July 6, 2011




I am really quite perplexed by the sewage issue. I have attended numerous meetings and heard solid arguments on both sides of the issue.

My position is that the City should have challenged the Province much more aggressively on whether secondary sewage treatment is a priority investment for all levels of governments (considering all of the other pressing demands) and if it is, a number of smaller facilities (rather than one large one) that make use of biosolids is much more practical – i.e. don’t put all your money on one horse.



Jeff Nagel
BC Local News
June 27, 2011

Metro Vancouver is under fire for committing $13.1 million to a
partnership with a private firm to generate more biogas energy at the
region's Lulu Island sewage treatment plant.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan called the project a waste of money and noted
the cost has climbed $2.5 million from a previous estimate a year ago.

"It is not in my view the kind of expenditure we should be undertaking,"
Corrigan said. "We have a lot of other places we could be placing this

Metro's board approved the spending June 24, with Burnaby directors voting
against it.

Paradigm Environmental Technologies will outfit the Lulu Island plant with
its MicroSludge system to greatly increase the production of biogas, which
would be sold into the FortisBC natural gas grid as green biomethane.

Enough extra gas would be generated to heat 300 homes and Metro would earn
money by selling it.

And the process would also consume more sewage sludge, which now has to be
composted and trucked for use at a mine reclamation site near Williams

The region should save money on fuel costs trucking the sludge away and
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Metro waste committee chair Greg Moore said the project may yield bigger
cost savings down the road.

Future sewage treatment plant rebuilds – two are planned at a cost of $1.4
billion – may be able to operate with just four or five big digesters
instead of the usual six.

"Those things are about $50 million each," Moore said. "It's a small
investment that could have very large returns for us."

Metro Vancouver's net capital cost for the Lulu upgrade is to be reduced
to $7 million thanks to expected grants totaling $4.4 million from the
province's Innovative Clean Energy fund and from the Union of B.C.
Municipalities, and from additional contributions of $1.7 million from

Metro would be responsible for operating costs but expects to break even
over 25 years.

Metro's board had turned down a previous Paradigm proposal more than a
year ago.

But the company came back with a sweetened offer that includes a share of
its future revenues and FortisBC offered to pay more for the biomethane.

Surrey Coun. Marvin Hunt said he supports the project, which he called
another form of waste-to-energy.

"We're taking a waste product and converting it into a useful form of
energy to replace the standard fossil fuels," he said.

"If we focus on the technology, this is a great money maker that is going
to work for us and also reduce the cost of future waste facilities by
literally hundreds of millions of dollars."



ARESST: Click here to see the Washington State beach bacteria reportVIHA website only says when beaches are sampled - not the results.


Marissa Cevallos
LA Times
June 30, 2011

Many of America’s beaches are still contaminated by sewage water and are teeming with bacteria, but many sickened swimmers don’t realize they’ve caught a disease from the ocean. 

That’s the rather filthy picture of America’s coastal areas from the Natural Resources Defense Council in its annual report on the state of the nation’s beaches – salty and otherwise. In 2010, the executive summary notes, the number of closures or warnings was the second highest in the 21 years the report has been issued.

Last year was particularly pathogenic in part because unusually heavy rains in some places carried contaminants into the ocean; the report points an especially accusatory finger at aging sewage systems. This Los Angeles Times story has more on the report, and the ratings for popular beaches can be found here: http://www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/200beaches.asp

But about that filthiness.

Infections linked to recreational water have risen in the past few decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  A pathogen of special concern is E. coli, which naturally flourishes in the gut and is found in sewage and fecal matter, because of its ability to cause gastrointestinal illnesses. But other pathogens can sicken swimmers as well. 

Beach water illnesses include so-called stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, meningitis and hepatitis. And children, who are less likely to think twice about submerging their heads and swallowing water, are particularly at risk.

Officials don’t have a specific number, or even a wide guess, of how many swimmers are sickened by contaminated ocean water each year. Most people treat the fever, diarrhea and vomiting without finding out the cause.

But just at Los Angeles County and Orange County beaches alone, the report says, one study estimates that 600,000 to 1.5 million gastrointestinal illnesses each year might be caused by fecal contamination. And in another study cited by the report, the chances of having a gastrointestinal illness at a Lake Michigan shore were twice as high for swimmers than nonswimmers.

Beach closings are often prompted by storm water and agricultural runoff, pollution from sewage and septic systems, and from wildlife, boat waste and other beachgoers. However, the pollution source goes unidentified half of the time, the report says.

The report calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to upgrade its water-monitoring systems for same-day results and for Congress to support legislation for infrastructure to reduce the volume of runoff to the oceans.

And it wouldn’t hurt to advise the little ones not to gulp beach water. 



Excerpt from below:

Cubberley says he supports some of the region's mega projects such as rapid light rail transit and sewage treatment, however he thinks the region needs to be louder in its calls for senior government funding.

David Cubberly announcement speech

by matteusclement 
Jun 14, 2011 

Former MLA David Cubberley confirmed his rumoured run for the Saanich mayor's chair on C-FAX Tuesday morning.

Cubberley makes the official announcement later in the day at Rutledge Park.

"I was on Saanich Council for four terms – I was a very active councilor and very connected to the community. And then I had the opportunity to serve as an MLA for Saanich South,“ says Cubberley. "One of the things I was aware of and acted on throughout all of those tenures was the management of growth and the transportation challenges we seem to be generating in the region."

"I was a strong proponent of the regional growth strategy and I'm a strong believer that, if we don't shape the growth in the future, we're going to compound the kinds of problems we see today."

