CONTENTS OF THIS BLOG:
- AUDIO RECORDINGS OF RECENT PROBUS CLUB PRESENTATIONS OF TED DEW-JONES, VIC DERMAN, JOHN BERGBUSCH
- SAANICH ARESSTERS: JOIN MUNICIPAL ADVISORY COMMITTEES
CRD-RELATED SEWAGE & RELATED NEWS:
- CITY CREW HALTS WORK AFTER HUMAN REMAINS FOUND (NEAR PLANNED SEWAGE PIPE ROUTE)
RELATED LOCAL NEWS
- SAANICH CALL FOR COMMITTEE MEMBERS
- GETTING A GRIP ON SPENDING AT CITY HALL (O'HARE)
- STUMBLES ON THE PATH FORWARD (ATWELL)
- POOR WILL HAVE TO BEAR NEW SEWAGE-PLANT COSTS (NEWCOMB)
RELATED ENVIRONMENT NEWS
- ALASKA: CRUISE SHIP WASTEWATER STANDARDS TESTIMONY HEARD
- AUDIO RECORDING OF TED DEW-JONES PRESENTATION
At Probus Club Jan 28, 2013
Read Ted's book online (no longer in print):
AUDIO RECORDING OF VIC DERMAN PRESENTATION
At Probus Club Jan 28, 2013
ARESST ally Vic Derman recently spoke to a community gathering and explained what happened at the CRD when he asked these seven simply questions of the sewage project:
1) Is there damage being done at the outfalls?
2) Has the impact created an immediate environmental or health emergency?
3) What benefit would I get from this project?
4) At this time, would this be the right project?
5) What is the financial impact and risk for local taxpayers?
6) How would the financial impact affect other regional projects?
7) Are there likely going to be better options in the near future?
Some of his answers are absolutely scandalous and shocking and he is the only one from Saanich with an integrity willing to tell the truth about this stupid project along with Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood and Oak Bay.
AUDIO RECORDING OF JOHN BERGBUSCH PRESENTATION
At Probus Club Jan 28, 2013
ARESST president John Bergbusch goes into the sewage project details in depth.
Length: 20 min
Audio is from the same meeting (Ted Dew Jones, Vic Derman and John Bergbusch).
SAANICH ARESSTERS: JOIN MUNICIPAL ADVISORY COMMITTEES
2013 Municipal Appointments to Advisory Committees and Foundation
Posted: January 29, 2013
The District of Saanich is accepting applications from residents wishing to be involved in local government by sitting as a member of an advisory committee or Foundation.
Appointments effective 2013 are made by the Municipal Council and are generally for a one year term.
If you would like to serve your community in areas such as arts and heritage, transportation and pedestrian mobility, the environment and urban forestry, or parks and recreation, we encourage you to apply.
The Council advisory committees and Foundation listed below deal with a wide range of municipal issues. Most meet on a monthly basis except in July, August and December. The terms of reference for each committee is available online at saanich.ca or by contacting the Legislative Division at 250‑475‑1775.
Advisory Design Panel
Arts, Culture and Heritage
Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility
ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL AREAS
Parks, Trails and Recreation
Planning, Transportation and Economic Development
Saanich Heritage Foundation (registered, non-profit organization)
HOW TO APPLY: Saanich residents interested in being considered for an appointment must complete an Application for Appointment available online at saanich.ca or by contacting the Legislative Division at 250-475-1775.
Please Note - Unless you wish to do so, it is not necessary to request appointment to a specific committee - simply outline your area(s) of interest on the application form.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: 4:30 PM, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2013
Submit to the Legislative Division, District of Saanich, 770 Vernon Avenue, Victoria, BC, V8X 2W7, or by email: email@example.com.
CRD-RELATED SEWAGE & RELATED NEWS:
ARESST: The excavation site noted below (location: http://goo.gl/maps/
BnlMT) would be very close to the location of a new sewage pipeline connecting Clover Point with McLoughlin Point.
CITY CREW HALTS WORK AFTER HUMAN REMAINS FOUND (NEAR PLANNED SEWAGE PIPE ROUTE)
JANUARY 30, 2013
The discovery of human remains put a sudden stop to work replacing a catch basin near Ogden Point at Dallas Road and Montreal Street.
First Nations representatives were contacted, said city spokeswoman Katie Josephson, after the remains were uncovered Tuesday afternoon.
The area is known to archeologists as the site of early human settlement. Remains were discovered in 2009, just across the street from the current site. At that time, city crews were working on a sewer. After an archeologist examined those remains, the bones were wrapped in a blanket and placed back in the ground.
