March 24, 2012

30,000-LITRE SEWAGE SPILL CLOSES BEACH (Cordova Bay spill)
DAMAGE TO WORLD'S OCEANS 'TO REACH $2 TRILLION A YEAR' (from climate change, not Victoria effluent)


ARESST:  Private information heard that funding for CRD sewage project may be emerging from governments very soon, so its possible that
this week's in-camera CALWMC and no-agenda ESC meeting are related to that. ESC report on sewage energy is interesting, in
that part of the discussion is about getting heat from raw sewage, not treated sewage. 


Notice of a Special Meeting on Monday, March 26, 2012 at 9:00 am
Board Room, 6th floor, 625 Fisgard Street, Victoria, BC


1. Motion to close the meeting in accordance with the Community Charter Part 4, Division 3, Section 90(2) (b) the consideration of information received and held in confidence relating to negotiations between the regional district and a provincial government or the federal government or both, or between a provincial government or the federal government or both and a third party.

2. Adjournment






30,000-LITRE SEWAGE SPILL CLOSES BEACH (Cordova Bay spill)

Residents upset they weren't told; Saanich investigating cause of leak

Kim Westad
Times Colonist
March 23, 2012

A Cordova Bay beach remains closed to the public today after 30,000 litres of sewage gushed out of a broken pipe near one of Saanich's main pump stations.

Some area residents are demanding a full environmental assessment and say they should have been personally notified of the spill.

Saanich public works staff discovered the broken pipe almost as it happened about 9: 30 a.m. Wednesday, said Mike Ippen, manager of Saanich Public Works.

Crews arrived at the pump station at the corner of Haliburton Road and Lochside Drive for regular maintenance and could see and smell the break.

The pressurized pipe is four metres in the ground, so excavators had to work quickly to dig down to it, Ippen said. The effluent still coming through the system had to be diverted to eight tanker trucks while crews fixed the pipe. The trucks took the waste to a nearby pump station.

The break in the 30yearold pipe - which isn't considered very old for a pipe - has been fixed and the municipality will investigate what caused it, Ippen said. It is the third time in 12 years that a sewage pipe has broken in Saanich.

Ippen estimates about 30,000 litres of waste came to the surface, leaked into storm drains and flowed to the outfall at the beach in the 5,000-block of Cordova Bay Road.

The road and sidewalk near the spill were hosed down, Ippen said.

The beach has been closed and is marked with signs and yellow tape. It will remain closed until the Vancouver Island Health Authority completes tests on contamination.

While not officially a public beach, it is used by locals, neighbours say.

Sylvia Burkhardt is unhappy with how Saanich dealt with the break, saying officials should have notified residents.

"They forgot to notify a whole group of people - those who pay the taxes. Nobody from Saanich came to my door," said Burkhardt, who walks the beach every day with her dog. "I want an environmental impact report done for the Saanich community, and for taxpayers along the beach."

Ippen said they followed policy, which is to notify the Provincial Emergency Program and the regional health authority.

"We would have notified residents if there was any risk to their wastewater collection system, but there wasn't," Ippen said.

Using crew members to notify residents would have taken them away from an emergency, he said.

Health authority spokeswoman Shannon Marshall said environmental health officers took samples of beach water. Results are expected on the weekend.


Gabrielle Tieman
Times Colonist
Postmedia News
March 22, 2012

An $88-billion investment is needed to repair and build new freshwater and sewage infrastructure in Canada to prevent safety problems in the years to come, according to a new study.

"Canadians believe in the safety of their drinking water and assume that the infrastructures providing it are efficient," says Bob Sandford, chairman of the Canadian Partnership Initiative of the UN's Water for Life Decade, an initiative that contributed to the study.

"This is a national 'pipe dream' because, in many municipalities, infrastructures have been found to be up to 80, 100 and 125 years old and have already reached the end of their service life."

While most Canadians surveyed said maintaining their drinking water supply is one of the most important areas for government funding, the survey suggested 88 per cent did not understand the upkeep needed for their communities' water infrastructure or feel there is a need to improve them.

