- ARESST CHAIR JOHN BERGBUSCH AT ESQUIMALT COUNCIL, 5 NOV
- ARESST AGM REMINDER: 7 NOV, 7:30PM, WINDSOR PARK, OAK BAY
- TALK: VICTORIA'S SEWAGE TREATMENT SYSTEM: A BRIEF HISTORY OF SLIME, 13 NOV
- ARESST TOWN HALL VIDEO GETTING AROUND - NOW ON PASIFIK WEBSITE
CRD-RELATED SEWAGE NEWS:
- ESQUIMALT RETICENCE A SEWAGE HURDLE
- LETTER: SEWAGE-RATE CALCULATION UNFAIR TO GARDENERS
- LETTER: SEWAGE TREATMENT COSTS IN LINE WITH U.S.
- LETTER: MORE THAN PEOPLE SOILING THE OCEAN
- LETTER: CORE AREA SEWAGE IMPACTS ENVIRONMENT (BROWNOFF)
GENERAL SEWAGE-RELATED NEWS:
- COHEN REPORT ON FRASER SOCKEYE - SEWAGE EXCERPTS
- STORMWATER UTILITY WOULD SHIFT COSTS TO HOMEOWNERS (AND LINK TO FORTIN REPLY)
- TALK: ADVANCING RIGHTS OF NATURE IN INTERNATIONAL ARENA, 5 NOV, UVIC (MIGHT BE SEWAGE-RELATED)
ARESST CHAIR JOHN BERGBUSCH AT ESQUIMALT COUNCIL, 5 NOV
Monday, November 5, 2012
Esquimalt Council Chambers
(2) Jon Bergbusch,
Association for Responsible and
Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment (ARESST), Re: Land
Base Sewage Treatment in Capital Regional District
ARESST AGM REMINDER: 7 NOV, 7:30PM, WINDSOR PARK, OAK BAY
2451 Windsor Road - Oak Bay's Windsor Park Pavilion
Map of location: http://goo.gl/maps/EWVjt
- Guest Speaker: Ted Dew-Jones
- elect 2013 Board of Directors,
- receive Annual Report of Board of Directors,
- present Annual Financial Statement.
- gratefully receive membership dues ($20) and any donations!
TALK: VICTORIA'S SEWAGE TREATMENT SYSTEM: A BRIEF HISTORY OF SLIME, 13 NOV
Faculty of Science Cafe Scientifique:
"Victoria's Sewage Treatment System: a Brief History of Slime"
Public talk and discussion led by Dr. Jay Cullen, SEOS, UVic.
Tuesday, Nov 13th, 6:30pm (doors open 5:45pm)
Hermann's Jazz Club, 753 View St, http://hermannsjazz.com
Please note the day, time, and venue. ** No reservations necessary**
Food: Food will be available for purchase from Hermann's menu (which is online at the above web site). There is a full bar.
Sponsored by the Faculty of Science, U. Victoria
ARESST TOWN HALL VIDEO GETTING AROUND - NOW ON PASIFIK WEBSITE
CRD-RELATED SEWAGE NEWS:
ESQUIMALT RETICENCE A SEWAGE HURDLE
November 03, 2012
The Capital Regional District will ask Esquimalt to rezone land for the planned McLoughlin Point sewage treatment plant, even though the province can overrule the municipality if it rejects rezoning.
Sewage treatment has been ordered by the provincial government, while federal regulations require the CRD to have a new waste-management system by 2020.
Esquimalt has fought putting the plant at McLoughlin Point ever since it was selected by the CRD two years ago.
Jack Hull, the general manager of the CRD's integrated water services who has been directing the sewage-treatment plan, said the regional district is required to go to Esquimalt with a rezoning application.
"We work with the municipality and go through their rezoning process. It's only if there's an impasse that you would go to the minister," he said.
B.C.'s Environment Management Act says the minister can approve all or parts of a waste-management plan, subject to public consultation.
In an emailed statement Friday, the ministry reaffirmed its commitment to sewage treatment, but did not say what the minister would do if Esquimalt turned down the rezoning plan for McLoughlin Point.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Dejardins said the community consensus is that the sewage-treatment plant does not belong at McLoughlin Point. "I think it will be absolutely imperative for the CRD to do the best possible job in talking to the community and hearing from the community and taking that into consideration, not just presenting what is going to happen."
The CRD has not done a good job of consulting in Esquimalt in the past, she said.
Hull said the regional district is committed to public consultation and receiving input on all parts of the project.
A request for proposals has been issued by the CRD for a consultant to run a rezoning and consultation process, and to submit an application to amend Esquimalt's official community plan. The consulting cost is not yet known, Hull said.
