CONTENTS OF THIS BLOG:
CRD-RELATED SEWAGE & RELATED NEWS:
- PORT ANGELES MAYOR PRAISES CAPITAL REGION'S SEWAGE-TREATMENT PLAN
- CRD BOARD CHAIR ALASTAIR BRYSON INAUGURAL SPEECH 9 JAN (sewage excerpt)
- COLWOOD DECIDES HOW TO SPLIT COST OF TREATMENT
- ESQUIMALT LOOKS TO SEWAGE FOR HEAT
- SAANICH MAYOR SAYS CRIME CONCERN LIKELY SKEWED IN SURVEY RESULTS (NO MENTION OF SEWAGE?)
- NEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUDITOR GENERAL SAYS SHE WILL FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE (HELLO CRD SEWAGE?)
GENERAL SEWAGE NEWS
- OTTAWA: CARRY ON WITH SEWAGE PLAN DESPITE $100M PRICE INCREASE, COUNCILLORS TELL STAFF
- ALL CRD DIRECTORS AWARE OF VOTING PROCEDURE
PUGET SOUND NEWS
- PUGET SOUND MARINE WATER ISSUES
CRD-RELATED SEWAGE NEWS:
PORT ANGELES MAYOR PRAISES CAPITAL REGION'S SEWAGE-TREATMENT PLAN
TIMES COLONIST (page 1 headliner)
JANUARY 19, 2013
Victoria’s neighbours to the south are applauding the capital region’s sewage treatment plans.
Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd said her city, and others in Washington that face Greater Victoria, have been keeping a close eye as their Canadian neighbour progresses toward treating its sewage.
“I was over there in November and this is a topic that came up, and it’s something we’ve been discussing in Port Angeles,” Kidd said in an interview.
“I thought … it would be the appropriate time for us to step up and share our support.”
Kidd mailed a letter to the Capital Regional District’s sewage committee encouraging the CRD treatment project for its long-term environmental benefits. The letter was received this month.
“We share the Strait of Juan de Fuca, it’s our playground, yours and ours collectively, and there’s no magical international border dividing your water from our water,” Kidd said.
“It’s kind of like sharing the same swimming pool — we’re all in this together.”
Nearby U.S. municipalities have criticized Greater Victoria in the past for discharging screened sewage into the ocean. Others, such as Tourism Victoria, have expressed worry that potential visitors might be turned off by the practice.
The capital region was ordered in 2006 to plan treatment. After years of debate, the $783-million project is set for completion by 2018.
Some vocal critics still say treatment is unnecessary because the cold ocean currents off Greater Victoria naturally disperse and treat the sewage.
Kidd said that argument hasn’t been heard on her side of the border for decades.
“Times have changed, and as we continue to move into the future, we really need to look at preserving our water,” she said. “We can’t keep dumping into it and expect it to be that pristine waterway forever. … We have to start cleaning up after ourselves.”
The City of Port Angeles already operates a sewage treatment plant that cleans effluent to a secondary treatment level — the same standard being pursued by Greater Victoria.
Port Angeles is also spending $43 million to develop a treatment system for stormwater overflow, which can pollute beaches and waterways during heavy rainfall. That’s being paid for entirely by 19,000 local taxpayers, said Kidd, who called Greater Victoria’s cost-sharing agreement with the provincial and federal governments for sewage treatment a “huge advantage.”
Greater Victoria’s stormwater overflows also send sewage and pollution onto local beaches, which are often closed as a result. But the region has no treatment plan for stormwater.
“They’re way further ahead of us,” Denise Blackwell, chairwoman of the CRD sewage committee, said of Port Angeles.
Regional politicians appreciated Kidd’s letter, she said.
“It was nice she sent it, and it’s exactly what we’ve been saying at the committee — that the people in Washington state want us to get on with it.”
CRD BOARD CHAIR ALASTAIR BRYSON INAUGURAL SPEECH 9 JAN
Sewage plan excerpts
• However, as we well know, some of our commitments with regard to the Regional Sustainability Strategy and of course wastewater treatment for the core area will be cost drivers in the coming years. (page 11)
• As previously mentioned, another major priority is the Core Area Wastewater Treatment Program, which will consist of three projects: the construction of the McLoughlin Wastewater Treatment Plant and Marine Outfall, a Biosolids Energy Centre, and Conveyance System Upgrades.
