January 19, 2014

STAG welcomes you to THE RITE PLAN Facebook page
Sign communities petition to demand review of CRD sewage treatment plan!
Town Hall a great success!
Clover Projects Community Open House 25 Jan
Esquimalt Council gets SeaTerra presentation and huge rezoning application

Atwell on CFAX 14 January
Weaver on CFAX 14 January
Tertiary treatment the right choice says scientist - CTV News
- Panel on CFAX - brief discussion of sewage treatment and Weaver town hall

News stories:
CRD sewage politicians at Weaver event (Atwell)
- Esquimalt Advisory Planning Committee on McLoughlin Plant (Ferri)
Esquimalt seeks go-ahead for new McLoughlin hearing
New CRD sewage czar Young stumbles (Atwell)
Editorial: Storm sewers carry pollution

Esquimalt seeks go-ahead for new McLoughlin hearing

Secondary treatment will remove fibres (Crow)
- Delays an opportunity for sober second thought (Farquharson)
No good argument for sewage project (Smith)


STAG welcomes you to THE RITE PLAN Facebook page

Sewage Treatment Action Group (STAG) welcomes you to the The RITE Plan's Facebook Page. STAG believes that sewage treatment must be done in the best way possible using innovative technologies while minimizing costs and social impacts.

For the details of The RITE Plan visit these sites:

Petition: http://sewagepetition.ca/
Website: http://theriteplan.ca/
Videos: http://tinyurl.com/k46pthf
Twitter: http://twitter.com/theriteplan

In this group we are discussing waste management in the CRD (sewage, composting and garbage) along with water re-use which are all elements of The RITE Plan.


Sign communities petition to demand review of CRD sewage treatment plan

The communities have created a petition that we are sponsoring:


Every signature will be presented in the Legislature by local MLAs.

Please sign!


Clover Projects Community Open House 25 Jan

Saturday, January 25, 2014 - 12:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Sir James Douglas Elementary, Gymnasium
401 Moss Street, Victoria


Esquimalt Council gets SeaTerra presentation and huge rezoning application

Esquimalt Council Meeting Agenda for Monday night (150 MB pdf) includes notice of presentation by SeaTerra and a request for new second reading (with huge staff repor)t on McLoughlin Pt rezoning and related community impact 5 year agreement:



Audio-visual news:

Atwell on CFAX 14 January

Here's the Jan 14th audio clip from CFAX 1070 with Ian Jessop:


In the first have of the show, I play some audio clips that demonstrate how the rug of innovation was pulled out from under the CRD Directors feet.

In the second half, we talk about The Rite Plan and the Town Hall Event later that evening.


Weaver on CFAX 14 January

Andrew Weaver was on CFAX will Al Ferraby ahead of Yesterday's Town Hall talking about the need to get the sewage project right.


Length: 6 mins


Tertiary treatment the right choice says scientist - CTV News

CTV coverage of the Andrew Weaver Town Hall "Towards a better [sewage] plan" with an update on the Esquimalt APC meeting rejection of McLoughlin Pt. setbacks.



Panel on CFAX - brief discussion of sewage treatment and Weaver town hall

Frank Stanford had Don Descoteau from Vic News and Shephanie Sherlock from CTV News on the Fri 17 January 9:30am media panel segment and the topic briefly turned to sewage treatment and Andrew Weaver's Town Hall:


Length: 4m39s

Frank talked about the media not covering Alastair Bryson's inaugural CRD speech that took issue with the parochialism of CRD board members but it's that very thinking that has defined the CRD sewage project from the start limiting innovation, resource recovery, climate action, environmental stewardship, and so on.


"a limited or narrow outlook, esp. focused on a local area; narrow-mindedness."

So it is ironic that this is the criticism coming from the top that will serve to improve the atmosphere at board meetings through 2014 when the status quo will be used to push this sewage project on us.

We can do better than this and we need to tell our elected officials that a $782m secondary treatment system that produces dubious biosolids and flushing chemicals into the ocean is not the progressive solution we require.

If you can't drink the effluent, you shouldn't be discharging it into any water bodies where the fish are "drinking it". That's a land based mentality and not representative of modern ecological thinking.


