December 1, 2010




Edward Hill
Goldstream News Gazette
November 30, 2010 

(Letters to Goldstream Gazette)

The Capital Region’s wastewater treatment committee has released a report that contemplates piping effluent across the the mouth of Esquimalt Harbour to Colwood, although officials are doubtful such a plan would ever be used.

The submarine pipeline study outlines cost estimates, routes and methods to pipe wastewater from Saxe Point in Esquimalt to the south end of the Coburg Peninsula in Colwood. It also outlines options for tunneling and piping waste across Victoria Harbour between Ogden Point and McLoughlin Point.

The Royal Roads route, as the Colwood crossing is called, would cost anywhere from $70 million to $145 million, depending if a tunnel was drilled or if a trench were dredged in the sea floor.

Tunneling beneath Victoria harbour is estimated at $24 million and could save the $790-million wastewater project $17 million if a method of horizontal directional drilling is used, according to the report.

CRD wastewater committee chair Judy Brownoff, a Saanich councillor, said the project hasn’t changed from a centralized sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point, storage tanks in Saanich and a biosolids facility at Hartland Landfill.

The committee needed to understand tunneling options across Victoria Harbour, she said, and decided to include Royal Roads waterway in the study. The current plan does not include piping waste across Esquimalt Harbour.

“The committee is just trying to get a handle on tunneling and piping on the ocean floor,” Brownoff said. “The committee wanted to hear more detail from the experts on what tunneling means.”

Brownoff noted that the submarine piping report could come in handy during the procurement stage of the wastewater treatment project. Project bidding will be open to companies offering technology solutions different than the plan submitted to the Ministry of Environment.

“For anyone who applies at the procurement stage, this document highlights the challenges to overcome of pipes on the ocean floor,” she said. “The topography of the ocean floor is challenging in certain areas.”

Last year a consultant report recommended the CRD build a major treatment plant in Royal Bay, which was roundly rejected by Colwood. CRD water services manager Jack Hull said the risk, difficulty and expense of tunneling or dredging across Royal Roads waterway makes such a piping route unlikely.

“If the McLoughlin site is built and the West Shore needs capacity, the capacity will be built on the West Shore,” Hull said. “(Sewage) will go to that plant, not get (piped) across.”

Colwood Mayor Dave Saunders, who sits on the wastewater committee, said despite the McLoughlin proposal being submitted to the province, all options remain on the table, including piping wastewater to an energy recovery plant in Colwood.

“If the cost of this project is near a $1 billion, you need to look at every available option. Colwood is willing to look at any option of a closed, contained plant with no odour that offers amenities to the host,” Saunders said. “We are obliged to look at it.”

Saunders questions why the CRD is looking at expensive tunneling options rather than laying pipe on the sea floor, and then updating navigation maps.

"One large plant in the West Shore is feasible from sewage flowing across the harbour," he said. "We are still looking at plants (in Colwood)."

Meanwhile, the CRD is still trying to find land closer to Esquimalt for the biosolids and energy capture facility, right now earmarked for Hartland. It is also waiting for the province to approve a commission governance model for regional wastewater treatment.

“We are also waiting for money from both levels of government,” Brownoff said. “Hopefully there is good news in the new year.”



Bill Cleverley
Times Colonist
December 01, 2010

Flushing the toilet, turning on the tap and hauling away the garbage will all cost more in Victoria next year.

Councillors have approved several increases to utility fees totalling about $50 a household.

"It's never fun to see increases in fees," Mayor Dean Fortin said. But he added that, at least with utility fees, residents have a bit of control.

Included in the increases is a 4.4 per cent increase in the user fee for garbage collection, blue box pickup and garden waste drop-offs.

The increase will push up the fee by about $8 to $195.12 a year from $186.84. The fee covers the cost of hauling away one 100-litre garbage container a week; blue box pickup every second week, and free yard and garden waste drop-offs at the city's public works yard.

Factors behind the increase are a seven per cent increase in the tipping fee at the Hartland landfill, anticipated labour cost increases and a rise in use of the garden waste drop-offs.

Coun. Chris Coleman said council has to look for ways to keep these increases to a minimum.

"I think it will generate more discussion," Coleman said. "As an example, in garbage pickup -- do you go to every two weeks as opposed to every week?"

Part of the debate, Coleman argued, is whether people who do not generate garbage should receive some sort of benefit.

Councillors also approved a nine per cent increase in the sewer-consumption fee and a 4.5 per cent increase in the sewer-frontage rate.

The upshot will be about a $13 increase in fees to the average homeowner and an increase of about $312 to the typical commercial user.

Much of the increase is needed to make up for a reduction in water consumption.

Over the past decade, the volume of water consumed annually in the city has decreased dramatically, even though the population has increased.

A five per cent increase in the sewer-consumption fee is needed to achieve the same revenue as in 2010. The proposed budget envisages a two per cent increase in operations and a two per cent increase in the capital budget.

City councillors backed a seven per cent increase in the water-consumption fee -- again primarily attributed to the reduction in water consumption.

In anticipation of a meter-replacement program, to kick in late next year or early 2012, council approved a 10 per cent increase to the meter-service charge.

The increases will total about $28.85 a year for the average household and about $457 for the average commercial property.



Roszan Holmen
Victoria News
November 29, 2010

About once each year, Roger Smeeth chases the garbage collection crew in his Victoria neighbourhood to drop off his single paper bag of trash.

The truck stopped coming to his house about 15 years ago, when he stopped producing trash.

“There’s nothing magic about it,” Smeeth said, who lives in South Jubilee.