The rezoning application is expected to be submitted before year's end and the consultant's work should be finished by mid-2013, the request for proposals said.
The rocky 1.33-hectare property at McLoughlin Point, the tip of Department of National Defence property in Esquimalt, is a former Imperial Oil Ltd. tank farm.
The regional district has an option to buy the property from Imperial Oil, Hull said. Its assessed value is $4.125 million.
How much the CRD would pay for the site is to be negotiated, he said. A meeting is scheduled this month with Imperial Oil to talk about the company's progress in cleaning up contamination on the property, a factor in the eventual price.
LETTER: SEWAGE-RATE CALCULATION UNFAIR TO GARDENERS
November 03, 2012
The City of Victoria's latest water bill makes it clear that the burden of paying for our new (and unnecessary) sewage treatment plant is going to fall squarely on the shoulders of gardeners.
Unlike the District of Saanich, for example, which bases its sewage charges on wintertime water consumption when people are not watering their gardens, Victoria bases its sewage surcharge on water used by residents throughout the year. Homeowners who are accustomed to watering their lawns and gardens in summer will face a huge sewage surcharge for using water that has absolutely no impact on the operation of the proposed sewage treatment plant. In fact, they help replenish our groundwater resources.
The city says this obviously unfair targeting of summertime water users is "considered a best practice" and adds that "this [billing] system has the most direct relationship to the actual sewage use, and is the closest to a user pay relationship."
The truth is that this simplistic billing policy will punish homeowners who like to maintain a green landscape around their homes in the summer, but who will put no more demands on the proposed sewage treatment plant than people in downtown condo developments with minimal if any landscaping.
Our city's urban gardeners, facing horrendous water bills for the summer months, will just turn their sprinkler systems off. Our "Garden City" will evolve into the "Desert City."
ARESST: Contrary to Ahlgren's assertion below, San Diego continues to operate its Point Loma sewage plant under a waiver to the Clean Water Act because it is only an advanced primary stage plant. This current waive expires in 2015 and without a new waiver, San Diego will be paying at least $1.2 billion to add unnecessary secondary stage land-based treatment.
LETTER: SEWAGE TREATMENT COSTS IN LINE WITH U.S.
October 30, 2012
Re: Tax increase poor treatment, (Writer’s Block, Oct. 19)
Opponents to “land based treatment” point to the American cities of San Diego and Honolulu, suggesting they have “exemptions” that allow them to discharge untreated sewage as Victoria does.
In fact, Honolulu has no such “exemption” and San Diego has extensive treatment processes similar to those proposed for Victoria.
And the annual costs to residents in those cities? San Diego residents pay between $216 and $705. Honolulu residents pay between $500 and $750.
Perhaps we might see what all the communities surrounding Victoria that do treat their waste pay? So far, what is proposed for Victoria seems almost reasonable.
ARESST: Note that Cohen's salmon report makes no specific mention of our CRD's long ocean outfalls, but limits itself to criticizing the CRD stormwater system and to municipal sewage treatment outfalls in general.
LETTER: MORE THAN PEOPLE SOILING THE OCEAN
October 30, 2012
I was thinking about the cost of the new proposed sewage treatment system that is being forced onto local taxpayers.
It suddenly occurred to me that we are not alone in contributing to this alleged problem in our oceans.
The water is full of marine life, fish, crabs, seals, whales. On and on it goes. They make regular contributions to the ocean as well but no one seems to consider what happens to their waste?
What about all the birds? Have you ever noticed what a Canadian Goose leaves behind?
Maybe we should start putting diapers on the whales to put a stop to this outrage. No, that would be silly, just like this treatment plan.
Letter below from CRD director Judy Browonff is wrong on several points but just to mention a couple:
Seniors' consumption of indoor water may not be significantly less than for younger, employed residents because retired seniors are usually at home for more hours of the day. Thus, since sewage bills will follow indoor water use, seniors (and other groups such as single mothers) may expect to pay more than younger residents.
As for invertebrate health, indeed, at least one researcher (UBC zoologist Chris Harley) notes that shore life around Victoria's marine area has been shrinking recently, but attributes it to climate change (SHORE LIFE AROUND VICTORIA SHRINKING, STUDY SAYS). A similar concern and lack of certainty emerged at CRD Environment Committee in January, with report by CRD scientist Chris Lowe: REGIONS TO PONDER DEGRADATION OF SEA LIFE
Other environment assertions Brownoff makes are also weak, especially that TSS and BOD would have any significant impact in our well-oxygenated Strait environment.
