Municipal Environmental Assessments

Requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (EAA) provide for the protection, conservation and wise management of the environment in Ontario. In this regard and in a broad sense the environment includes the natural, social, cultural, built and economic environments.

To meet these requirements, project proponents can undertake individual environmental assessments or, where a project meets specific criteria, a proponent can undertake a Class Environmental Assessment. The Class Environmental Assessment process is approved under the EAA for certain classes of projects which, when completed, complies with EAA requirements. Municipalities in Ontario (including Public Utility Commissions) can proceed with numerous types of projects under the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (MCEA), including drinking water related projects.

Considering the nature of a proposed project, it is identified as being either a Schedule A, A+, B or C project, each with progressively greater levels of consultation and/or planning. The MCEA process may include some or all of the following five Phases, depending on the classification:

  • Phase 1 – Problem or Opportunity;
  • Phase 2 – Alternative Solutions;
  • Phase 3 – Alternative Design Concepts for Preferred Solution;
  • Phase 4 – Environmental Study Report; and,
  • Phase 5 – Implementation.

The MCEA document is published by the Municipal Engineers Association of Ontario and can be viewed at the following link:

Most watermain replacement projects are completed in conjunction with road and sewer reconstruction projects undertaken by the City of Sault Ste. Marie. These projects are typically Schedule A or A+ MCEA’s which are led by the City.

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