The fifth annual RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study was conducted by the Royal Bank of Canada and the United Nations. It surveyed an online panel of 2,428 adults between Feb. 1-15.

"Canadians are beginning to notice water and become more and more aware that the water is telling us something about the way we manage it," said Sandford.

"Perhaps it is the way we are living on the landscape that suggests that we may want to make some changes to ensure that water is available in quality and in quantities."

Sixty-one per cent of Canadians surveyed said they were not impressed with their municipalities making long-term upgrades to the current water and sewage systems and preferred quick fixes to current problems, such as individual pipe issues.

Sandford said Canadians need to be aware of the infrastructure serving their homes and understand that maintaining these systems is vital to ensuring their water is safe.

Fifty-four per cent of Canadians polled said they have been inconvenienced by a water issue in the past two years. These issues include backed-up drains and closed beaches due to poor water quality. Sandford said these problems highlight that structures are failing and Canadians are unaware of it.

"What may seem like minor issues in our backyards represent a larger problem with regard to our country's water," Sandford said.

Water is the most important resource in the country, most of those surveyed said.

"Canadians should recognize that water is going to be more precious in the future and they should act accordingly," Sandford said.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus two per cent, 19 times out of 20.

RBC has committed $50 million over 10 years to the conservation of Canadian water. It has already donated and pledged $32 million to 450 not-for-profit organizations worldwide.


DAMAGE TO WORLD'S OCEANS 'TO REACH $2 TRILLION A YEAR' (from climate change, not Victoria effluent)

LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) - The cost of damage to the world's oceans from climate change could reach $2 trillion a year by 2100 if measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions are not stepped up, a study by marine experts said on Wednesday.

The study found that without action to limit rising greenhouse gas emissions, the global average temperature could rise by 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century causing ocean acidification, sea level rise, marine pollution, species migration and more intense tropical cyclones. It would also threaten coral reefs, disrupt fisheries and deplete fish stocks.

In the study, "Valuing the Ocean", marine experts led by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) analysed the most severe threats facing the world's marine environment and estimated the cost of damage from global warming.

It found nitrogen-rich fertilisers and waste would strip more ocean areas of oxygen, causing what is known as hypoxic dead zones, which are already found in more than 500 locations.

"By 2100, the cost of damage if we do not radically cut emissions rises to $1.98 trillion, or 0.37 percent of global gross domestic product," the SEI said.

The loss of tourism would incur the highest cost at $639 billion per year. The loss of the ocean carbon sink, the seas' ability to soak up carbon dioxide (CO2), would cost almost $458 billion, the study showed. Warmer water holds less CO2.


If cuts in emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases were carried out more urgently and temperature increases were limited to 2.2 degrees C, nearly $1.4 trillion of the total cost could be avoided, the study found.

However, such progress would require the widespread use of radical carbon removal technologies like sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, Frank Ackerman, one of the report's authors told Reuters.

"The faster we stop emissions rising, the lower the damage will be. But on current technology, I wouldn't be surprised if we end up on a 4 degree C pathway," said Ackerman, senior economist and director of the Climate Economics Group at SEI's U.S. Center.

The study did not put a monetary value on the loss of some species which inhabit the world's oceans, critical processes like nutrient cycling or the loss of coastal communities' traditional ways of life.

"The challenge is to figure out what parts of the ocean environment have a value you can put a meaningful price on. There are very important areas which we still can't incorporate into a market," Ackerman said.

The study also recommended that the United Nations appoints a High Commissioner for Oceans to coordinate research and action, that ocean services should be more integrated into economic policy and that there should be more preparation for a 1-2 metre sea level rise by the end of the century.

A new potential market in "blue carbon" could also present an important economic opportunity, SEI said.

Marine ecosystems, like mangroves and sea grasses, contain far more carbon than terrestrial forests but are being degraded at a more alarming rate and are not yet included in carbon offset schemes, which reward investors in emissions reduction projects in developing countries with carbon credits.

"There are many questions about the legal responsibility for different parts of the ocean. Tracking terrestrial carbon offsets is enough of a challenge, tracking the marine ones is going to be a new challenge," Ackerman said.