“We’ve notified and talked to the chiefs and representatives of the Songhees First Nation and Esquimalt First Nation,” Mayor Dean Fortin said. “Obviously, it’s of great importance to them and it it’s of great importance to us, the City of Victoria, that we deal with this appropriately, sensitively and with full respect.”
The city is also taking guidance from Golder and Associates and the excavated pit will be secured until further notice, he said. “We recognize that these are traditional terriories of First Nations and we, unwittingly at times, disturb some of these ancient burial grounds. We have a responsibility to treat it appropriately.”
RELATED LOCAL NEWS
SAANICH CALL FOR COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Below is call for residents to apply for appointment to committees, and I see two committees that might be of special interest - Environment & Natural Areas, and Healthy Saanich.
CLICK HERE TO SEND LETTER TO FOCUS EDITOR
Ken Roueche et al expose some of Victoria council’s financial extravagance and propose some useful reforms. They attribute much of the problem to weak oversight and poor information. However, it is clear that the mismanagement of our taxes rests largely on the shoulders of council itself.
Consider council’s open welcome to the Occupy crowd, whose scruffy camp cost over $100,000 to police and dismantle. More recently, they spent an undisclosed amount of money in Beacon Hill Park installing road barriers which impede access to the physically challenged and generally provide a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
These feckless decisions pale compared to council’s stubborn insistence on supporting the sewage treatment plant despite abundant scientific evidence indicating that it is, at best, useless. This unnecessary “feel good” project will burden Victoria taxpayers for decades and will necessarily squeeze out many worthwhile initiatives, including improved public transit.
In fairness, Victoria residents must shoulder part of the blame. We elected a group more interested in political correctness than fiscal prudence and common sense. Regrettably, we got the government we deserve.
STUMBLES ON THE PATH FORWARD
CLICK HERE TO SEND LETTER TO FOCUS EDITOR
Kudos to Focus and Vic Derman who have exposed for public benefit the tainted process that has followed the development of the disastrous sewage treatment project. It is an absolutely shocking revelation that the votes behind this project haven’t even been properly counted—and why is there only silence from the other CRD directors?
The public is left to wonder what rules the CRD is really following when they record the vote but disregard whether the vote was correctly recorded? Where is the provincial government oversight of this process and what is the recourse for its citizens?
The voting structure of the 24-member CRD board itself is fodder for the amalgamation movement. How can there be any sense that the board has followed through with logical decision-making when Director A can vote to fail a motion at the committee level, followed by Director B (his/her alternate) who can vote to pass a substituted motion at a second meeting without having done their homework, followed by either Directors A or B who happen to attend the final vote at the CRD board meeting?
Not only that, but the entire board, representing 13 municipalities and 3 electoral areas, gets to vote on a project that only affects the 7 core municipalities who will actually be footing the bill.
It gives me no comfort that Victoria CRD Directors Fortin, Alto, Isitt and Young have the votes to push this project forward and largely have the Johnson Street Bridge to show as proof of their combined wisdom and fiscal acumen. The rest of council who sit as alternates at the CRD also have much to atone for.
If you thought the CREST radio system overruns were expensive ($13m extra) and are worried about the Johnson Street Bridge replacement (already at least $16m over even before construction has begun), just wait until the sewage project cost overruns hit your wallet.
Estimated at $783m, this is clearly a province-sized megaproject and like the overruns of the fast ferries ($253M extra), BC Place roof ($200M extra), Vancouver Convention Centre ($388m extra) and Port Mann Bridge ($1.8B extra), we’ll be lucky to get off with only a paltry 25 percent overrun of $200M, which the provincial and federal governments have both stated up front they will not be paying.
POOR WILL HAVE TO BEAR NEW SEWAGE-PLANT COSTS
Re: Editorial: MSP premiums should be axed, 1 February
3 February 2012, page D3
If MSP premiums should be rolled into the income-tax system, we need to do the same with the impending sewage treatment plant fees as well. While paying another $300-500 a year is merely chump-change to our regional rich, it will hit low-income families much harder. However, the poor can't stop using their toilets.
This at least one of the reasons for demanding a health impact assessment for the sewage plant, and in making that demand, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Stanwick has shown he understands that our low-income residents may be forced to shoulder an unfair amount of the financial burden for a sewage plant and that this may indeed negatively impact on their health.
RELATED ENVIRONMENT NEWS
ARESST: A long article below but interesting parallels between our CRD sewage situation and this Alaska cruiseships issue.
ALASKA: CRUISE SHIP WASTEWATER STANDARDS TESTIMONY HEARD
28 January 2013
A dissenting member of the science advisory panel asked legislators to slow down work on a set of bills that would alter a citizens initiative requirement for cruise ship waste water discharge.