All the waste he creates goes into the compost pile, the blue box, or to Pacific Mobile Depot, which collects soft plastics, styrofoam and other recyclables.

The only thing that stumps him are old running shoes.

“That has to go into the garbage as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “I can’t find any other way of dealing with it.”

Smeeth called Victoria’s latest fee hike for waste collection “lousy.”

“I’d like some recognition,” he said, bemoaning the city’s bylaw requiring residents to pay whether they use the service on not.

Last week, city council approved a $9 increase for waste collection, bringing the total to $195. The increase covers a seven per cent rise in the tipping fee at Hartland Landfill, as well as an expected rise in wages, due to a new collective agreement with unionized municipal workers.

The annual waste fee covers weekly garbage collection, biweekly blue box collection and a yard waste drop-off centre.

By contrast Saanich only picks up garbage once every two weeks, and Langford residents pay privately for the contract service. This year, Saanich launched public discussions around possible service reductions to save money. Options on the table include cutting backyard pick-up service.

These types of discussions are coming in Victoria, said Coun. Geoff Young.

“We know we are going to be dealing with the whole garbage issue over the next few months, “ Young said. In 2011, the Capital Regional District will introduce its kitchen-scrap collection program. The city will likely postpone any changes to its service to correspond with the regional change.

“There’s no question there are a lot of questions to work through,” Young said.

Backyard pick-up service for garbage but not recycling provides the wrong incentive, said Young. “I’d reverse it.”

On Thursday night, council also approved rate hikes for water and sewer. Both costs are based on the amount of water consumed, and the average house will pay an extra $42 per year.

Costs need to go up to pay for a number of system improvements. For instance, water meters will soon be replaced with newer models that don’t require meter-readers to visit homes three times per year.

Also, sewer lines in the city need significant upgrades.

Another reason for the cost increase is a significant reduction in consumption over time. Between 2009 and 2010, consumption dropped 5.9 per cent, thereby cutting the city’s per-unit revenue.

Coun. Chris Coleman said the increases are minimal.

“We’re not making any money on this,” he said, adding its simply a fee for service.

Smeeth, a pensioner on a fixed income, has a different take.

“Each time I see my utility bill and its periodic rises, I boil quietly.” he said.


STIMULUS SPENDING + $200 MILLION (sewage plant mention)

Federal government's Economic Action Plan provided a safety net,
construction industry says

Andrew A. Duffy
Times Colonist
November 27, 2010

Sewage treatment project excerpt from news story link below:

Baynton pointed out there may also have been opportunities wasted as
funding had been committed under the program for projects like the
replacement of the Johnson Street bridge in Victoria and Capital
Regional District's wastewater treatment plans.

"Right now, that's not doing anything for us, and there's some concern
about what may happen with that funding," Baynton said with a nod to
the March 2011 deadline for spending. "Because that funding had been
approved, there may have been some other projects [that didn't get
funding] but could have been shovel-ready."

See rest of news story:



Nov 30, 2010 at 6:22 AM
subject: Victoria, BC: Big sewage plant needs comprehensive environmental study

Dear Mr. Newcomb,

I am writing in response to your email (below) regarding the Capital Regional District (CRD) Sewage Plant project proposed for McLoughlin Point, at the mouth of Victoria Harbour.

For your information, Transport Canada has not yet received an application from the CRD for this project. Once an application is received, Transport Canada will determine if it may be required to issue a permit or licence and conduct an environmental assessment for the project.

The level of the assessment will be determined by the Comprehensive Study List Regulations outlined in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Once the type of environmental assessment is confirmed for this project, a Notice of Commencement will be posted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry.

Thank you for sharing your views,

Lori Young
Regional Director, Programs/Directrice régionale des programmes
Pacific Region/ Région du Pacifique


COST OF LIVING IN VANCOUVER TO RISE (sewage treatment plant mention)

Frank Luba,
The Province
November 30, 2010

As the cost of water and disposing of waste increases, so do fees paid by City of Vancouver residents for those services.

Vancouver council will vote on the latest round of increases Tuesday.

The biggest hike in 2011 will be for water, with the flat rate and metered rate going up 12 per cent, while fees for other water services, such as connecting to water and installation of meters, increasing 3.2 per cent.

The hike means an increase from $417 to $467 for the average single-family home for water.

The flat rate for sanitary sewers for the average single dwelling unit is going up by 9.25 per cent, from $227 to $248, with sewer connection fees increasing by 3.2 per cent.

Garbage, or what the city terms ‘solid waste’, will cost homeowners another 2.7 per cent to remove, or a $6 increase from the average of $222 this year to $228 in 2010.

Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie said the fees reflect costs.

“Whenever you flush a toilet, whenever you turn on a tap, whenever you throw out garbage, there is a cost related to it, and those costs have been rising,” said Louie.

Vancouver has its own landfill, so costs have been kept down.

But the city buys water from Metro Vancouver and pays the regional district to have its sewage treated.

There are big bills in both those areas because of federal legislation to improve water quality.

Metro Vancouver responded to changes in drinking water legislation by building the Seymour-Capilano filtration plant, a project still under way and projected to cost $804 million.

But Metro is also under pressure from the federal government to replace the Lions Gate sewage treatment and upgrade the facility at Iona Island.

The two projects carry the staggering price tag of $1.4 billion for municipal taxpayers already paying off Seymour-Capilano.

There are also each city’s costs of maintaining and upgrading water and sewer pipes.

Louie would like to see the federal government pick up some of the costs of facilities required because of new federal legislation.

“When you layer on these additional policy requirements, you need to partner with us [municipalities] to help pay for these facilities,” he said.