News stories:

CRD sewage politicians at Weaver event

At last night's town hall meeting with Andrew Weaver, Victoria Councillor and CRD Director and Sewage Committee Chair Geoff Young stood up in the audience to endorse the CRD's sewage plan over our lower cost alternative by somewhat heckling the panel.

In a serendipidous turn, both Frank Leonard and Geoff Young will be the guest speakers at the Feb 3rd, APEG event:

"Can Greater Victoria Afford Its Infrastructure?"

Frank Leonard, Mayor, District of Saanich 
Geoff Young, Councillor, City of Victoria and Principal, Discovery Economic Consulting 
Brian Scarfe, Principal, BriMar Consultants Ltd. and contract Professor of 
Economics, University of Victoria 

"Infrastructure renewal and upgrading – sewage treatment, highway interchanges, bridge replacements, sports facilities and light-rail transit proposals – have been among the most contentious issues on greater Victoria’s political agenda in recent years. Project governance, design, and contracting methodologies are all sources of controversy, but funding arguably is always the biggest issue."


Isn't karma a bitch? For $15 you can register for the event and heckle Geoff Young :-) (no just kidding! please don't but this will be an interesting event all the same)


Esquimalt Advisory Planning Committee on McLoughlin Plant (Ferri)

Filippo Ferri
‎Esquimalt Community Connection FB page
15 January 2013

Yesterday the Advisory Planning Committee (APC) met to discuss a proposal by CRD staff to amend Esquimalt’s Bylaw 2805 for the rezoning of McLoughlin Point for the regions sewage plant. All conditions set by Esquimalt were met except with respect to the allowable set backs from the water’s edge of the property; 2805 stipulates a 7.5 m setback whereas the CRD was asking for a 3.5 m set back and encroachments up to only 1 m from the high water line. They also wanted the allowable building height to increase to 15 m from 10 m.

The APC unanimously rejected the request from CRD and will formally advise Esquimalt Council to do the same.

There was much discussion at the APC on this, taking over 2 ½ hours. Here were some of the common points:

• Members of the APC felt that the Bylaws were being driven by the proposal instead of the other way around (as in all other development procedures). As Joy Palmeter pointed out, if the CRD had waited a few more days to receive Esquimalt’s bylaws before sending out the RFP’s, we wouldn’t be having all these problems with the site. I could name a whole series of other problems, but I would encourage you to visit the RITE Plan website for these.
• Since the RFP is part of a competitive process, the APC was not able to see the 3 design proposals. All the members felt it was very difficult to make a recommendation on the alteration of the bylaws without having the proposals in front of them. They only had a general conceptual model of the plan and had to go on the word of the CRD that the designs are of high quality and acceptable. Considering the status of the CRD in Esquimalt, this latter statement carried little weight.
• The building heights and setbacks being proposed do not fit the Regional Context Statement of the Official Community Plan: The Township’s outstanding natural amenity – its saltwater shoreline – is of regional significance and will be carefully protected through the municipality’s land use and regulatory measures, while allowing for access and enjoyment by the regions residents and visitors.

This issue will now go to public hearing, likely on Tuesday, February 18th before deliberation by council. I encourage everyone to attend this meeting and to voice your opinions on this matter. This project has long term implications for Esquimalt and Greater Victoria.


Town Hall a great success!

Just a very few of the many very positive Facebook comments:

Richard Atwell: Thank you Mat Wright and Andrew Weaver for putting on such a great event. From the equipment to the speeches it was a first class affair.

Beth Burton-Krahn: Thank you Andrew for hosting and moderating such a successful event. What a privilege for The RITE Plan to be invited to take part. And especially thanks to everyone in the audience who came out. You decided not to watch tv, not to surf the internet, not to stay home. You decided to practice your right as a citizen and to partake in the democratic process. The event would not have happened without you! It was standing room only and they were turning folks away. The public is screaming: "Include us in this process."

Deborah Dickson: Fantastic Town Hall Meeting!!

Andrew Weaver: Richard Atwell -  I would like to echo Mat Wright's thanks. You, Chris, and Lisa gave superb presentations and there were many excellent questions and answers.

