March 14, 2011





-Presentations from ARESST members Furber, Langley and Peck

a) B. Furber re: agenda items 7 and 10—commented that the design/build/finance/operate process allows for flexibility but that the CRD has some policy decisions to make about revenues from sludge, struvite and biomethane first.

b) D. Langley re: agenda item 7—commented on the need to separate the issues that are to be decided by the CRD from those which are for proponents to offer. Staff will provide the delegate with a link to the Ernst and Young resource recovery report.

c) Dr. S. Peck re: agenda item 6—commented on the source control aspect of stormwater quality. Re: agenda item 10—commented on the life cycle cost analysis and expressed skepticism about the estimates. He presented slides relating to the current method of liquid waste disposal to the ocean and expressed approval of that method.

Discussion included the following points:
 The CRD is under order from the Ministry of the Environment to change treatment
 The degree of possibility that federal regulations might change or an exception be made due to the uniqueness of the regions’ features

EEP 11-17 Integrated Watershed Management – Implementation Strategy 

Excerpt about stormwater
Under the Liquid Waste Management Plan, the municipalities must address stormwater discharges to the environment.  The municipalities gave to the CRD a service to do the monitoring and provide that information back to municipalities.  The municipalities are then responsible for dealing with high rated discharges coming out of their municipalities. The CRD allocates resources to investigate sources of high rated discharges and works with municipal staff to identify them, but ultimately it’s the municipalities’ responsibility for mitigating and improving those discharges. (Minutes, page 2)


Esquimalt Committee of the Whole, 14 March, 7pm:
Letter from the Capital Regional District, dated February 11, 2011, Re: Request for Public Forum on Community Benefits [Draft response to be circulated at meeting]
Pg. 89


H2OMG: water conservation as necessity

Amanda Richardson
Nexus (Camosun College student newspaper)
9 March 2011, page 8-9.
Letters to editor:

Sewage-related excerpt below, quoting Steve Gormican, Camosun instructor of environmental technology and fluvial geomorphologist. Steve is also on Board of Air & Waste Management Association, Vancouver Island Chapter:

To help combat this growing problem, the CRD is implementing strategies to keep harmful waste from entering our waters.

“The CRD has a program in place for source control, for certain industries like dentists, photo shops, and laundromats, where they have a code of practice that they have to trap anything nasty that could be going down the pipe,” explains Gormican. “After a dentist drills the old mercury out of a person’s mouth, they’re not allowed to just let it go down the drain. They would have to trap it before it could leave the premises. This helps to purify the water so that it’s only organic waste with no toxins that’s being pumped into the ocean.”

The increased restrictions on what can and can’t enter the sewage system are in response to the ongoing debate over the proper treatment of the sewage being pumped into the ocean at Clover and Macaulay Points.

Gormican explains that while it may not be the most pleasant concept, the dumping of virtually raw sewage isn’t as bad as it sounds.

“As far as the island’s waste disposal is concerned, the CRD has conducted several studies, and the conclusion is that you’ve got a small area around the footprint of the outfall, which is about 300 metres away, that is actually impacted, and beyond that, you can’t measure any impact on the ocean,” says Gormican, who was called in by the CRD to help conduct the research. “It’s not a perfect solution, but it works because where it dumps, there is a vigorous water exchange. As the old mantra goes, the solution to pollution is dilution.”

Gormican says treating the region’s sewage on land is potentially more harmful to the environment, not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars that it would cost to build the necessary infrastructure.

“If they go towards sewage treatment on land, you’ve got to deal with all that stuff that comes along with that,” he says. “You can recover some of the energy spent, but you have to deal with all the leftover sludge. You could put it in the landfill, or do you truck it somewhere else? But you’d be creating more CO2 emissions by doing that.”



Peter Hanlon
Research and Policy Analyst at Network for New Energy Choices
Huffington Post
March 10, 2011

Last July NASA released a world map that identifies hundreds of areas in the world's oceans with dangerously low oxygen levels. These hypoxic areas - virtually uninhabitable for most marine life - are a result of eutrophication, or too many nutrients from fertilizer runoff and sewage discharges finding their way into coastal waters.

The NASA map of dead zones, as they are commonly called, is impressive in its scope and ability to make one both furious and fetal-position sad at the same time. But static, non-interactive maps, no matter how distressing, are hard to get too excited about in these glory days of online mapping.

Enter the World Resources Institute (WRI) and its interactive and exhaustively-researched map of 762 (and counting) eutrophic and hypoxic sites around the world, each identified with accompanying descriptions, photos and even videos.

WRI Map attached from source:

Surfing through the map without a guide can be a daunting task, so I asked WRI's Mindy Selman to tell me a little more about what trends really stand out for her.

"To me what is most striking is the pervasiveness of this problem--literally no continent is untouched (we even created water quality problems in Antarctica at McMurdo station)," she said.

As Selman explained, the doubling of nitrogen and tripling of phosphorous in the environment since 1960 -- primarily from intensive agriculture - correlates with the explosive growth in the number of hypoxic and eutrophic sites. Given the continued industrialization of the world's agricultural system, the future doesn't look much better.

"What is really scary is that experts expect that we will double reactive nitrogen levels again in the next 50 years," Selman explained. "The water quality implications of that are absolutely astounding."

As scary as the continued worldwide growth of oceanic dead zones might be, the issue has resonated little with the public, a fact that inspired the creation of WRI's interactive map.

The project's roots date back to 2007 when WRI gathered eutrophication experts to look at not just where dissolved oxygen levels were dropping, but what the causes were, how the problem could be addressed and the greatest barriers to those solutions. It turns out that one of the primary impediments to tackling eutrophication is a lack of public awareness - even a basic understanding of what it is and the problems it can cause. In response, WRI teamed up with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to create a eutrophication web portal, and the map itself was launched after a year of compiling data, photos, videos and individual write-ups.

Take a look at the map and you'll notice dense coverage of the United States and European Atlantic coasts thanks to readily available surveys, but in other regions data is a lot tougher to come by. "For most other countries we had to dig for information in scientific journals," Selman said, "and it wasn't collected all in one place."

When I asked if there are any particular areas on the current map that are underrepresented, Selman responded, "China and India both show about 10 impaired systems each--those are certainly under-representations of the water quality problems in those countries (based on the amount of people and agriculture there). There are several other places in Southeast Asia, South America, etc. where I'd expect to see more."

One of the map's most powerful features is its ability to show the locations of hypoxic and eutrophic sites over time. The increase in the number of sites has been dramatic, especially over the past 30 years. But with listings dating back to 1850, how much of this increase has to do with data availability versus changing conditions?

"Certainly eutrophication is more widely recognized now," Selman answered. "So while we might classify a site as becoming eutrophic/hypoxic in the 2000's, maybe it was experiencing issues beforehand. However, the general trend speaks for itself--there are definitely more impaired coastal ecosystems today than 50 years ago. And ...this is correlated with the significant increases in nutrients to the environment from agriculture and other human-related activities."

Despite the massive amount of research already conducted, data availability remains a challenge. But true to its map's interactive nature, WRI is looking for feedback from everyone - experts and concerned amateurs alike - to add to or tweak the existing list of sites.

"We are constantly adding new sites to list as we find out about them," Selman said. "That's one of the things we're hoping to get from this project--is a clearer picture of the problem as experts view the site and let us know what's missing, what we might have misclassified... Hopefully we'll start filling in those gaps!"

You have your orders, ocean lovers.