The main contention comes from how House Bill 80 and Senate Bill 29 remove the requirement that cruise ships meet wastewater standards at the point of discharge – at the mouth of the black water pipe. The bills allow for mixing zones around moving and stationary large commercial passenger vessels while in Alaska waters.
Alaska Marine Highway System ferries do not fall into this category of vessel.
Gov. Sean Parnell requested House and Senate Rules committees to introduce HB 80 and SB 29 respectively.
Cruise industry officials and a state-selected science advisory panel have said water treatment technology will not exist by 2015 at an economically feasible cost that would treat water to meet water quality standards at the pipe. However, they’ve said if the pollution is diluted into a mixing zone the standards can be met with the wastewater treatment systems already on board Alaska-bound cruise ships.
At six knots and faster pollution from ships onboard blackwater and graywater systems is diluted to meet state and federal water quality standards within seconds of discharge, according to the Science Advisory Panel’s preliminary report.
“…acute and chronic exposures would not occur” to humans or wildlife, the panel reported.
This reduction in water quality standards is what the cruise industry has said is needed to give it long-term regulatory certainty. Opponents say loosening discharge requirements will harm Alaska’s seafood market, the health of its residents and its image as a pristine state.
The non-profit environmental group Campaign to Safeguard America’s Waters introduced a successful citizens initiative in 2006 that set up new tax and water quality requirements for cruise ships in state waters. Ballot Measure 2 mandated $50 head tax, reduced in 2010, funds cruise-related infrastructure improvements to port towns and funds onboard Ocean Rangers who monitor cruise ship discharges in Alaska.
The initiative also repealed Alaska Statute 46.03.462 and reenacted language that stipulates large vessels “may not discharge untreated sewage, treated sewage, graywater or other wastewaters in a manner that violates any applicable effluent limits or standards under state or federal law, including Alaska Water Quality Standards governing pollution at the point of discharge.” It is these last five words Gov. Parnell’s bills aim to delete.
Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Water cruise ship program issued a wastewater discharge permit in 2008 that the Alaska State Legislature deemed too stringent. DEC released a new permit that covered the 2010 through 2012 cruise seasons. It waved the requirement that water quality standards be met at the point of discharge and allows for some dilution into the surrounding water before pollution levels are tested. The 2010 permit also has different limits for ammonia, copper, nickel and zinc depending on treatment system used.
The Legislature also granted the cruise industry an additional six years to incorporate new technologies that allow ships to meet Alaska’s clean water standards.
DEC is currently working on a wastewater permit for the 2013 through 2015 seasons. It expects to release the permit in April.
The governor’s bills have received support from much of Alaska’s business community, Andy Rogers deputy director of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce said during testimony in Senate Resources Committee on Friday.
“In fact it was one of the positions advanced by membership and approved this fall at our legislative priority forum,” Rogers said.
Rogers said the science panel’s finding fit with the state chamber’s position to advocate for regulations based on sound science.
“As opposed to a cautionary method,” Rogers said.
The economic impacts of the cruise industry reach far afield of the docks and ports passengers visit, Rogers said, but they rely on the economic impact and revenues generated and the jobs created in part by this industry.
John Kimmel assistant operations manager for Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska agreed.
“This is basically about jobs,” Kimmel said.
Kimmel said his organization supports passage of SB 29. Kimmel testified during the bill’s hearing in Senate Resources Committee on Friday.
Cruise ships should be held to same water quality standard as all other sources of pollutants, Kimmel said.
“The original initiative held them to a higher standard than everyone else,” Kimmel said. “This fix is going to make it more fair for the cruise lines.”
Kimmel said legislators should consider the science advisory panel’s three years of deliberation.
“I think it is time that we move on and listened to what the science advisory panel has to say and also what DEC has to say,” Kimmel said.
“But it would be under the existing law, the law that we are struggling to meet now,” Larry Hartig Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Conservation said during testimony in House Resources Committee on Jan. 25.
Earthjustice and CSAW sued the state to force DEC to re-write its 2010-2012 permit. CSAW Project Director Gershon Cohen permit violates Alaska’s existing Clean Water Act standards. The Superior Court of Alaska sided with the plaintiffs in May of 2011.
“The cruise ship discharge permit failed to require the ships to use the best available technologies to reduce the levels of pollutants in their discharges as required by the law...,” Cohen said in a 2012 press release, “...or to perform any economic analysis to demonstrate why full compliance shouldn’t be required.”
At the point of discharge means measuring water quality while the effluent is still in the pipe in the ship.
“It has to be drinkable. You have to be able to swim in it. Fish would have to be able to live and thrive in it and all the microorganisms,” Commissioner Hartig said.