• I have asked Director Blackwell to continue to chair the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee which will focus on: establishing a Commission to administer the program, initiating the procurement process and finalizing the tripartite agreement with Canada and the Province of B.C. Director Brownoff has agreed to vice-chair the committee.
• As we move this regionally significant project forward, we will continue to seek out the highest international standards for design and operations. (pages 12-13)
ARESST: Its not secret that you don't need to treat sewage to pull heat energy from sewage trunk lines, as happening now at Southeast False Creek Energy Utility in Vancouver or as Capital City Centre is planning to do in Colwood. However, the Esquimalt study below appears to only focus on getting heat from a McLoughlin Point sewage plant.
EDITORIAL: BRING HEAT TO ESQUIMALT
JANUARY 17, 2013
CLICK HERE TO SEND LETTER TO TIMES COLONIST
Esquimalt didn’t want the region’s new sewage plant, but it does want the heat from the plant. It’s a reasonable request, and the Capital Regional District should try to make it work.
The township has fought a losing battle against plans to put the new facility at McLoughlin Point. In an effort to find a silver lining in the cloud, it has issued a request for proposals to study the feasibility of taking heat from the plant and piping it to recreation centres and municipal buildings.
When sewage is digested in the treatment process, it produces heat ranging from 12 degrees to 22 degrees. One method is to use heat pumps to concentrate that heat and send it to nearby buildings.
Heat recovery is already being used successfully in North Saanich, where the sewage plant helps to heat the Panorama Recreation Centre, and the CRD estimates that the new regional plant could heat 18,500 homes.
Rather than homes, Esquimalt envisions heat for the municipal hall, library, public safety building, recreation centre, sports centre and public-works yard, as well as two highrises to be built near the town hall.
Money will be the tricky part. The North Saanich equipment saves $112,000 a year in natural gas costs, but maintenance costs $50,000. It will take more than 30 years to recover the capital cost, says the CRD’s website. A federal grant covered most of the $3-million cost.
Okanagan College in Kelowna saves $100,000 a year after spending $1.5 million on a heat-recovery system. However, a report on that project notes that the pipes from the sewage plant to the college boilers are 500 metres long, and if the distance were only a little greater, the system would not have been financially viable.
In Esquimalt, the buildings are two kilometres from the plant, so a major part of the study will be whether the plan makes financial sense over that distance.
The study is worth the $30,000 Esquimalt is proposing to spend, and if the report is favourable, the CRD should give serious consideration to granting the township’s wish.
COLWOOD DECIDES HOW TO SPLIT COST OF TREATMENT
Goldstream News Gazette
January 16, 2013 4:01 PM (paper edition of 18 Jan, page 2)
It wasn’t easy, but the City of Colwood has decided how its residents will pay their share of the Capital Regional District’s new sewage treatment plant.
After public consultations and lengthy discussions, council voted to have current sewer users pay maintenance costs and for the capacity needed right now. Capacity that is being purchased for future sewer users in Colwood will be paid for by all residents.
Like other growing communities, Colwood will need to reserve capacity in the new plant beyond what it currently needs.
How the community should pay for future capacity has been a topic of debate.
Acting Colwood administrator Michael Baxter said while it was impossible to please everyone, council’s decision attempts to strike a balance.
“There’s no absolute right or wrong here,” he said. “User pay is always the best system for making people responsible (for) what they use. But who pays for the future is a really hard question, isn’t it? There are arguments to be made about why it benefits everybody to have future capacity.”
The decision addresses all sewer treatment from now on, Baxter said, whether it’s provided by the CRD, the city or a private company. The city will be revisiting just how much capacity it wants to buy into the regional treatment facility. Originally the city requested an amount based on population, but the CRD requires a request based on volume.
Baxter said he will be providing council options for the amount of volume to request, including an option to opt out of the regional treatment facility entirely and rely on privately provided sewage treatment, such as that proposed by the Capital City Centre development.
“That decision doesn’t (refer to) how we’re going to provide sewage treatment. It’s just a decision about how we will pay for it.”
While there has been both public and political outcry against the CRD’s plans for a sewage treatment plant, the project is forging ahead, with the province recently winning a debate over who will control the project.
It was recently determined that outside experts will oversee the project, not the region’s politicians.
With the sewage project still in the early stages, Baxter said, it’s hard to provide exact figures on how much current sewer users and non-sewer users will pay. He did say that non-sewer users will likely pay between 10 and 15 per cent of what sewer users will pay.
