- SEWAGE PLANT IS JUST MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN (STERK OP-ED)
- CRD POSITION ON SEWAGE TREATMENT CLARIFIED BY COMMITTEE CHAIR (BLACKWELL #2)
- GOVERNMENTS PROMISED FUNDING FOR VICTORIA TREATMENT SYSTEM (construction industry profits)
- LETTER: ANDERSON'S ARGUMENT ON SEWAGE HITS MARK (JOHNSON)
- LETTER: CUMULATIVE EXPENSE WILL OVERLOAD CITY TAXPAYERS (MCMILLAN)
- LETTER: BIG-DOLLAR PROJECTS DON'T IMPRESS READER (POLLARD)
SEWAGE PLANT IS JUST MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN (STERK OP-ED)
Current proposal locks capital region permanently into outmoded system
July 26, 2012
Letter to editor: email@example.com
Soon, there will be a "shovel photo-op" for federal, provincial and Capital Regional District officials to cloak themselves as "green" stewards of the environment for funding sewage treatment.
The proposed project fails to meet basic B.C. Green Party criteria. While B.C. Greens support sewage treatment, the new treatment plant will have measurably greater negative environmental impacts than the current system of screening and distributing sewage through outfalls to the marine environment. According to many ocean scientists and medical health officers, the current system is working adequately, so there is no pressing need to implement something that takes us permanently in the wrong direction.
Greens are deeply conservative people in the best (not political) sense of the word. From that ethic, we find it objectionable that we would build for a 65-year capacity based on our current wasteful use of drinking water to flush our sewage and accommodating major storm events because we have not fixed the deficiencies in our storm-water system. Fixing the pipes before planning a new system should have been a prerequisite. Condoning bad practices adds an unnecessary expense to the system.
Building a plant using old methods of waste processing when modern technologies are ignored is unfortunate. Putting it on the waterfront at the entrance to Victoria's harbour seems shortsighted from an esthetics and tourism perspective. And building a 17-kilometre pipeline to Hartland where sludge will be processed is incomprehensible.
Planning sewage treatment with absolutely no recognition of the need for conservation to reduce water use demonstrates a lack of understanding of the value of water. Building codes for new construction should include double plumbing for water reuse. Private property owners need to be required to fix leaks between their property and the sewage system, and a rapid transition to low-flush toilets should be mandated. If the plan were really progressive, the CRD could require use of composting toilets in all existing and new dwellings, virtually eliminating the need for a treatment facility.
The proposed plant cannot eliminate pharmaceuticals, petroleum products and pesticides from our wastewater, so these substances end up in the marine environment. More needs to be done on source control to ensure unused drugs and pesticides are not dumped. On a broader societal level, healthier living could reduce the need for prescription drugs. Provincial action could minimize the use of pesticides. Reducing vehicle use and keeping vehicles maintained is a must.
Once we fix everything that can be fixed and change practices to force conservation, Greens think integrated resource management should be the primary design driver with resource recovery as the objective in developing a sewage-treatment plan.
We support a distributed system with multiple small and unobtrusive plants throughout the communities of the capital region. Water and heat could be recovered for beneficial reuse nearby and biosolids transformed on site into usable and salable products.
Financially, the proposed sewage treatment will add significantly to the property-tax burden, contributing to a chronically rising cost of living that further reduces affordability for young families and fixed income seniors. Each year, the CRD adds new charges for services. Individually, amounts are small, but the cumulative impact, along with the annual increase in municipal taxes, is pricing people out of the region.
- Jane Sterk is the leader of the Green Party of B.C.
CRD POSITION ON SEWAGE TREATMENT CLARIFIED BY COMMITTEE CHAIR (BLACKWELL AGAIN)
July 24, 2012 7:15 PM
The Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project will bring the Capital Regional District into compliance with two sets of legislation which apply to wastewater discharges: the B.C. municipal sewage regulation under the Environmental Management Act, and the federal wastewater system effluent regulations under the Fisheries Act.
Without moving forward with the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project, the CRD would not be in compliance with the new standards, and would face penalties, including fines.
To be in compliance with both the provincial directives and federal regulations concerning the discharge of wastewater effluent, the CRD is required to have secondary sewage treatment in place by 2020.
The new facilities will be designed to meet these requirements and will be a significant benefit to the residents of the region and our receiving marine environment.
The CRD has a commitment to meet regulations. We are fortunate to have a funding commitment from our provincial and federal government partners. Many other communities are now wondering how they will fund treatment projects to comply with the new federal standards.
The CRD and the core area municipalities of Colwood, Esquimalt, Langford, Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria and View Royal have been working on the cost allocation for the wastewater treatment program for the last two years, to arrive at a fair and equitable approach that has incentives and is understandable, stable and straightforward to administer.
The CRD will allocate costs to the municipalities and each jurisdiction will decide how best to recover costs from their residents. Cost allocation will be based on each municipality’s required treatment capacity.
The regional district’s analysis to date shows that the highest average household cost by municipality is less than $500 annually and the lowest average cost is slightly more than $200.
Denise Blackwell, Langford councillor
Chair, CRD Core Area Liquid Waste
GOVERNMENTS PROMISED FUNDING FOR VICTORIA TREATMENT SYSTEM (construction industry profits)
Journal of Commerce (Vancouver)
July 25, 2012
The construction of a wastewater treatment system in Greater Victoria, B.C. is a bit closer to reality after the federal and provincial governments promised hundreds of millions in funding.
