September 1, 2013

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Centralized treatment systems - End of an Era


- Comment: Why better wastewater treatment is necessary (Brownoff)
Changing harbour demands better planning


CRD refused to hear sewage evidence (Burchill)
Water is most important resource in sewage (Dell’Oca)
Rising sea level threatens sewage plant (Gilbert)
- CRD fumbles over sewage plan (Newcomb)




CRD Staff have overestimated the cost of a distributed sewage system by at least $1 billion dollars:

CRD staff have routinely reported that the cost to deploy Dockside Green's tertiary sewage treatment technology region wide would cost $2 billion. Instead, the cost should be on par or less than the CRD's sewage plan and would allow for the reclamation of water instead of wasting it by flushing it out to sea.

This 4 min video demonstrates how CRD staff made the critical error of understating the capacity of the Dockside plant. In the video we go inside the plant and talk directly to Corix Utilities staff who explain what the Dockside plant is really capable of...


Centralized treatment systems - End of an Era

Richard Atwell  9:43am Aug 28

End of an era...

"The centralized model of infrastructure was sufficient to meet the needs of an era characterized by rapid population expansion, cheap energy, and perceived lack of environmental consequences. The new challenge we face is our need for dramatic improvements in energy and water efficiency in the face of climate change.

Reconfiguring our infrastructure towards a decentralized model is the biggest step we can make in this direction—beginning with wastewater treatment."



Richard Atwell  10:27am Aug 28

So the CRD has bought out Maxim's share of its methane to electricity project up at Hartland:

Why? The answer is right in Alastair Bryson's recent letter to Andrew Weaver, "the CRD will be able to reuse all the landfill gas recovered, which will more than offset the energy costs and impacts associated with pumping the sludge to Hartland."

I don't think you can mitigate all the impacts and what about the capital cost of running the pipes and building building the pumping stations and have diesel backup generators that will have to be on stand-by?

But wait a sec, isn't the CRD planning to close the landfill between 2030-2035. Let's say the methane output starts to decline? What do you do then for a fuel source? Top up with your own biogas? Why isn't this being used in the first place with all the promotion of those sludge digesters? Will you have to import fuel from Fortis?

Wake up CRD: start thinking for the long-term instead of just what's politically expedient.

Citizens are continually offended by statements that Hartland is just an idea that hasn't been approved yet when these kind of purchases with a stated intent are taking place.

The CRD Board approved this Maxim buyout and yet Saanich councillors who will have to go to before a public hearing on Hartland are claiming to have an open mind on its selection. Laughable.

Basically, the law (LGA and Community Charter) requires them to state they have an open mind but the regional district model and their participation has totally corrupted the public hearing process at the municipal level.

The Province needs to change the regulations so major infrastructure projects like this aren't built around rezoning bylaws that allow regional districts to buy land/assets, THEN consult the public and then pressure individual municipalities to approve rezoning using the very same councillors that approved the initial purchases in the first place. That's farcical.

I have no doubt that this project if it goes ahead will be fodder for the amalgamation movement setting its sights on the way the CRD chooses to do business.



My comments about the Brownoff op-ed piece below:

- If ibuprofen and triclosan are issue, not mentioned in 2011 Macaulay-Clover Annual Report (;
- federal regulations only apply to TSS/TBOD, not pharmaceuticals;
- VIHA chief of public health Dr. Richard Stanwick has not noted the pharmaceuticals as an issue;
- end of pipe measurements do not imply actual impacts in environment. CRD lacks rigorous environmental impact assessment;
- "removing" chemicals from effluent may just transfer to sludge stream and where does that go?
- if triclosan appears in effluent, isn't it important to reduce those in our human environment first?


Comment: Why better wastewater treatment is necessary

AUGUST 29, 2013
There are many reasons why we must move forward with the wastewater project for the core area, not only to meet the federal regulations and provincial requirements.

Managing wastewater is more than just selecting the technology; it also involves testing and knowing what is in the wastewater.

Did you know that ibuprofen is one of the largest-volume pharmaceuticals in use?

The Saanich Peninsula Wastewater Plant, built in 2000 as a secondary treatment plant, removes 90 to 100 per cent of this chemical during treatment. In some of our studies, ibuprofen discharged at Macaulay Point and Clover Point outfalls has the potential to cause effects in marine organisms. The Capital Regional District is assessing pharmaceutical concentrations at the Saanich Peninsula facility, including ibuprofen and triclosan, a substance found in many personal-care products.

Removal rates with secondary treatment are different depending on the substance. Environment Canada did a risk-management scope for triclosan. Its findings show that secondary wastewater treatment processes are most effective at removing triclosan, with measured removal rates as high as 98 per cent.

Triclosan is an ingredient in many anti-bacterial soaps; it is also found in some deodorants, shampoos and toothpastes. Environment Canada describes triclosan as persistent, bio-accumulative and potentially toxic to marine organisms. There is a heightened concern around the impacts of pharmaceuticals, personal-care products and household products. The new core-area facility has incorporated space for ultraviolet and oxidation treatment, which research is showing destroys many pharmaceuticals and personal care products or trace contaminants of concern.

Resource-recovery opportunities that can benefit us today and are flexible to take advantage of future needs are key. Tokyo reclaims water mainly for flushing toilets and discharging to a river basin for environmental recovery of a river where the flow of the river had decreased. San Diego imports about 90 per cent of its water supply. Its water-reclamation facility will treat up to 136 million litres of wastewater per day for re-use in irrigation, landscaping and industry.