LETTER: CORE AREA SEWAGE IMPACTS ENVIRONMENT (BROWNOFF)
October 30, 2012
Re: Tax increase poor treatment, (Writer’s Block, Oct. 19)
The current regional sewage system is charged out to member municipalities based on flow (volume using the system) and design capacity. This calculation will remain the same.
Saanich’s utility invoice model calculates sewer charges based on current water consumption and consumption from the last two billing periods to determine the lowest consumption period.
This model has created a “user pay” system. It has proven that those who use less water, such as seniors, use less sewer infrastructure and pay less.
The $232 average increase (60 per cent capital and 40 per cent operating) mentioned in the column for Saanich residents will be phased in.
As new components come on line, the charges will be through the utility invoice based on the “user pay,” with full costs to be incorporated by 2017.
The core area raw sewage is having an impact on the marine environment. CRD’s last “full” marine monitoring report states under overall conclusions: “Results of wastewater monitoring showed that some substances were above water quality guidelines; both the Clover and Macaulay plumes were predominantly trapped at depth, with occasional surfacing events occurring mostly in winter ... benthic invertebrate community health showed a significant decline relative to recent years ... The reason for this decline is not known, but it may reflect population growth in the Greater Victoria area, cumulative effects of all contaminants in wastewater, and/or the release of new chemicals.”
These impacts are what I believe, the independent report was trying to highlight when it said “flushing wastewater into the Strait isn’t a long-term solution,” that with bio-accumulation over time and with increased population there would be impacts. We are now seeing these impacts.
Wastewater treatment will improve the quality of effluent discharged into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The overall loading of most contaminants discharged into the Strait of Juan de Fuca through the outfalls will be significantly lower than existing regime as a result of the installation of secondary treatment.
Secondary treatment will remove 60 to 80 per cent of trace contaminants including, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and endocrine disruptors from the wastewater and meet the national standard for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS).
Saanich councillor and CRD director
GENERAL SEWAGE-RELATED NEWS:
COHEN COMMISSION REPORT ON FRASER RIVER SOCKEYE - SEWAGE EXCERPTS:
Report released 31 October, 2012.
Volume 2 - Causes of the Decline:
The Capital Regional District’s stormwater management system flushes high-velocity, toxic stormwater into sensitive salmon habitat.(page 7)
Volume 3, Chapter 2, Recommendations:
In the Pacific Region, DFO is not involved in monitoring or researching the impact of municipal wastewater on Fraser River sockeye or other salmon, nor is anyone from Environment Canada tasked with assessing the impact of municipal wastewater on salmon.
Municipal wastewater is not currently governed by a specific regulation under section 36 of the Fisheries Act. However, in March 2010, Environment Canada proposed draft Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations (WSER) that, if enacted, will apply nationwide.
The WSER specify conditions that must be met by any wastewater system with a capacity to deposit 10 cubic metres or more of effluent daily from its final discharge point into fish-bearing waters. Standards are created for effluent toxicity, effluent monitoring, receiving environment monitoring, record keeping, and reporting.
The effluent standards represent a secondary level of wastewater treatment or equivalent, but under transitional provisions, municipal sewage facilities will have different timelines to meet the minimum effluent standard, depending on the level of risk assessed.
Under the WSER, in addition to monitoring to ensure effluent quality standards, some wastewater treatment facilities will be required to undertake environmental effects monitoring to evaluate the effect of the effluent quality standards for protecting fish and fish habitat. Monitoring will include assessing the effects of some emerging chemicals of concern on endocrine function and the effects of nutrient inputs on the benthos and, in some cases, on fish populations.
As noted, the WSER have not yet been enacted. Dr. Ross expressed concern that Environment Canada appears not to have incorporated the issues raised by DFO contaminant scientists and that the WSER do not impose limits or require testing of emerging contaminants of concern such as pharmaceuticals, surfactants, and some persistent organic pollutants and PBDEs.
Also, the WSER do not at present address biosolids, which are not broken down by treatment and can be transferred to land – and thereby re-enter Fraser River sockeye salmon habitats.
Pulp and paper, metal mining, and municipal wastewater effluents
55 The Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada should co-operatively
• ensure that environmental quality monitoring and environmental effects monitoring related to pulp and paper, metal mining, and municipal wastewater discharges include consideration of Fraser River sockeye salmon, and the two federal departments should work with the Province of British Columbia and with regional and municipal governments to that end;
• work with BC municipalities on a public education campaign aimed at reducing toxicants in municipal wastewater, especially pharmaceuticals and personal-care products; and
• immediately recommence their participation in the Metro Vancouver
Environmental Monitoring Committee.
