February 17, 2011



From Ted: 

I have sent my analysis of the SETAC report to the CRD Chairman and Board preceded by:
63 Dock Street,Victoria,V8V 1Z9 250 389 1564.tedmeg@shaw.ca

The Capital Regional District Board Chairman and members.

This is an appeal to you to examine the validity of the Minister of Environment’s order to build land based treatment plants for Victoria.  It’s net effect will be to damage the environment and public health and safety and that damage will continue generation after generation. It makes a mockery of a generation of scientific and medical research and means all the time and money spent on monitoring has been down the drain. That order was based on the SETAC report which is therefore reviewed below.

Yours Truly, J.E.Dew-Jones, P.Eng.

With my usual cheek it occurs to me that any of you so inclined could write the CRD requesting them to tell you what action in response to Mr. Dew-Jones's appeal is being made and perhaps adding "it is an appeal that undoubtedly has the support of Victoria's scientific and medical community" or as you think best.




Bob Furber is now on Twitter with links to ARESST info with a few posts. Those on Twitter may like to retweet or email to spread the word. Bob sent these during the FCM conference last week. 

Let's see is we can start a Victoria "Twitter Trending" over the next few months with some of these tweets linked to ARESST and RSTV for details.

Bob Furber (@BobFurber)
11-02-10 10:30 AM
#scc2011 $1Billion to fix a non existent sewage problem trumps urgent infrastructure restoration... http://aresst.ca/?page_id=879



ARESST: Conservation Voters of BC have provided public with website list of email addresses for all the Liberal and NDP party leadership candidates, so would be great if you take this easy, quick opportunity to tell the leadership candidates that we don't need additional land-based sewage treatment in Victoria - and add the ARESST
website: http://www.aresst.ca  For example, John Horgan (NDP MLA in CRD core sewage area too), says 
"British Columbians want a government that ensures that environmental protection is based on balanced scientific principles, not empty rhetoric."

From Conservation Voters of BC:

And they’re off to the races! Candidates in both parties have now shifted from seeking members to trying to demonstrate they’re the best of their respective bunches.

While we’re trying to engage them with questions on the key issues, there is reluctance by some to speak out about the environment. Here's how you can help make this a more pressing issue for the candidates:

ASK QUESTIONS! Candidates are now meeting party members, talking to media, and laying out their policy commitments. Now is the time to make sure they’re hearing questions about their environmental positions. On the CVBC site you’ll find email addresses, Twitter names, and Facebook pages for all the candidates so you can put your burning environmental question to them. Go here to see questions that some environmental organizations have put forward. Pick your favourite(s) to send directly to a candidate, or come up with one of your own!

BE OUR EYES AND EARS! CVBC is adding pages to its website for each candidate, and we want to list there any environmentally-related statements or commitments (good or bad) the candidates make. It will be a running record for each candidate. CVBC is a volunteer-run effort, so any help we can get in adding content to those pages is much appreciated! Send statements you find here, and be sure to include a web-link so it’s verifiable by others who will see it.

If you get any answers to your questions, be sure to share those as well! If you’re a party member, make sure the candidate knows that when you ask a question.

You can also engage in the discussion on our Facebook page and on Twitter at @EnviroVotersBC.

Let’s make environmental issues a defining one for both of these races!


Naomi Devine and Kevin Washbrook,
Conservation Voters of BC



From discussion at Saanich Planning, Transportation and Economic Development Committee meeting 13 January, 2011


The Environmental Services Manager provided a memo dated January 13, 2011 regarding Harmonizing Stormwater Management Requirements, along with some
background information, and the following was noted:

A need to improve customer service and stormwater management on private land was identified. Staff members have been working on a draft Bylaw to address
stormwater management. Requirements proposed in the Bylaw are based upon Provincial and Federal guidelines.

The Stormwater Harmonization Project focuses on improving customer service by having all requirements in one document and improving requirements on private
lands. The document does not address watershed planning or public lands. 

