CRD-RELATED SEWAGE NEWS:
- CALWMC MINUTES NOW POSTED(9 MAY, 26 MARCH)
- EXPLANATION FROM CRD ABOUT SEWAGE PROJECT COST DIFFERENCES
- LETTER: DETAILS STILL OUTSTANDING WITH TREATMENT PLANT (Newcomb)
GENERAL SEWAGE-RELATED NEWS:
- KILLER WHALE EXPERT OUT OF WORK AS FEDS CUT OCEAN-POLLUTION MONITORING POSITIONS (non-specific sewage mention)
- WATER POLLUTION CAUSED BY BIRTH CONTROL POSES DILEMMA
CALWMC MINUTES NOW POSTED (9 MAY, 26 MARCH)
EXPLANATION FROM CRD ABOUT SEWAGE PROJECT COST DIFFERENCES
In reply to my email to her inquiring why there were two current estimates for total capital cost of the CRD sewage plant:
The $791 (millions) is the capital cost including HST and the $782 (millions) is the capital cost without HST.
Assistant to the Project Director, Core Area Wastewater Treatment
Capital Regional District
LETTER: DETAILS STILL OUTSTANDING WITH TREATMENT PLANT (Newcomb)
May 24, 2012
Re: Millions spent, but no word from government on sewage treatment (News, May 18)
So much is unclear about this land-based sewage treatment plant plus sludge energy centre: the siting, homeowner costs, fate of the sludge, etc.
Why not use this time before the funding is confirmed to try to clarify the major outstanding issues? The biggest issue is that a comprehensive environmental impact assessment for both marine and land still needs to be done.
Unfortunately, the Capital Regional District is obeying the dictate of the B.C. government and allowing this massive sewage plant to proceed, with only the minimum reporting under municipal sewage regulations. It is also avoiding an important B.C. Environmental Assessment Act impact report.
Several Victoria marine scientists, engineers and public health doctors have expressed skepticism that the sewage plant will provide any measurable improvement to our marine environment, but that the sewage plant itself will produce thousands of tonnes of sludge and greenhouse gases.
Everybody who owns or rents a toilet in the CRD sewage area may have to pay up to $500 a year for this land-based sewage treatment, when our current marine-based sewage treatment system is working well, is sustainable and actually produces no sewage sludge and few greenhouse gases.
KILLER WHALE EXPERT OUT OF WORK AS FEDS CUT OCEAN-POLLUTION MONITORING POSITIONS (non-specific sewage mention)
CINDY E. HARNETT
MAY 20, 2012
VICTORIA - Canada’s only marine mammal toxicologist at the Institute of Ocean Sciences on Vancouver Island is losing his job as the federal government cuts almost all employees who monitor ocean pollution across Canada.
Peter Ross, an expert on killer whales and other marine mammals, was the lead author of a report 10 years ago that demonstrated Canada’s killer whales are the most contaminated marine mammals on the planet. He has more than a 100 published reports.
Now, he’s a casualty of the Conservative’s budget cuts, one of 75 people across Canada told this past week his services will no longer be needed because the Department of Fisheries is closing the nation’s contaminants program.
For about a decade, Fisheries and Oceans has been trying to offload the program to Environment Canada, Ross said. Instead, this week, it axed it.
In total, 1,075 people working for the Department of Fisheries received letters Thursday telling them their jobs will be redundant or affected — including 215 in the Pacific Region.
The closure of DFO’s contaminants program in Victoria will see nine marine scientists and staff — two research scientists, a chemist and six support staff — based in North Saanich lose their jobs or be retrained and moved.
The entire Department of Fisheries and Oceans contaminants program is being shut down effective April 1, 2013. Official letters are expected to be delivered in June, and Ross said he’s been told he’ll have a few months to wrap up his files.
“The entire pollution file for the government of Canada, and marine environment in Canada’s three oceans, will be overseen by five junior biologists scattered across the country — one of which will be stationed in B.C.,” said Ross.
“I cannot think of another industrialized nation that has completely excised marine pollution from its radar,” said Ross, who was informed in a letter Thursday that his position will be “affected.”
“It is with apprehension that I ponder a Canada without any research or monitoring capacity for pollution in our three oceans, or any ability to manage its impacts on commercial fish stocks, traditional foods to over 300,000 aboriginal people, and marine wildlife,” Ross said.