"But they need to be included. Leaving out an area like that could undermine progress being made in areas that are being taken care of." 



Brett Walton
Circle of Blue
21 MARCH 2012 

When the water and sewer agency for metropolitan Boston decided to raise parts of the Deer Island sewage treatment plant in the city’s harbor by half a meter (two feet) as a hedge against climate change and rising sea levels, it was not a policy decision.

“It was the engineers who pushed it,” said Steve Estes-Smargiassi, the director of planning for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA).

The major urban utility’s decision to protect an expensive coastal facility should not arch eyebrows in an age when the Atlantic Ocean, off the eastern coast of the United States, is rising at its fastest rate in the last two millennia, according to a 2010 study. Except that the adaptation planning for Deer Island happened in 1989, three years before the Kyoto Protocol and one year after NASA scientist James Hansen’s Congressional testimony brought public attention to global warming.

Deer Island was one of the first instances of climate change projections being incorporated into a sewage plant’s design, Estes-Smargiassi told Circle of Blue. Now, more than 20 years later, as the detrimental effects of climate change have become better understood at global, national, and regional scales, more people are asking how a warmer, wetter world will alter the function and effectiveness of vital infrastructure in the U.S. However, when it comes to planning for the effects on drinking water and sewer systems, many cities, for a variety of reasons, still are lagging.

Most municipalities are more concerned with stanching the immediate leaks from an aging distribution system, as Circle of Blue reported on Monday. Without sufficient funds to fix today’s problems or access to sophisticated climate simulations, these utilities are more worried about today’s problems than the incremental changes that will develop over the next decades. Some utilities are a step ahead and have begun the assessment phase, developing models to understand new rainfall patterns and river flows. And a few of the most pro-active are already making their water systems more resilient by changing policies, building new structures or revamping old ones.

Though the environmental circumstances for each region of the U.S. are unique, the cost of adaptations nationwide — backflow prevention in sewer pipes, expanded stormwater retention, green infrastructure investments, desalination plants, wastewater recycling — could amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming decades. These investments will come at a time when water infrastructure, in general, is deteriorating and in need of replacement.

In some places, the inadequacy of the old system is already showing.

Surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco has begun to see the effects of higher seas and higher tides on its stormwater collection pipes. The city’s water utility anticipates spending $US 20 million to $US 40 million over the next five years to prevent backflow into the system, where the salt water can compromise the biological treatment process.

“There are 29 stormwater sites that will go from a nuisance to a problem,” said David Behar, the climate program director for San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “We know that these types of impacts will only increase in the future because of climate change.”

Done well, like the Deer Island facility, the nation’s pipes and plants can concurrently be remodeled and made climate resilient. But with poor planning or no planning at all, these assets will need to be re-fitted — at great cost — well before their useful life has expired.

A Model Exercise

A report released last August by the Natural Resources Defense Council considered the effects that climate change might have on water resources for 12 American cities. Though New York, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco had decent assessments, according to Michelle Mehta, one of the report’s principal authors, the goal of canvassing 15 cities was not met because of a lack of good information.

Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), when it collects data from states on capital needs for water and sewer infrastructure, does not ask how climate change might influence the numbers. The most recent figures, collected during 2007 and 2008, estimated that utilities would need to spend $US 298 billion on wastewater and $US 335 billion on drinking water over the next two decades.

The EPA told Circle of Blue that the 2011 drinking water survey, which is underway and will be reported to Congress in 2013, will for the first time ask what infrastructure needs are attributed to climate change preparations.

The first attempt at a national figure for the cost of climate change adaptation to water utilities came in 2008 from a study by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, two lobby groups for public utilities. They estimated that U.S. water and sewer agencies would have to spend between $US 448 billion and $US 944 billion from 2010 through 2050 on infrastructure, operations, and maintenance. The Southwest — defined as Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah — would have to spend the most to adapt.

One of the reasons some cities have not taken up the issue is expediency. They are more concerned about finding money to fix today’s broken sewer line or to meet the latest water quality standard, according to Adam Krantz, the managing director for government and public affairs for NACWA.

“How do you determine your priorities when there are other issues at hand?” Krantz told Circle of Blue. “Utilities do not necessarily consider that long-range planning when they don’t have the funds to meet the immediate problems.”

A second factor is technical. Most climate models do not provide the “granularity,” or minute-by-minute, neighborhood-by-neighborhood details that are required for an accurate evaluation of stormwater flows. Furthermore, regional climate models may not provide a clear enough picture of what could happen in a particular watershed.

Sea-level rise, however, has been easier to run through the computers. Most adaptation investment, such as Boston’s Deer Island sewage plant, has been directed to that area.



The Cornishman
March 22

South West Water has faced a barrage of criticism from residents, officials and other bodies after it was revealed that plans to pump sewage from a coastal community near St Just away for treatment have been scrapped in favour of dumping it in the sea.

Sewage from 28 properties at Boswedden and Porthledden – including Cape Cornwall Golf Club and Hotel – is currently discharged into the sea via a disused mine shaft and an outfall pipe.

The water company, which charges the highest water bills in the UK, had been planning a scheme to pump waste from the two settlements uphill to the Kenidjack treatment works at St Just.

But now residents have found out the idea has been shelved in favour of a cut-price solution that will involve passing sewage through a net to remove larger solids and then sending it out to sea.

The new plans were only revealed when one resident confronted surveyors outside her home.

St Just Mayor Morley Thomas explained it had been the widespread belief that sewage from properties was flowing through the treatment plant.

He said he has been trying to arrange talks with SWW but had so far been unsuccessful, despite enlisting the support of St Ives MP Andrew George.

Mr George said he had still not received a response at the time The Cornishman went to press.

He said: "I am disappointed with the lack of response from SWW. I support residents in what they are trying to do and, as they are paying the highest water bills in the country, its reasonable to expect a decent service."


Mr Thomas said: "The high bills we pay to SWW have always been a source of contention. To find they now apparently want to do a half a job and leave sewage running into the sea in a very sensitive environment cannot be allowed.

"The approachability of SWW is disappointing. It holds the franchise for this area, yet fails miserably to talk to the general public that provides it with huge funding. What happened to consultation?

"After Land's End, Cape is possibly one of the largest tourist destinations. It is well used by walkers using the national footpath, locals and tourists for fishing and swimming.

"As a council I think we need clarity. Are there more raw sewage outlets that need attention?"

Cornwall Councillor Chris Goninan said: "This is not an example of openness and transparency and a meeting of all involved should be convened as soon as possible."

The water firm says it has consulted with both the Environment Agency and the National Trust about its plans.

A spokeswoman for the company admitted the plans were not set in stone and that another solution was being explored.

She said: "South West Water is committed to closing the discharge via the mineshaft at Boswedden, and to putting in a cost-effective sewerage solution which protects the environment.

"We are still investigating options, and when we have all the information we will, of course, share them with everyone with an interest."

Dom Ferris, of Surfers Against Sewage, has been in contact with the water company.

He said: "We are pleased that SWW has taken on board our concerns and those of the local community about the proposed plans."


The Fish Stay the Same

Andy Lamb
26 March 2012
Victoria Natural History Society

Biologist and author Andy Lamb relates how the world's oceans are changing, how we are impacting marine life, and what our responsibilities are. 
Andy has studied the fishes and invertebrates of the Pacific Northwest since 1967 when he became a certified diver. 

He co-authored "Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest' and "Coastal Fishes of the Pacific Northwest. 

He was formerly employed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a fish culturist and by the Vancouver Aquarium as chief collector and school program co-ordinator.
He now owns and operates Cedar Beach Lodge with his wife Virginia on Thetis Island. 
We meet at 7:30 p.m. in Room 159 of the University of Victoria's Fraser Building ( 
Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Bring a friend. Note: Uvic parking charges $2.25.



Dr. Marc Trudel
Head of the Salmon Marine Interactions Section at the Pacific Biological Station, 
Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada
30 March 2012
Cunningham Building, Room 146, 2:30pm
Biology seminar. All welcome.