Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

May 25, 2000

College de'Alfred receives funding for wastewater centre

Penny Dutton, assistant deputy minister at the ministry of economic development and trade, today opened the Ontario Rural Wastewater Centre at Collège d'Alfred of the University of Guelph.

The centre, made possible through a $845,000 grant from the Ministry's Strategic Skills Investment Fund, will carry out wastewater management, research and training.

The Centre features sites located in Guelph and Alfred with an outreach training site at the Baxter Conservation Area of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.

The Centre provides extensive and varied skills training and is expected to train 600 students per year by 2001. Students learn how to install and maintain on-site rural wastewater treatment systems for use in subdivisions, agri-food processing plants, farms and other areas.

Wastewater management is a highly skilled, high-paying and rapidly expanding sector with a shortage of trained workers. In fact, one of the largest constraints on economic development in rural areas is the lack of skills in providing cost-effective, sustainable and easy- to-operate infrastructure for rural municipalities and businesses. There are 1.2 million on-site systems already in place in Ontario, with more than 25,000 installations every year.

The centre focuses on innovation and research and develops new technologies with the private sector. The bilingual program involves close collaboration among industry, government and education stakeholders and offers seminars, courses and co-op programs in addition to research and testing activities.

"This represents a bold and innovative investment in the young women and men who will be shaping Ontario's future," said University of Guelph president Mordechai Rozanski. "It is practical because it will enable students to apply the knowledge they will gain here to find creative new solutions to old issues that have vexed rural communities for years."

"This collaboration among government, industry and higher education is part of our ongoing commitment to promote and provide new educational opportunities, which in turn will foster creative solutions for the 21st century."

Doug Joy, a professor Guelph's School of Engineering and the general manager of the centre, says the new facility will allow Ontario to become one of Canada's leaders in environmental protection for on-site water-disposal systems. "It will open up new opportunities for the development of advanced technologies," he said.

Gilbert Héroux, director of Collège d'Alfred, says that by supporting this project, "the government recognizes the college's ability to make a significant contribution to wastewater management on a province-wide scale. We are pleased and grateful for the support of the University, the wastewater industry and our own community council in developing the centre."

The project is also supported by industry, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the South Nation River Conservation Authorities and the National Soil and Water Conservation Program.

Media questions may be directed to Nathalie Lalonde-Kingsley at Collège d'Alfred, 613-679-2218, Ext. 512, or Communications and Public Affairs at the University of Guelph, 519-824-4120, Ext. 6982.

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