published in the appendix to the report."When the Bough Breaks:  Helping municipalities prioritize infrastructure investment to build resilient wastewater and stormwater systems" can be downloaded at

OCSI is an umbrella organization that is uniquely qualified to provide the necessary technical expertise through representation from six well-established Ontario associations with a strong focus on municipal infrastructure issues and who collectively connect with 96% of Ontario municipalities.


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