Mat Wright: Thank you Richard Atwell and everyone from the Rite Plan who came out to the Town Hall tonight with Andrew Weaver - it was a huge success, beat our expectations, and I can say we all had comments from the audience about feeling inspired they can do something! Community action at its best - well done

- Photo below from the Weaver Town Hall "Towards a Better Sewage Plan", 14 January. The room was packed to the legal limit. People were waiting in a line outside to come in. The petition table was very busy.

See more Town Hall news stories below


New CRD sewage czar Young stumbles (Atwell)

Victoria Councillor and CRD sewage chair was in the audience last Tue at Andrew Weaver's Town Hall Event.

The purpose of the event was to explore the concept, technology and means for achieving a better plan not to defend the status quo which Young stood up to do on behalf of the CRD. This was an event to which Seaterra was invited but declined to participate.

Young stated that CRD staff looked at a distributed system in the past (2008/2009) and concluded that it could not be done for less than than the CRD's 4 year old plan.

So, why not submit to an independent review to prove it? This is exactly what Young refused to support when CRD Director Vic Derman motioned on July 10th, 2013 which came to a vote on August 14th and failed.


Directors Blackwell, Brice, Brownoff, Fortin, Isitt, Leonard, Wergeland and Young and Alternate Directors Madoff and Szpak OPPOSED

The question is, if the plan is so solid and the CRD is so confident it's the best plan, what are they afraid of? The answer to that I think is obvious: it's not the best plan; it's an outdated plan and one outcome of the review would be a more realistic estimate of the actual cost.

The CRD doesn't blink an eye to spend $2.5m on sewage PR (actually we did get it to blink but they'll try again at the next CRD Commission meeting), yet they won't spend a fraction of that on a thorough review. That's fishy.

If the Johnson St. Bridge project went from $77 to $93 from referendum to contract signing, imagine where $782m is going to lead...and remember that the funding it capped. Yikes!

Tell your friends and family that we need a review of this project because the CRD won't do it themselves:



Esquimalt seeks go-ahead for new McLoughlin hearing


Editorial: Storm sewers carry pollution

JANUARY 19, 2014

Unless you’re from a galaxy far, far away, you know municipalities in the capital region dispose of sewage by pumping it out to sea. And you’ve probably heard that $780 million has been earmarked for a land-based treatment plant to halt this noxious practice.

But what most of us don’t realize is that even when the new plant is up and running, we’ll continue to dump raw sewage in the ocean — much less, to be sure, but still significant amounts.

The problem lies beneath our feet. There are more than 1,600 kilometres of sanitary sewers in Greater Victoria, and for various reasons, some of them leak like sieves.

Part of the blame attaches to aging infrastructure. In older areas of Victoria, sewer lines were laid down 100 years ago. These are often fragile clay pipes, buried in a common trench alongside storm drains.

When the sewer line decays, the result is cross-contamination. Basically, household waste leaks into the storm drain and ends up wherever that pipe empties — into local creeks and streams perhaps, or straight into the ocean. Either way, the results are ugly.

An area of Willows Beach in Oak Bay was closed to swimming in 2011 when a sewer line collapsed and the effluent leaked into a storm drain.

Some of the culprits are illegal suites, where amateur handymen did the plumbing and mistakenly routed sewage lines into storm drains. Cross-connections of this kind were a leading cause of pollution that overwhelmed the Gorge Waterway in the 1980s.

No one knows how many of these linkages exist, in part because new ones are constantly being created, and in part because owners of illegal suites are understandably close-mouthed when inspectors show up at their door.

In a few cases, municipal sewer lines were deliberately tied into storm drains. In years gone by, this was common practice in urban centres. Most cities, Victoria included, have instigated cleanup projects to remove the problem. But some of these combined sewers still survive in the Uplands area of Oak Bay.

Last, and most troubling, during periods of wet weather, sanitary sewers sometimes absorb rainwater. They’re not supposed to do that.

But when the pipes are old and fragile, it happens. An engineering study in James Bay three years ago provides an example of the potential magnitudes involved.

During a 24-hour downpour, as much as 400,000 litres of rainwater per hectare may flow into the sewage pipes beneath James Bay. Some experts suspect that is an overestimate. But whatever the precise figures are, enormous volumes of rainwater flood the sewers during storms.