Cubberley says an example of what he’s talking about is the way development at Uptown unfolded without adequate consideration of traffic and transportation in the area. He thinks the municipality can do better.

Cubberley says he supports some of the region's mega projects such as rapid light rail transit and sewage treatment, however he thinks the region needs to be louder in its calls for senior government funding.

His full platform will be rolled out over the coming months.

The current mayor, Frank Leonard, has held the post since 1996 and has already indicated he will run this fall.

Video (doesn't mention the sewage treatment): http://vimeo.com/25113025


Sewage Sludge on farmland

by Tina Motley-Pearson 
8 June 2011

Spraying sewage sludge on farmland pollutes the air, land, and the water. People are getting sick and wells are being contaminated. There are alternatives to spreading sludge on farmland.



Silicon Valley 
Mercury News

Millions of tons of debris that washed into the 
ocean during Japan's catastrophic earthquake and 
tsunami in March -- everything from furniture to 
roofs to pieces of cars -- are now moving steadily 
toward the United States and raising concerns about 
a potential environmental headache.

Scientists using computer models say the wreckage, 
which is scattered across hundreds of miles of the 
Pacific Ocean, is expected to reach Midway and the 
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands by next spring and 
beaches in California, Oregon and Washington in 
2013 or early 2014.

"Can you imagine San Francisco put through a 
shredder? A big grinder?" said Curtis Ebbesmeyer, a 
Seattle oceanographer who has studied marine 
debris for more than 20 years.

"The area north of Tokyo was basically shredded. 
We are going to see boats, parts of homes, lots of 
plastic bottles, chair cushions, kids' toys, 

The debris is moving east at roughly 10 miles a day, 
and is spread over an area about 350 miles wide 
and 1,300 miles long -- an area roughly the size of 
California -- Ebbesmeyer estimates, with the leading 
edge approaching the international date line.

While lots of the material will break up and sink, 
some will not, he said.

"I've seen pieces of wood float for 20 or 30 years," 
he said. "I have Jeep tires with wheels that floated for 
30 years. Things float a lot longer than you think."

Complicating the issue, nobody knows for sure the 
exact area where the debris is spread or its density. And 
nobody knows what is still floating, what has sunk, 
or what may be lurking just below the surface. 
That's because estimates are based on computer 
models of currents and winds, rather than actual 
observations from scientists in boats and planes. 
After ships with the Navy's 7th Fleet reported and 
photographed the debris, researchers with the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
(NOAA) in Hawaii tracked the refuse with satellites 
for a month after the March 11 quake and tsunami.

Computer modeling

But by April 14, as it spread over a wider area, it 
could no longer be detected with the resolution of 
the satellites that NOAA uses. 

"Right after the earthquake we saw huge amounts of 
wood and fishing gear and households in the 
water," said Kris McElwee, Pacific islands 
coordinator for NOAA's marine debris program in 
Honolulu. "And then we saw for a few weeks these 
kind of stringers of wood patches. But they are 
dispersed enough now that you can't see them on 
satellite images. So we don't know what has sunk 
and what's still floating out there."

McElwee noted that after other major disasters, 
including Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Indian 
Ocean tsunami in 2004, massive amounts of 
material that washed out to sea did not turn up on 
beaches in other countries. Instead, the flotsam 
caused problems near the beaches where it 
originated, creating hazards for ships and 
advertisement disrupting commercial fishing. 

Still, the currents in every part of the ocean are 
different, and federal officials are watching the 
Japanese debris with concern.

Last Monday, representatives from the Coast Guard, 
NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. 
State Department and other agencies met for the first 
time in Honolulu to share information about the 
Japanese debris and begin to chart a strategy. 

Among their plans: to notify the U.S. Navy and 
commercial shipping companies that regularly sail 
across the Pacific so they can begin to document 
what is floating. That could lead to expeditions to 
go map and study it.

Prevent, clean up

But the Pacific Ocean is vast. The area between Japan 
and Hawaii is roughly 3,800 miles of open ocean -- 
twice the distance from San Francisco to Chicago. 
Even more daunting, NOAA scientists have 
calculated that to survey 1 million square kilometers 
-- roughly 1 percent of the North Pacific Ocean -- 
would take 68 ships sailing 10 hours a day for one 

"If this was an oil spill that was moving toward the 
coast, there would be a lot more attention," said 
Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA's regional administrator 
for California, Hawaii, the Pacific islands, Nevada 
and Arizona.

"We want to educate people on what is happening," 
he said. "We need to be prepared and work out what 
we can do to prevent it from coming ashore and 
then clean up as much as we can when it does come 

McElwee said it is highly unlikely that the debris is 
radioactive because the tsunami swept it out to sea 
before the Fukushima nuclear plant melted down. 
Dead bodies in the refuse would decompose and 
sink, Ebbesmeyer said, but there is a possibility of 
some macabre discoveries, like feet in tennis shoes, 
which have washed up before on Northwest beaches 
and have been linked with DNA tests to missing 
persons who drowned.

In some cases, large objects floating near beaches 
or harbors could be fished out of the water. NOAA 
removes tons of fishing gear every year from coral 
reefs off the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, for 
example. But most experts say the ocean is so vast 
that the best that can be done is to wait and watch, 
and clean up beaches if and when it hits California 
and other states.

University of Hawaii computer models show that 
after 2014, the debris will end up in the "North 
Pacific Garbage Patch," a vast area roughly 1,000 
miles west of California where plastic debris 
accumulates and breaks into tiny pieces over time.

"We've got a marine debris problem," McElwee said. 
"This is a great opportunity to focus on it. But it is 
an ongoing problem. Whatever percent has been 
added by this tragedy, we need to all work together 
to solve it."