However, local construction leaders are still taking a cautiously optimistic approach to the project.
“When we were looking at the procurement model a couple of years ago, our main concern was if they did the whole project as a P3, it would restrict any regional involvement,” said Greg Baynton, president of the Vancouver Island Construction Association.
“A lot of members built the existing infrastructure and we think the project could easily be broken down into more than one contract, so the regional construction industry could participate. A construction manager could be used to co-ordinate the whole project, put out different bid packages and open up the process to competition.”
The new system will be called the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Program.
The $782.7 million capital project involves the construction of the McLoughlin Wastewater Treatment Plant and Marine Outfall, a Biosolids Energy Centre (BEC) and Conveyance System Upgrades.
The project will use a hybrid procurement model, which combines a public-private partnership (P3) approach for biosolids treatment, as well as the design and build method for the other components.
Even though federal and provincial governments are proposing to contribute $253.4 million and $248 million respectively, the project’s future is still uncertain.
“Some people have questioned whether or not this project will really happen, but we believe that it will and the local construction industry really wants to be part of it,” said Baynton.
The provincial contribution for the treatment plant and associated infrastructure has cabinet approval, but federal funding is conditional on Treasury Board approval and the signing of the contribution agreements. The project must also meet the terms and conditions of federal infrastructure programs and comply with legal obligations, including those related to aboriginal consultation and environmental assessment.
The Capital Regional District (CRD) will provide the balance of the funding for the project, which is estimated at close to $281.3 million.
The CRD considers the biosolids treatment facilities to be outside its core utility services, so the private sector will be asked to design, build, operate and finance it for 25 years.
The BEC meets the terms and conditions of the P3 Canada Fund.
It will treat organic solid waste generated by the treatment processes at the McLoughlin Wastewater Treatment Plant, to produce biogas. This project includes the associated conveyance infrastructure to transport the solid waste.
The CRD will use a design and build approach for the facilities that will treat current sewage flows at McLoughlin Point, before it is discharged through the new marine outfall. The plant will be owned and operated by the CRD, which has expertise in operating wastewater treatment plants. The provincial government stated that the CRD must have secondary sewage treatment in place by 2016.
The existing wastewater conveyance system will be upgraded to enable the treatment of municipal sewage at the McLoughlin Wastewater Treatment Plant.
In addition to capacity and energy efficiency upgrades to several existing pump stations, wet-weather attenuation tanks will be installed in Saanich East to help manage increased sewage flows.
LETTER: ANDERSON'S ARGUMENT ON SEWAGE HITS MARK (JOHNSON)
July 24, 2012 7:17 PM
Re: Money for treatment plant not in bank yet (Opinion, July 20)
David Anderson’s logical and concise opposition to the Capital Regional District’s proposed wastewater treatment plans is weakened by his negative comments regarding federal funding assistance.
Yes, some regional activists perceive the current CRD sewage system to be inadequate. No, that does not warrant the province receiving an increased and disproportionate share of forthcoming national infrastructure funding.
Based on the reported findings of a multi-disciplinary team of 10 from the University of Victoria and the work by six current and former public health officers, Anderson emphasizes that there are neither environmental needs nor health benefits to be realized with the CRD’s proposed sewage plan. This lack of a verified requirement must be a determining factor, and confirms there is no justification for a new sewage system that will cost every household in the CRD hundreds of dollars every year.
Over what are now years of discussing sewage options, we’ve been subjected to the media-focused hijinks of Mr. Floatie. That this brown-costumed individual impersonating excrement may have influenced public opinion is unfortunate. That Mr. Floatie may have had a greater influence than our local scientists and technical experts is sad commentary on our collective judgement.
The final decision on the CRD sewage proposal is a political decision. It’s time to convince our elected representatives of the error of their ways. Media noise is not general consensus, and in this matter our UVic scientists and public health officers should be trusted.
The proposed CRD sewage extravaganza must be stopped.
LETTER: CUMULATIVE EXPENSE WILL OVERLOAD CITY TAXPAYERS (McMillan)
July 25, 2012
Click here to send letter to Victoria News
Re: Victoria braces for the big flush (Our View, July 18)
It is no secret that the cost of sewage is going to increase by a significant amount in the near future. Perhaps it is more of a secret, or certainly lack of awareness, just how much water, garbage and sewage costs have increased in recent years.
My personal bills from the city show alarming increases, even before the proposed new system. I feel very uneasy that no one person or group in our local government has even a reasonable idea of the cumulative cost of sewage, the bridge and other major capital expenditure projects on the horizon, and that we will find out after the money has been spent.
The resulting taxes and fees will make Victoria too expensive for residents and businesses. Any movement from Victoria to less expensive jurisdictions in outlying areas will only exacerbate the problem.
LETTER: BIG-DOLLAR PROJECTS DON'T IMPRESS READER (POLLARD)
July 24, 2012
CLICK HERE TO SEND LETTER TO Victoria News
I hope local tourism officials take full advantage of the opportunity provided by the Great Sewage Treatment Boondoggle. I suggest setting up a giant toilet along the Pat Bay Highway, with a large mechanical hand constantly flushing hundred-dollar bills down it.
There should also be a big sign reading, “Welcome to Victoria: the Boondoggle Capital of Canada. In addition to our Great Sewage Treatment Boondoggle, be sure to check out our Colossal Johnson Street Bridge Boondoggle and our plans for the Humongous Light Rapid Transit Boondoggle.”