ESQUIMALT LOOKS TO SEWAGE FOR HEAT
JANUARY 15, 2013
CLICK HERE TO SEND LETTER TO TIMES COLONIST
JANUARY 15, 2013
CLICK HERE TO SEND LETTER TO TIMES COLONIST
Esquimalt is searching for ways to use the heat from the region’s proposed sewage treatment plant to warm its municipal buildings and recreation centres.
The township issued a request for proposals on Tuesday for a $30,000 study into the possibility of drawing heat and other resources from a treatment facility planned for McLoughlin Point.
“The first step is [to determine] what are the possible sources of recovered energy, and can the township actually utilize them in an economical manner,” said Jeff Miller, director of engineering and public works.
Esquimalt’s municipal hall, library, public safety building, recreation centre, sports centre and public-works yard are about two kilometres from McLoughlin Point, where the Capital Regional District wants to build the region’s secondary sewage treatment facility.
Esquimalt is also planning two highrises near its town hall as part of a proposed village development project that may also include small-scale sewage treatment and resource recovery.
The township’s study will look at whether heat can be piped over the two-kilometre distance and the potential cost to retrofit municipal buildings to utilize the energy, Miller said.
CRD studies have pointed to heat as being one of the most viable resources recovered from sewage treatment, with the potential to heat 18,500 houses.
Esquimalt’s study will also look at reusing treated sewage water, biogas generation and recovery of elements such as phosphorus.
It remains unclear who owns the resources that can be recovered from sewage and whether Esquimalt would be allowed, or have to pay for, access to recoverable water and energy.
“The question is still there,” said Denise Blackwell, chairwoman of the region’s sewage committee.
That uncertainty also affects communities such as Colwood, where private companies want to build their own treatment plants as part of residential developments and recover energy from the waste, she said.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said the municipality never wanted the region’s treatment plant. But, if it has to be there, the town should get some sort of compensation.
Depending on what the study finds, Esquimalt could look at energy recovery as part of that compensation, Desjardins said.
A heat recovery system is already operating in North Saanich, where the Saanich Peninsula sewage treatment plant recovers energy that is used to warm the nearby Panorama Recreation Centre.
However, that $3-million project was funded mostly by a federal grant. It saves $112,000 a year in natural gas, but costs $50,000 in maintenance, and would take more than 30 years to recover its capital investment, according to the CRD’s website.
Esquimalt’s study is expected to be ready by March 27.
SAANICH MAYOR SAYS CRIME CONCERN LIKELY SKEWED IN SURVEY RESULTS (NO MENTION OF SEWAGE?)
JANUARY 18, 2013
Results of a public survey showing crime is top of mind among Saanich residents are preliminary and probably skewed, says Mayor Frank Leonard.
Saanich recently posted the results of a five-question, online survey of 287 residents conducted in October and November last year.
When residents were asked what types of information they want to receive from Saanich, crime facts and prevention tips topped the list at 12.3 per cent.
The municipality was limited in how it directed people to the survey, relying heavily on Leonard’s own Facebook page, as well as the Saanich police and fire departments and members of Saanich Block Watch.
“We suspect it’s skewed a bit because, not so much me, but Saanich police and fire who promoted it got a fairly high response around crime and safety,” Leonard said.
“All the block watch people were also encouraged to participate.”
Saanich staff are currently widening the net, taking the survey to both the University of Victoria and Camosun College in the hope of attracting a different demographic, he said.
“We’ll do a couple of other things as well, just to try to solicit responses — again not scientific,” Leonard said.
“The final phase will be a random sample survey done later this month. Then they’ll compare the results of that to what we’ve solicited in a non-scientific way with the same five questions.”
The initial results show that, aside from crime, residents most want to hear about development and subdivision issues (9.1 per cent); engineering and public works projects (7.8 per cent); transportation changes (5.3 per cent); planning and land use issues (5.2 per cent); events, activities and recreation offerings (4.6 per cent); environmental issues (4.4 per cent); budgets and expenditures (4.3 per cent); taxation (4.1 per cent); and emergency and safety information (3.7 per cent).
And while a combined 41.4 per cent think it is very important (2.6 per cent) or important (38.8 per cent) for Saanich to solicit input on municipal initiatives, programs and services, a surprising 58.6 per cent of respondents said it’s not important or not at all important to be asked what they think.