The study found this extra pressure can overwhelm the system and cause overflows of human waste into the surrounding environment. Inevitably, some of that pollution reaches the ocean.

Local authorities, of course, are aware of all these issues. The Capital Regional District conducts tests every six months to look for contamination in storm drains.

Aging infrastructure is slowly being replaced, and the new land-based treatment plant will relieve some of the pressure on overtaxed sewer lines.

And Victoria is by no means alone. Every city in the country, to a varying extent, suffers the same problem.

That said, progress is slow. There were 43 instances of high-rated contamination of storm drains in 2011. (“High-rated” means significant amounts of human waste were detected, and the risk of public contact was serious enough to warrant concern.) A year later there were 38 — not much of a reduction.

It would be frustrating (to put it mildly) if we spent $780 million and discovered later that we’re still polluting the ocean.

Build the new treatment plant, if you will. But if we really want to clean up our act, that is just a start.




Secondary treatment will remove fibres (Crow)

JANUARY 16, 2014 03:24 PM

Re: “Plastic becomes marine monster,” Jan. 8.

Every time we do something as common as a load of laundry, thousands of petroleum-based microfibres are washed down the drain with the detergents. Once dispersed into the marine environment via the outfalls, the plastic fibres, and a variety of other clothing fibres, sink and become part of the seabed sediments, or suspend in the water column until bio-fouled with algae and then sink or are consumed by filter-feeding marine life and transferred up the food web.

Microplastics absorb and concentrate other harmful toxins and persist in the marine environment for a long time. Sources of microplastic in the local marine environment include clothing fibre, refuse-site leachate, the breakdown of macroplastics, and many health and beauty products, although manufacturers are starting to phase out plastic “micro beads.”

Secondary treatment will remove nearly 99 per cent of solid waste and sludge from the effluent stream, (about 18 million kilograms a year), and vast quantities of the toxic chemicals and other harmful pollutants that are contained within them. Secondary treatment might not remove all of the chemical pollutants from the effluent, but it will result in the wholesale reduction of many of them, including plastic, processed cellulose and other textile fibres.

Secondary treatment will produce a nearly solid-free effluent, and for the first time in many decades, the deposition of thousands of tonnes of contaminated outfall sediments on our local seabed will cease, a typical example of which can be seen by watching my diving video “CRD sewage outfall pollution in Victoria BC” on YouTube.

Allan Crow
East Sooke



Delays an opportunity for sober second thought (Farquharson)

JANUARY 14, 2014 04:33 PM

Re: “Delays would be costly,” editorial, Jan. 10.

Even after a third reading of the editorial, I was still asking myself: And the point is?

Is it that the number of years in making a project directly correspond to it being a better project? That major construction has yet to start is a negative rather than a valuable opportunity for sober second thought?

“A reckless pace [of construction] is not a good idea”, but a potentially reckless project is OK? That the alleged $1 million in additional cost for each month’s delay is more important than the $1.2 million that will be saved in the completed project’s monthly operating costs?

That consideration of “nervous” companies, “which have already invested millions in the project,” is more important than consideration of nervous Capital Regional District taxpayers about to invest hundreds of millions and be on the hook for any cost overruns?

John Farquharson



No good argument for sewage project (Smith)

Victoria News
Jan 14, 2014 

Why are all our local politicians, municipal and provincial, racing to follow the edict from the bloated bureaucrats and their corporate sponsors in Ottawa, to build an unneeded sewage treatment system?

Why do we have to meekly fall in line and obey their demands? What will happen if we tell them to take their ruling and stuff it?

Those of us who do live here know of the many tests and studies carried out over the past 40 years that have produced absolutely no evidence that the system is necessary.

When was the last time any of our ocean beaches were closed by high fecal coliform counts?

All we have is the whining of a bunch of ignorant urbanites responding to a problem that exists mostly in their fevered imagination, and egged on by the corporate interests who stand to make big bucks from this totally unnecessary project.

However, if someone wants to present a cogent argument for the economic benefits that will accrue from taking our tax money back from Ottawa and recirculating it through the community I will be happy to listen.

Earl Smith