December 22, 2013

Atwell interview 16 December, CFAX audio
CRD Public Participation Forecast: PR PR and more PR
Sewage sludge plant bidding opens
Standing-room only crowd in Victoria hears about Clover Point sewage expansion plan
Langford considers moving sewage fees onto water bill

Sewage treatment plan perfect premise for movie (Bickerton)



Atwell interview 16 December, CFAX audio:

Richard: "We talk about the barging of construction materials and the CRD's 
failure to fulfill FOI (Freedom Of Information) requests properly."



Why are we paying Sweetnam $300k/yr who's in charge of this fiasco project yet he just stands there and says nothing and then smirks?

Watch the CRD fail to acknowledge its own guidelines on public participation:

Dec 16, 2013 Clover Point CALUC Meeting
Only 15 property owners were notified of the CRD meeting on Clover Point that took place on Dec 16, ...


CRD Public Participation Forecast: PR PR and more PR

"Through questioning by CRD Director Vic Derman, her (sludge booster Dr. Brown) deception was uncovered and admonished as “completely inappropriate” by the Director. The good news is that when asked directly about Dr. Brown’s status, Chairperson Eaton answered truthfully. The bad news is that Director Ben Isitt felt moved to commend her for answering truthfully and say how “very appreciative” he was. Since when did CRD staff telling the truth to CRD directors begin to warrant public commendation and appreciation?"



The CRD tells Rob Shaw the biosolids RFP will close by the end of 2014: "The civilian commission wants to select one company by the end of 2014".
The public just a week ago was told, Spring 2015. Will the real answer please stand up.

Sewage sludge plant bidding opens

DECEMBER 16, 2013

The messy business of handling the sludge left over from Greater Victoria’s proposed sewage treatment system is now open to bidders.

The civilian commission in charge of building the $783-million sewage project has started the tendering process for a biosolids sludge centre at Hartland Landfill, as well as a separate contract to dispose of the sludge.

Companies can submit bids, including alternate locations, until March 14, 2014. Four bidders will be shortlisted to make final pitches in May, according to the Seaterra commission.

The civilian commission wants to select one company by the end of 2014, begin construction in April 2015 and complete the biosolids sludge plant by July 2017.

In addition to construction, the winning company would operate the facility for 25 years, according to the request for qualifications document. That’s a requirement of the cost-sharing from the federal and provincial governments.

The contract also includes building an 18-kilometre pipe from a proposed sewage treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt.

The treatment process will dump clean water into the ocean and pipe the leftover sludge to Hartland.

Companies can propose a different site, but they would have to already own the land and would be responsible for any rezoning and site approvals, said project director Albert Sweetnam.

Capital Regional District director Vic Derman has called on the commission to explore gasification technology, which could be cheaper, require less land and also handle kitchen scraps and garbage.

However, project staff have called the technology unproven for sludge.

Companies will be allowed to pitch technologies in their bids and provide five examples of their work on projects of similar size to Greater Victoria’s, the request for qualifications document said.

The Hartland plant will process the sludge, but how the sludge is disposed of afterward is part of a separate contract.

Companies may want to truck the processed sludge to a different landfill, burn it as fuel, burn it in a pulp facility or burn it in an incinerator or gasifier, Sweetnam said.

Putting the sludge on land as fertilizer is not allowed, after CRD politicians voted to uphold a ban on the practice in October out of fears it could contaminate local soil.

Seaterra had warned the land ban might mean the CRD needs to spend an extra $38 million to build its own incinerator to burn the sludge.

“We’d only build our own waste-to-energy facility if we get no takers for the biosolids,” Sweetnam said.

Meanwhile, the tendering for the McLoughlin treatment plant is continuing. Seaterra had planned to pick one of three shortlisted companies for McLoughlin by Feb. 28; however, that may be pushed back two months because of a zoning dispute with Esquimalt.

The civilian Seaterra commission has also put to tender a $1.6-million communications contract for the next phase of the sewage project.

That work had been done by local firm Acumen Communications, but Seaterra directors balked last month at direct-awarding a new, larger, contract to Acumen without competition.


Standing-room only crowd in Victoria hears about Clover Point sewage expansion plan

Don Descoteau 
Victoria News
Dec 17, 2013

A public meeting outlining expansion details for the Clover Point pump station had to be an exercise in frustration for anyone hoping to voice general concerns about the Capital Regional District's sewage treatment project.