The issues that residents most want to be engaged on are: traffic and transportation (9.8 per cent); development, subdivision and rezoning notices (8.9 per cent); environmental issues (8.4 per cent); engineering and public works projects (7.5 per cent); planning and land use (6.9 per cent); parks and trails (6.2 per cent); emergency and safety information (4.6 per cent); crime facts and crime prevention (4.3 per cent); events, activities and recreation programs (4.1 per cent) and taxation (3.9 per cent).
The surveys are part of development of a public participation policy and framework.
“We just want to get some feedback on what people are looking to us to provide, how they want to get information from us and how we communicate on public process in the future,” Leonard said.
news/local/saanich-mayor-says- crime-concern-likely-skewed- in-survey-results-1.50651
ARESST: News story below on our new local government auditor general suggests that she could be looking at the poor sewage plan process in the CRD.
NEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUDITOR GENERAL SAYS SHE WILL FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE (HELLO CRD SEWAGE!)
JANUARY 18, 2013
When Basia Ruta worked as a page in the Senate while at university, she became fascinated with watching democracy in action.
"It has always been something very close to my heart," she said Thursday in a phone interview. "Working for the public interest and contributing your skills and knowledge to help further progress at local, federal and provincial level is something that has been an important professional objective of mine since my university days."
Ruta will now bring her love of the democratic process, along with a career in business and the public sector that's spanned more than 30 years, to her new role as British Columbia's inaugural auditor general for local government.
She started in her new job on Tuesday. Her office will oversee the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of local government operations in 188 public bodies including cities, municipalities and regional districts. School boards are not included.
"The focus is on performance audits - not financial audits," she said. "It is not about auditing financial statements - that's already being done by municipal auditors."
She described performance audits as rigorous examinations of programs or operations. An audit will look into the various inputs such as costs, staffing and the extent of waste, and look at the results.
Ruta said she wants to start her first performance audits by April 30.
"You try to blend the two together - investment and results - and see if local governments can improve on efficiency and cost effectiveness of their operations," she said.
Ruta, 53, was born in Montreal to parents who emigrated from Poland before the Second World War. She is bilingual and has a working knowledge of Polish.
She first became interested in chartered accountancy when she was at the University of Ottawa. She liked it, she said, because it gave her insights into how organizations function, especially government.
Most recently, Ruta was chief financial officer and assistant deputy minister, finance and corporate branch, for Environment Canada. She has also worked for the federal auditor general and Canada Customs.
"My experience has been in value for money audits and performance audits," she said. "The rigour of the auditing profession allows you to work with other disciplines and bring facts in a compelling way, make the analysis and make recommendations that serve the public interest. That's very, very exciting."
During the next few months, she said she will develop a service plan with the goals and objectives for the coming year. After meetings with local governments, the Union of B.C. Municipalities and other stakeholders, she'll start assessing where the problems are and deciding on priorities for audits.
Ruta was appointed the first AGLG by a five-member audit council that oversees the new office.
She said members of the public can contact her office about what they think should be audited in local government.
"We're very keen on getting input," she said. "If there are things close to the heart of British Columbians, let us know. We'll look at it and if it's in the scope of our mandate, we'll take a look at it."
The auditor general for local government is at 10470 152nd St., Surrey. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org and website, http://www.aglg.ca.
business/local+government+ auditor+general+says+will+ focus+performance/7837958/ story.html
GENERAL SEWAGE NEWS
OTTAWA: CARRY ON WITH SEWAGE PLAN DESPITE $100M PRICE INCREASE, COUNCILLORS TELL STAFF
January 15, 2013
OTTAWA — The city should press on with its plan to cut sewage overflows into the Ottawa River, despite an increase in the project’s price of about $100 million, city council’s environment committee decided Tuesday.
The estimated cost has gone from $252 million to $355 million as the city’s engineers have got a better handle on what’ll be involved. The biggest part of that is a $55-million hike in the price of digging two huge tunnels to contain sewage downtown during storms. That price does include estimates of inflation as far down the line as 2018, though.
None of it would happen without funding from the federal and provincial governments.
In newer parts of the city, separate pipe systems handle toilet sewage and storm water; downtown, as in many older cities, both streams run into the same pipe that leads to the city’s sewage plant in Gloucester. When the pipes are overloaded by rain or a lot of melting snow, they are designed to vent the combined sewage into the river.