Recommendations are to: 
- adopt a new Stormwater Management Bylaw; 
- endorse the Stormwater Management Requirements Guidebook; amend existing Development Permit Areas and Bylaws where required to avoid redundancy; 
- endorse the implementation of an awareness and training program and the registry of stormwater management facilities and outreach to property owners; 
- and, consider other methods to improve watershed management.

Committee members were asked to send any comments about the report to the Environmental Services Manager.



Tom Marshall
Planet Earth
Natural Environment Research Council (UK)
16 February 2011

A severe flu pandemic would send a pulse of drugs into sewage works that could endanger the UK's water treatment system, according to new research.

Sewage works rely on bacteria to break down waste so it's safe to release into rivers. If antibiotics and antiviral drugs make their way through our sewers during an influenza pandemic in the quantity predicted by recent studies, they could have a devastating effect on these bacteria.

An underperforming sewage works would release inadequately-treated sewage into a nearby river, with potentially deadly consequences for fish and other aquatic life. In many areas of southern England, drinking water itself comes from these 'at risk' rivers, so the risk of sewage work failure is immediately relevant to human health.

'The UK is one of several countries that have a robust pharmaceutical plan to tackle pandemic influenza. The massive UK antiviral stockpile will expose all UK sewage works and rivers to high concentrations of the drug during a moderate to severe influenza pandemic,' says Dr Andrew Singer at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, one of the authors of the report, which is published in FEMS Microbiology Letters.

'I'd like to think there's a contingency plan for re-starting failed sewage works during an influenza pandemic – at which point there will be significant staffing challenges – but at the moment I'm not aware of one,' he continues.

In the first study of its kind, the team exposed a model sewage works to a simulated pandemic, which included an eight-week course of antibiotics and the antiviral drug Tamiflu. They then monitored the sewage works to see how well it kept functioning.

The initial few weeks of the pandemic were manageable, but as the drug onslaught continued, the 'friendly' bacteria lost much of their ability to remove nutrients and clean the water. At the peak of the pandemic the sewage works showed signs of instability and reduced treatment.

When a sewage works fails to treat waste properly, it causes serious environmental damage in the river into which it discharges the treated waste. Authorities should consider how to reduce the risk from pharmaceuticals in sewage works and rivers. This can be done by minimising the use of drugs through vaccination, and by developing contingency plans to deal with sewage works that fail during an influenza pandemic.

Safeguarding sewage plants

Treatment works have some spare capacity, but not necessarily enough. For one thing, most flu outbreaks happen in winter, when cold weather is already making them work more slowly.

Antibiotics were probably the main reason for the bacterial community's decline. These drugs do nothing to cure flu themselves, but can be needed if sufferers develop secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia or bronchitis. Singer argues that as many people as possible ought to be immunised not just against flu, but also against secondary infectious diseases like bacterial pneumonia, which account for a significant proportion of the sickness and death associated with a pandemic.

Singer says the Netherlands could provide a model for the UK. It faces similar challenges – lots of people in a small area with heavily-used rivers. 'It's hard to maintain a healthy environment in a river that's one third treated sewage, even when treatment plants are working fine,' he notes.

The Dutch water industry has coordinated plans to 're-seed' failing plants with new bacteria. This isn't a perfect solution, though; recovery can take weeks, and many Dutch engineers admit their system could be in trouble in a really serious pandemic.

If things get too serious, of course, sewage works won't be a top priority. 'If we're dealing with anything more than a mild pandemic, society is going to be concerned with saving itself; the (temporary) death of rivers will inevitably come second,' Singer observes.

'Nevertheless, we need to be conscious of the risk of multiple sewage works failing within the same river which serves as a source of drinking water,' he adds. 'This would be an inconvenience society could not afford to ignore, especially during an influenza pandemic.'

How would more vaccination help?

The more people in a population are immune to a disease, the less likely everyone is to get it - even those who aren't immune themselves. Scientists call this 'herd immunity'.

More flu vaccination should mean fewer people get sick and need drugs that ultimately threaten the sewage system.

More immunisation against secondary infections (like pneumonia) will mean that even if flu does strike, fewer people need antibiotics.