Attendees at the standing-room only gathering held Tuesday evening at the Fairfield Community Association building were told early on that only the rezoning application for the pump station project would be addressed.

Albert Sweetnam, program director for Seaterra, said later he recognized a number of people from Esquimalt in the crowd, some of whom tried to steer the direction of the discussion to the overall project.

"What I keep saying is the team and myself are not there to debate the merits of the program, we're there to implement the program," Sweetnam said. "The debate is over."

It was the third neighbourhood meeting Seaterra has held on the Clover Point subject, but definitely the largest. From a show of hands, the majority in the crowd were from the immediate area.

They tended to focus questions on elements of the expansion project that would affect the neighbourhood, such as the routing of pipes carrying sewage toward McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt, and the disposition of large trees further along Dallas Road.

A full public information meeting about the Seaterra project in general will be held Jan. 25 in the gymnasium of Sir James Douglas elementary. Not everyone at Monday's event was satisfied with that upcoming opportunity, however.

"That meeting should have been held first, so people would know the context of the (Clover Point) plan," said Elizabeth Woodworth, a member of the Association for Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment (ARESST). "It's putting the cart before the horse."

Earlier this month, Seaterra released the request for qualifications for the Clover Point pump station. The plan is to upgrade and expand the station underground to increase its capacity and direct wastewater through a conveyance pipe – termed a forcemain – underneath and alongside Dallas Road to Ogden Point, then across Victoria Harbour to the treatment plant at McLoughlin Point.

The request for proposals for the pipe project is scheduled for early 2014 and the two jobs would be worked on concurrently, Sweetnam said.


Langford considers moving sewage fees onto water bill

DECEMBER 19, 2013

In what Mayor Stew Young calls a “lose-lose” situation, Langford is considering shifting some of the costs of sewage treatment off property taxes and onto the water bill.

“I know it’s just shifting around money. But we’re trying to make it fair to everybody because the costs [of sewage treatment] are so bloody high now,” Young said.

Young said he couldn’t believe it when he saw Langford residents were facing an estimated 19 per cent increase in their Capital Regional District tax levy largely to pay for their portion of the $5 million a year the CRD is setting aside for sewage treatment.

In Langford, the 19.65 per cent increase — about $37.68 on the average home (assessed at $413,575) — brought the estimated total CRD tax bill to $229.49 for 2014. CRD projections put Langford’s cost for sewage treatment by the time it is built at about $332 per household per year.

Young said his phone has been ringing off the hook since the projected tax increase was reported, “and I’m not getting happy calls.”

Langford councillors this week approved an agreement whereby the CRD will invoice the municipality for the municipality’s costs associated with the Seaterra sewage treatment program rather than levying as part of the CRD tax requisition. The agreement gives the municipality the option of determining how to bill residents — through property taxes, water bills or a combination, Young said.

“We’re just trying to find the fairest way to deal with a real big problem that I’m just not happy with.”

The costs of the $783-million sewage treatment megaproject are to be split equally, with the federal government, the province and the CRD each paying one third. But the federal and provincial shares are capped, and it’s the local taxpayers who are on the hook for any cost overruns.

Meanwhile, local politicians are being told time is money. Last month, CRD directors were warned by the civilian oversight commission that the project was close to falling behind schedule and that every month’s delay adds $1 million to the bottom line.

“It’s almost as if you’ve got a gun to your head. [We’re being told] you have to do this. You have to do that,” Young said.

Young said the CRD should push the pause button on the sewage treatment program until costs to local taxpayers are better nailed down. He said with some of the decisions that have been made — such as the ill-fated $17-million purchase of the Viewfield Road site in Esquimalt for treatment of biosolids — and the possibility that a $38-million incinerator may be needed to dispose of sludge, the project is almost certain to go over budget.

“I think what we need to do is tell the public what this is going to cost and be up front with them,” Young said. “Why don’t we be really transparent and tell the public what you’re really going to pay?”



Sewage treatment plan perfect premise for movie (Bickerton)

Victoria News
Dec 20, 2013 

Someday, there will be a movie made about Victoria’s sewage treatment plant. It will be a comedy that ends as a disaster. The working title will be: “Just Following Orders.”

The premise: A group of politicians are given $1 billion to build a state-of-the-art treatment facility. They follow an outdated blueprint that is a financial and environmental disaster. Due to climate change, the facility ends up below sea level.

Presently, for those who can’t wait for the movie, this performance is ongoing in a Capital Regional District theatre near you.

Art Bickerton