Cruise wastewater treatment did relatively well at meeting water criteria, Hartig said. Water met standards for all by four pollutants – ammonia and dissolved copper, nickel and zinc, he said. Cruise ships do better by and large than shore based facilities. But these ships were still not consistently meeting water quality standards in the pipe. Hence the passage of House Bill 134 in 2009 that temporarily removed the at-the-point-of-discharge requirement as long as ships used the best available water treatment technology that is economically feasible.
Testing at the pipe will resume in 2015 if neither HB 80 nor SB 29 pass. With testing at the point of discharge permanently removed, Hartig said, cruise ships will be held to the same standards as on-shore treatment facilities.
House Bill 134 established a Science Advisory Panel that would create a report to the Legislature on the effectiveness of current onboard wastewater treatment systems, the effectiveness and cost of new technology and the environmental benefits of requiring the cruise industry to adopt advanced technology. The panel met more than a dozen times in person and telephonically from 2010 to 2012. Panel members met most recently in Sept. 2012 in Juneau.
The panel’s preliminary report, with which DEC concurs, finds that new technologies would not create a significant difference to pollution levels at the point of discharge. The report said water quality discharge levels can only be met currently through mixing zones that travel down the side of the ship and churns up pollution in the trailing wake.
The panel’s preliminary report gave passing grades to the cruise industry’s current technology.
“The advanced wastewater treatment systems, the ones incorporated on the ships in 2004, are the best available technology,” Hartig said. “You can’t go out there and purchase something to put on the ships that is better.”
However, not all panelists agree with the group’s preliminary findings.
During public testimony in House Resources and Senate Resources Committees on Friday Auke Bay resident and Science Advisory Panel member Michelle Ridgeway said she disagreed that Alaska needed to soften its water standards. To do so now, she said, would threaten to disrupt a potential balance between the cruise industry and Alaska’s environment.
Ridgeway said she was speaking on her own behalf. She said work on HB 80 and SB 29 is premature.
“Because it appears that technologically and scientifically we are arriving at … balancing a great industry with sustaining our marine ecosystem,” Ridgeway said.
“We are getting close to finding success.”
Though only preliminary, the panel’s findings have propagated through state recommendations, she said.
Ridgeway said serving on the panel was a great honor. However, the decision by her fellow panel members to recommend mixing zones with current wastewater technology forced her to submit a letter of dissent to the DEC Commissioner Larry Hartig, she said.
During testimony Ridgeway said weakening water quality standards could do harm to Alaska’s fishing industry.
“We have a tremendous environment to make a stand for,” Ridgeway said. “And Alaska always has. We fight farmed salmon, we fight Franken-fish we fight anything that might impact salmon, salmon industry and our fish and wildlife as a whole.”
Water quality standards for cruise ship effluent include the regulation of ammonia, copper, lead, nickel and other metals.
Also to offer public testimony on Friday was local tour operator Bob Janes.
“I’m not an expert in this topic,” Janes said. “But I am in this business. I am going to send my kids to college on what this business has done for me.”
Janes said he turned to the expertise of the Science Advisory Panel to decide how he felt about the issue. He said he recommended legislators listen to the panel’s recommendations as well.
Joseph Sebastian has fished in Southeast Alaska for 35 years. He said the bills were bad for fishing.
“News flash. The biggest industry employer in the state of Alaska is the fishing industry,” Sebastian said. “Our industry’s whole claim to clean, pristine waters and inlets has to have a foundation in reality and science and in public perception.”
Sebastian said changing discharge requirements would compound stresses already affecting the world’s oceans – such as ocean acidification.
“And now we want to weaken and take a step back on our oceans,” Sebastian said. “This bill … is a slap in the face of thousands of Alaska’s fishing families.”
Chip Thoma of Responsible Cruising of Alaska testified that his organization recommends the state require cruise ships to dump waste in federal offshore waters – over three miles from shore.
“That would be the preference,” Thoma said.
Barring that, ships should discharge into municipal wastewater systems while at port, Thoma said. Some ships do not have the capacity to store wastewater until in federal waters. Princess Cruise Lines fleet already discharges some waste into the muni system while in port in Juneau, he said.
“We can’t handle solids” like grease, Thoma said. “But basic wastewater is fine.”
New technology will save the day for the cruise industry and Alaska’s environment, Thoma said.
Juneau’s proposed 16B panamax cruise dock slated to built in 2014 is designed with four wastewater hook-ups linked to Juneau’s water treatment, Thoma said. At least four ships a day could offload effluent while at port, he said.
Ship builders have also adopted the use of plastic water piping in ships.
"The best news for the cruise industry is that ship builders are not using copper pipes anymore,” Thoma said.
2013-01-28/cruise-ship- wastewater-standards- testimony-heard#.UQhpur88CSo