Reducing the frequency and severity of those overflows became a city priority after 2008, when it was discovered that a jammed gate in 2006 let nearly a billion litres of household sewage run into the river for no good reason and contaminate the beaches downstream at Petrie Island.
Infrastructure manager Alain Gonthier told the committee that the original cost estimates for the tunnels were “conceptual,” rough guesses. The new numbers are much more solid, based on a distinct plan to build one tunnel across downtown to from LeBreton Flats to New Edinburgh and one south from the Supreme Court to Catherine Street. Together, they’re supposed to hold 42,000 cubic metres (42 million litres) of sewage until the treatment system can handle it.
“By the time this project is built and commissioned, we’re dealing almost with a 10-year time frame” between conception and execution, Gonthier said.
Wayne Newell, another infrastructure official, said city staff are working on a better way to estimate the costs of major projects. They’ve been bitten more than once by projects whose prices have risen because of inflation — light rail is probably the best known — and would rather give “real” estimates even if they seem a little high at first, Newell said.
Other aspects of the so-called Ottawa River Action Plan whose costs have gone up are separating the sewage systems in parts of downtown (that’s gone from $47 million to $88 million, though that is mostly because the city has worked more aggressively on getting parts of the decades-long effort done sooner) and “retrofitting” creeks that carry surface run-off straight to the Ottawa River (that has gone from $4 million to $13 million).
It will take more work even beyond this to get to the point where there are no overflows during beach season, but the city is proud that it has cut overflows by 80 per cent, primarily by installing more sophisticated gates to control sewage flows in the pipes Ottawa already has.
The city hasn’t recorded any overflows yet this year, but sometimes they take a while to be calculated and the warm weather and rain last weekend is the sort of combination that often leads to one.
ALL CRD DIRECTORS AWARE OF VOTING PROCEDURE
JANUARY 17, 2013
CLICK HERE TO SEND LETTER TO TIMES COLONIST
Re: “Official CRD vote not the whole story,” Jan. 13
Meetings of the Capital Regional District Board and committees are governed by Procedures Bylaw No. 3828, the Local Government Act and the Community Charter.
Bylaw No. 3828 states that in cases that are not provided for under this bylaw, the newly revised Robert’s Rules of Order apply, provided it is applicable in the circumstances and is not inconsistent with the provisions of the procedures bylaw, the Local Government Act or the Community Charter.
According to the Local Government Act, “if a director who is entitled to vote does not indicate how he or she votes, the director is deemed to have voted in the affirmative.” All directors are aware of this provision and therefore of the implications of choosing not to raise their hand when the vote is taken.
The motion to amend the commission bylaw and give it fourth reading as amended was approved at the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee on Jan. 9. With all 15 members of the committee present, the corporate officer reviewed the vote at the meeting and confirmed that eight members voted in favour with seven opposed. As such, the motion carried.
This committee recommendation was forwarded to the board that afternoon for consideration. The Board approved the motion with a vote of 23 to 1.
Manager of legislative services and corporate officer
Capital Regional District
Ocean acidification acknowledged as area of concern for Puget Sound waters
This month, with the EPA’s approval, Ecology categorized Puget Sound as a “waters of concern” for potential harm to fish and shellfish habitat from human activities, including conditions that make the waters more vulnerable, such as climate change, urbanization and ocean acidification. There is currently no federal guidance to list waters for ocean acidification impacts, but based on recommendations from the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, Ecology has asked the EPA to begin an assessment of water quality criteria relevant to ocean acidification.
To read the news release: http://1.usa.gov/11CoPEz
To learn more about direction on ocean acidification efforts: http://1.usa.gov/10hSNgB
Ecology’s latest chemical action plan supports Puget Sound Action Agenda priorities
Ecology and the Department of Health’s latest chemical action plan addresses uses and releases of PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, by supporting existing programs such as removing creosote-treated pilings and education and outreach campaigns about wood burning, vehicle drips, engine idling and smoking. These programs support priorities outlined in the Partnership’s Puget Sound Action Agenda – the plan for prioritizing and focusing recovery and protection efforts across the 12-county region. PAHs are a group of more than 100 different chemicals that are toxic to organisms, including humans. They are found in natural substances like oil and coal, and are formed during incomplete burning of organic material such as coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage, tobacco and meat. Studies have linked PAHs to cancer, reproductive problems and weakened immune systems.
To read the news release: http://1.usa.gov/V8BpWE