Ross oversees pollution files including everything from municipal sewage and contaminated sites to the effect of pesticide on salmon and the impact of PCBs on killer whales.
If we can understand through scientific means the threats to killer whales listed as endangered or threatened, then we are in a much better position to protect and recover that species, Ross said.
DFO spokeswoman Melanie Carkner said between Fisheries and the Canadian Coast Guard, about $79.3 million in savings has been found, “primarily by adjusting our internal operations and administration.”
“We will be removing about 400 positions from DFO’s 11,000-strong workforce,” Carkner said. “This works out to less than two per cent a year over three years.”
The department said it is refocusing its research on conservation and fisheries management: “In lieu of in-house research on the biological effects of contaminants and pesticides, the department will establish an advisory group and research fund of $1.4 million a year to work with academia and other independent facilities to get advice on priority issues.”
Green Party leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, said it’s shocking to lose all the toxin-related research going on at the Institute for Ocean Sciences and across Canada, especially when the Conservative government is “blindly and recklessly enthusiastic about putting oil tankers on B.C.’s coastline.”
“I will do everything I can to stop this government’s budget bill,” May said of the Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-38.
Deficit reduction is important, she said. “But to take out an entire group, that’s not prudent fiscal management, that’s driven by ideology that doesn’t want to know what toxic chemicals are doing in the oceans and freshwater.”
news/Killer+whale+expert+work+ feds+ocean+pollution+ monitoring+positions/6652349/ story.html
WATER POLLUTION CAUSED BY BIRTH CONTROL POSES DILEMMA
23 May 2012
After the active ingredient in most birth control pills has done its duty preventing pregnancy, it begins a second life as a pollutant that can harm wildlife in waterways.
Not only is ethinyl estradiol quite potent — creating "intersex" fish and amphibians — but it is very difficult to remove from wastewater, which carries it into natural waterways.
Since women around the planet take the pill, this is a global problem. The European Union is the first entity to seriously consider mandating the removal of ethinyl estradiol, also known as EE2, from wastewater. However, as researchers pointed out in Thursday's (May 24) issue of the journal Nature, the question of whether to remove the pollutant is not simple.
The problem is effectively removing ethinyl estradiol can be quite costly. Governmental estimates put the cost of upgrading about 1,360 wastewater treatment plants across England and Wales so they can comply with a proposed limit at between $41 billion and $47 billion (€32 billion and €37 billion), according to Richard Owen, a professor at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.
"The big question is, 'Are we willing to pay this as a society?'" Owen told LiveScience. "Or, alternatively, 'would we prefer to live with the environmental impact?'"
In their Nature commentary, Owen and Susan Jobling, an ecotoxicologist at the University of Brunel, write that more public debate is need on the proposed regulation. [7 Surprising Facts About the Pill]
They intended to draw attention to this environmental dilemma, not to suggest that women should not have access to birth control, Owen told LiveScience.
In the environment
EE2, a synthetic hormone, is only one of a cocktail of natural and synthetic hormones that humans excrete into wastewater, including other estrogens. EE2 has a potent biological effect at low levels.
"Animals are exquisitely sensitive to it," Jobling told LiveScience.
The body of a fish or a frog reacts to EE2 as if it were a natural estrogen, "demasculinizing" male animals and creating a condition called intersex that interferes with an animal's ability to reproduce, Jobling said. Intersex males often produce eggs in their testes.
It's not yet clear if levels of EE2 found in waterways affect mammals' reproductive cycle, she said.
Charcoal-based filtering is the most effective method for removing chemicals such as EE2 from wastewater. Other methods may also be effective, but they, too, would require some financial investment, Jobling told LiveScience.
"It will cost quite a lot of money to upgrade to meet environmental quality standards, (but) to my mind that is not a reason not do it," Jobling said. "We are understandably focused on the economic crisis at the moment, and just as important is the environmental crisis."
Unless this issue is put on the policy agenda, society will continue undermining ecological systems, she said.
On Nov. 6, a European Parliament legislative committee is scheduled to decide whether the issue should continue to the full Parliament in January.
"This regulation will set a global precedent for regulating pharmaceuticals in the environment. It also presents society with a difficult dilemma, of which the public remains mostly unaware," Owen and Jobling write.
More information: Environmental science: The hidden costs of flexible fertility, Nature 485, 441 (24 May 2012) doi:10.1038/485441a