The core-area facility will take advantage of liquid treatment and sludge digestion for higher removal rates of chemicals, but through digestion we have the greatest resource-recovery opportunity, with biogas capture that can be used to fuel vehicles or in heating. We can also take solid-waste material like fats, oil and grease, and pump up the production of biogas.

Treatment is part of the solution to manage impacts from the waste we produce, but we can also help by being more diligent in the personal-care and household products we use. About 23,000 substances are manufactured in, imported into or used in Canada on a commercial scale. I believe the regulators need to assess these products more thoroughly and provide better labelling so we all know what chemicals are in the products we use.

Wastewater treatment is a continuum and it must be built to provide flexibility for the future as regulations or needs change.

- Judy Brownoff is a Saanich councillor and CRD director.


Changing harbour demands better planning

Four items (links below) in September 1 Times Colonist point to how much Victoria's Harbour is rapidly developing and the need for better harbour planning before siting a sewage plant at McLoughlin Point. 

- McLoughlin Point very visible to Ogden Point and larger cruise-ships may have constrained passage to their moorage.

- Victoria Harbour Airport has been seen to need a new harbour safety plan given the developments around harbour in last decade.

- New marina at end of Victoria Harbour Airport landing channel and not far from McLoughlin Point is a significant development

Rising sea level threatens sewage plant (Gilbert)

- Rising sea levels could imperil structures near sea level and demand further analysis.



Brian sent letter of apology for misquoting Fortin because Fortin's recorded comment was "Its a dollar a day...I got four people, thats 25 cents a day to go to the bathroom as many times as I want."

CRD refused to hear sewage evidence (Burchill)

AUGUST 27, 2013

Re: “Keep close eye on sewage plans,” editorial, Aug. 20.

The editorial erred in stating that Capital Regional District decision-makers weighed the evidence, pro and con. In fact, the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee voted not to hear the science and evidence against the sewage plan, of which there is volumes.

Essentially, the same directors on the committee who voted against Vic Derman’s motion voted not to hear that evidence. Instead, some of these same directors justify the plan with such unscientific comments as: “I’ll be able to poop as often as I want to for a dollar a day” (Dean Fortin) and “My 14-year-old son said we should build it” (Marianne Alto).

The editorial also erred in stating that “federal regulations prohibit discharging sewage into the ocean.” In fact, they regulate discharges into the ocean, and their stated objective is “to reduce threats to fish, fish habitat and human health from fish consumption.”

Given that there is no historical evidence that Victoria’s current treatment system has been causing any one of these threats, one has to question why we are being saddled with a billion-dollar project to replace a system that already meets the federal objectives. Is it any wonder that polls consistently show that 65 to 85 per cent of Victorians oppose the plan?

Brian Burchill, chairman
Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment


Water is most important resource in sewage (Dell’Oca)

Re: “Why better wastewater treatment is necessary,” comment, Aug. 29.

Water is destined to become the most important resource in the future. Life demands it. Wars will probably be fought over it, and corporations will want to control it.

So it makes little sense that the Capital Regional District sewage plan is closing the door on the opportunity to recover the water from sewage.

The sewage plan to flush this water into the sea at McLoughlin Point after secondary treatment is not only short-sighted but shows how the CRD still doesn’t understand that discharging sewage effluent into the ocean is a concept from the past and is irresponsible.

We’ve been told we have no sewage system. Why is the CRD dependent on using the ocean? Most cities don’t have an ocean next door.

A previous letter-writer talked about resource recovery of water in Tokyo and San Diego. That highlights what advanced thinking exists elsewhere and serves as a sober reminder of what’s not coming here to the CRD. It’s time for the CRD to get with the times. Affordable tertiary treatment technology exists to purify this water for re-use.

The CRD has been so fixated on meeting the minimum standard of “poop diversion” and pipe dreams of energy recovery that it has forgotten that it’s the water that’s the most important resource in sewage.

Any CRD sewage plan that fails to save this water for future generations will be a colossal failure.

Melanie Dell’Oca


Rising sea level threatens sewage plant (Gilbert)


Re: “Plan ahead for sea-level rise,” editorial, Aug. 28.

Congratulations for bringing the public’s attention to the issues of sea-level rise. The study you mention by Hallegatte was published in December 2010 and it is based on a sea-level rise of 0.4 metres. But try searching for the topic “sea-level rise,” and more recent studies say the sea-level rise could be two metres by 2100. Other studies say it could be six metres.

Two to six metres is significant to Victoria. It is especially significant when we look at the Capital Regional District’s billion-dollar sewage treatment plan at McLoughlin Point. Yes, the CRD plan includes a potential for one-metre sea-level rise, but this is not enough. McLoughlin Point is not very high, nor is it very large.

The billion-plus dollars is at risk of complete failure because it is centralized on this one vulnerable location. Let’s look at a fully distributed system, one that can cost far less and provide tertiary treatment, not just secondary treatment.

Bryan Gilbert


CRD fumbles over sewage plan (Newcomb)

Victoria News
August 29, 2013 

Re: Despite protests, sewage plan marches on (News, Aug. 21)

I’m a sewage plan naysayer simply because the Capital Regional District’s bad sewage plan would replace our low-risk marine treatment with a poorly planned high-risk land treatment system. 

Evidence of bad CRD decisions include the secret purchase in March of a high-risk sludge plant site in the middle of a dense Esquimalt neighbourhood. 

Evidence of CRD negligence includes their refusal to complete an environmental impact assessment under the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act or the federal environment act.

It’s absolutely incredible that an urban-sited mega-sewage plant, hazardous sludge pipelines, and mega-sludge plant don’t trigger environmental assessments.

John Newcomb