56 Canada should promptly finalize the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations to include
• public reporting on environmental effects monitoring results;
• ongoing environmental effects monitoring requirements similar to those found in the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations and in the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations; and
• environmental effects monitoring of contaminants of emerging concern and endocrine-disrupting chemicals discharging from large wastewater treatment facilities.
57 Canada should finalize a regulatory strategy to limit the impact of wastewater biosolids on fisheries resources.
Volume 3, Chapter 2, Recommendations, page 53
(Cohen Report website: http://www.
STORMWATER UTILITY WOULD SHIFT COSTS TO HOMEOWNERS (AND LINK TO FORTIN REPLY)
Single families could pay $61.79 more than through property taxes
November 01, 2012
Under a proposed utility fee - estimated at $265 a year - to be considered today by Victoria councillors, single-family homeowners would pay $61.79 more than what they pay through property taxes for stormwater management.
Multi-family residential properties could expect an average increase of about $215, although that would be divided by the number of units on the property. Civic-recreational properties would see an average increase of $1,182, while commercial-industrial properties would see an average decrease of $1,148.
If the proposed fee was implemented, the portion of property taxes used for stormwater management would be removed from the tax bill.
"We said we were interested in moving forward with a stormwater utility because there are about $30 million in costs headed toward us in the next 20 years," acting mayor Chris Coleman said.
"But with every tool, it's [a question of] how it's implemented and what the impact is, so I think there will be lots of questions for staff."
As with the utilities for garbage, sanitary sewers and water, a standalone stormwater utility is seen as the best way to create dedicated funding for rehabilitation and replacement, set rates and build up reserves, meet environmental regulations and encourage green stormwa-ter projects.
A staff report says the creation of a stormwater utility would not result in an overall funding increase - rather, some property owners would pay more and others less.
The cost shift is mostly attributable to the fact that the commercial-industrial properties pay 3.5 times the amount of property taxes paid by residential properties and the proposed utility model does not use that multiplier.
Coleman said the question of whether businesses should pay less is one that council deals with often.
"Is it fair that we should be reducing the commercial side if we want to keep downtown vibrant? It's the same discussion we have when we set our commercial tax rates. They pay 3.5 times what residential properties do," he said. "Do I think we over-tax businesses? Yes."
However, the shift would be offset somewhat by properties statutorily exempt from property taxes - such as the legislature and Government House - that would have to pay the utility fees.
Properties receiving permissive tax exemptions - such as church halls, hospitals and private schools - would also have to pay.
The plan is to phase in the full stormwater utility fee for these groups over a three-year period.
City staff are also developing options for a rebate program that could provide credits for sustainable stormwater management practices or one-time incentives to offset the cost of building sustainable stormwater features.
Examples of water sensitive urban design features include grass swales or drains, artificially constructed treatment wetlands, on-site storage systems and porous or permeable paving in car parking areas.
Most of Victoria's stormwater system - which consists of 253 kilometres of pipes; 9,867 service connections; four lift stations; 2,888 manholes, with 101 combined manholes containing both a sanitary sewer pipe and a stormwater pipe; 5,692 catch basins; three stormwater rehabilitation units; 415 vents; three flush tanks; and 68 outfalls - was installed prior to 1920.
The estimated replacement cost is $362 million. City staff calculate that there is an annual shortfall in funding of $1.6 million to deal with the system's needs.
City staff have recommended extensive consultation with property owners prior to implementation, which would begin in 2014 at the earliest.
ARESST: Sheehan is member of a "stakeholder group" that is part of California political team investigating chemicals of emerging concern and so she might be inclined to take questions or advance her point of view on our sewage system.
TALK: ADVANCING RIGHTS OF NATURE IN INTERNATIONAL ARENA, 5 NOV, UVIC (MIGHT BE SEWAGE-RELATED)
Nov 5, 2012
1pm - 2:30pm
UVic, room C168 Sedgewick Building
Our way of life is dangerously out of balance with Earth's systems, and flawed governance models are accelerating the increasingly serious impacts of this imbalance.
To course-correct this destructive path, we must advance governance models that reflect the inherent rights of people and nature to exist, thrive, and evolve together.
In this talk, Linda Sheehan will introduce and examine the concept of rights of nature. She will discuss recent efforts to develop international law and policy instruments that recognize the rights of nature, with a particular focus on the June 2012 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, or "Rio +20."
- Linda Sheehan is Executive Director of Earth Law Center, where she works to develop new laws and governance models that acknowledge the natural world's inherent rights.
Among other efforts, Ms. Sheehan has successfully advanced legislative, policy, and litigation initiatives to provide water quality data to the public; curtail sewage spills; designate marine parks; improve oil spill prevention and response; and create new funding sources to ensure healthy waters. She is a Research Affiliate with the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria and a contributing author to Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence.