December 5, 2011

CRD REGIONAL SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY (sewage plant statement included)



From Shellie's Facebook page:

Next Wednesday, December 7th I (Shellie Gudgeon) am hosting a Councillor and Councillor-Elect 'Open Door' at 899 Fort Street from 1pm til 5pm. 

The invitation goes out to all and I am hoping that you can join us. 

Thus far Lisa and Ben have confirmed their attendance. Hot beverages and cookies provided :)! 

If you are unable to attend on Wednesday there will be another one on Saturday, December 10th from noon til 5pm. 

Come share your ideas, your concerns and your hopes for the City of Victoria.



Resource Management responses received through the RSS portal between December 2010 and March 2011

Resource Management: 

- Pursue sewage energy capture

- Don't create sewage sludge

Excerpt from Appendix 1: RSS Consultation

Natural Systems: 

A brief summary of the key comments are as follows: 

“Main concern is that the proposed CRD core area land based sewage treatment plant is unnecessary,"

- from Appendix 1: RSS Consultation



Kyle Slavin
Saanich News
December 02, 2011 5:25 PM

More than just Coho thrive in the Colquitz River.

Perch, sticklebacks, sculpin, crayfish, fairy shrimp, Olympia oysters, Great Blue Herons, countless species of insects, and cutthroat trout, the latter of which is already at risk of endangerment, also call this urban watershed home throughout the year.

And while the Coho have returned to spawn in the upper Colquitz since upwards of 1,000 litres of home heating oil leaked into the river last week, concerns remain about what effects the hazardous material will have on the environment in the long run.

“I look at this from a fish perspective, but we can’t just look at it like that. Healthy fish are an indicator of a healthy creek,” said Chris Bos, who volunteers to monitor the Coho in the creek. “I don’t want to say: ‘There’s no oil. The fish aren’t dying, so the whole system’s fine,’ and in a year from now we see the whole system’s collapsed because we lost all the insects.”

Bos helps run the counting fence in Cuthbert Holmes Park. The fence was removed during the spill and will remain gone for the rest of the salmon run season.

Prior to the spill, Bos said the number of returning fish was almost above average, so “we’re not in bad shape for the year.”

Though 25 dead fish were found at the fence and have been linked to the spill, more salmon may have died downstream closer to Portage Inlet. Bos says two dozen dead fish won’t devastate the whole run.

“In the spring it will be vital that we put in that juvenile counting fence and count the juveniles going out (to the ocean). Given that we put through about 250 fish, you should be seeing something in the region 10 times or 20 times or 30 times that,” he said. “That’s a real, accurate way of being able to identify what the damage is on the creek.”

When an oil spill happens, “the most significant impact is going to be at the time of the initial release,” said Graham Knox, manager of the Ministry of Environment’s Environmental Emergency Program.

Part of Knox’s role has been liaising with Saanich public works crews to ensure booms and absorbent pads are installed properly and strategically to collect as much of the oil as possible.

As well, Saanich was asked to do a camera survey of the outflow pipeline in the Glanford and McKenzie avenues area to ensure stranded oil isn’t released during the next rainfall.

“(Local governments are) a critical player in making sure we find the leak or do everything we can to find it, take appropriate actions to ensure it’s contained and then cleaned up,” Knox said. “We’re very happy with the steps Saanich has taken.”

The focus now, Bos says, is determining how this can be prevented in the future.

“This is not ever going to be the only problem. We’ve seen it happen on the Colquitz before. Between us we can all do better,” he said, saying Saanich residents and all three levels of government can do more. “If we’re still seeing oil getting in the creek, then that is something we can improve on.”

The Kenneth Street homeowners whose oil tank leaked could face a hefty bill to pay for the cleanup efforts.

Knox says he’s seen other similar spills cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The prevention work of ensuring your tanks are looked at and maintained regularly, or looking at alternatives that are safer, that’s something every homeowner should consider if they have tanks and want to protect themselves from future liabilities,” Knox said. “My focus is working with the spiller, especially in cases like this when it was not an intentional release, to contain the spill and do what’s necessary to prevent further damage.”

Erika Bennett, communications officer with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, says once oil leaks off the policyholder’s property, third-party liability kicks in to help pay for the cleanup.

“Third-party liability should cover it, up to whatever the limits are in the policy that person bought,” she said.

If it’s subsequently determined that a homeowner does not properly maintain their leaky tank, insurance companies can seek to recoup the expenses paid out through subrogation, Bennett added.

According to a Saanich-distributed fact sheet on home heating oil tanks, “A big cleanup could cost more than your home is worth, and the full cost may not be covered by your household insurance.”

The fact sheet says most insurance companies will not provide new homeowner coverage if an above-ground tank is more than 15 years old, and many won’t provide policies for homes with underground tanks.

The complete fact sheet, including how to properly maintain your oil tank, can be downloaded at


ARESST: Excerpt below from Broadland's FOCUS article doesn't mention the sewage project - but it could given that BC government has also threatened to try to apply Contaminated Sites laws to the outfall discharges and that the only environmental impact studies being done on the sewage plant are the minimal efforts through Municipal Sewage Regulations which also don't require public hearing process - rather than the rigorous BCEAA EIA process. Irony is that Broadland's FOCUS magazine has carried a lot of pro-sewage plant articles in the past and ignored the EIA issue. However, an action for ARESST members could be to email to Environment Minister Peter Kent and demand that a moratorium should be put on the CRD sewage project until a CEAA EIA is completed with extensive public hearings and a full comparison of the proposed land-based sewage plant with our current, sustainable marine-based sewage treatment system:


Big Blue gets Luton, Hunter and Lucas booted off council

(publisher, FOCUS)

The key assumption made by the City and its consultant was that a Telus utility, buried beneath the channel and lying in the middle of the new bridge’s proposed alignment, would not have to be moved in order to construct the bridge. But surveys done earlier this year showed the utility would have to be relocated, and that work would involve dredging contaminated sediments. 

A 2007 Transport Canada study indicated sediments in the vicinity of the bridge contain 18 different toxins at concentrations greater than those which, for any one of the contaminants, would qualify the area to be designated a “contaminated site” under BC’s Contaminated Sites Regulation.

So the City’s request to Transport Canada to approve the Telus relocation triggered an Environmental Assessment, which in turn delayed the project’s schedule. Transport Canada reports that because they received no expressions of public concern during the Environmental Assessment period, no public hearing was required. Which may explain why you are hearing about this for the very first time. 

If a public hearing had been scheduled, that would have delayed the project even further. The City, which has made extravagant claims about the bridge’s environmental benefits, didn’t want the public to know about the assessment for fear of a public hearing and additional delay, and has simply characterized the change in schedule as “Telus needed a year’s lead time.”

Excerpted from online article at:



Montreal’s storm drains ‘widely contaminated’ with sewage, researchers conclude after finding caffeine traces

Caffeine helps find sewer pipe leaks

Tristin Hopper  
National Post
Nov 28, 2011

Montreal’s coffee and Red Bull habit is giving scientists a new way to look for wayward sewage, according to a new University of Montreal report.

After testing 120 brooks, collectors and outfalls in Montreal, researchers discovered that samples containing human urine and feces were also lightly caffeinated. Their conclusion: If there’s an abundance of caffeine in the water, “it means you have a leaky sewage pipe somewhere,” lead researcher Sébastien Sauvé told the Post on Monday.

Traditionally, researchers analyze sewer leakage by testing for fecal coliforms, a family of bacteria that includes E.coli. The test is unable to gauge the presence of human sewage because fecal coliforms could just as easily come from pigeons, raccoons or a nearby dairy farm. Caffeine, by contrast, is human-specific.

“Cows don’t drink coffee,” said Mr. Sauvé.

Unlike many other chemicals in human waste, caffeine is also unlikely to have bled into the water from a nearby farm or industrial facility. Montreal’s aging sewer system is apparently far from watertight. Mr. Sauvé’s team collected water samples throughout the spring and fall of 2008 — and always after a particularly heavy rain.

In every sample collected, Mr. Sauvé’s team found traces of caffeine, leading the team to conclude that Montreal’s storm drains are “widely contaminated” by leaking human sewage.

Mr. Sauvé’s team tried testing water samples for carbamazepine, a common anti-seizure drug, but the researchers could find no correlation between the drug and the presence of fecal matter.

On the other hand, any water sample “containing more than the equivalent of 10 cups of coffee diluted in an Olympic-size swimming pool is definitely contaminated with fecal [bacteria],” according to a prepared release by the university.

Luckily, with the country’s coffee and energy drink consumption on the rise, caffeine levels in Canadian urine show no sign of diminishing. Tim Hortons, which holds an estimated 80% share of the Canadian coffee market, sells more than three million cups of coffee per day.

For now, Mr. Sauvé’s caffeine test may only be regionally effective. In South America, caffeine could just as easily be leached into the water system by coffee, tea and cola plantations.

Presumably, the test could also prove ineffective in heavily Mormon communities where the drinking of coffee and tea is frowned upon.

Mr. Sauvé says the caffeine test is a valuable tool in preventing municipalities from ducking responsibility for a leaky sewerage system.

“If there’s too much caffeine in the water, there’s no way a city can say it’s because there are too many dogs,” said Mr. Sauvé.



ARESST members - if you didn't leave a cheque with treasurer Bob Furber at the AGM, please now send him a  cheque for $20 (and more if you can afford a donation) made out to ARESST and mailed to:

Bob Furber, ARESST Treasurer,
2751 Arbutus Road
Victoria, BC, V8N 5X7

Help support ARESST on our important mission!