March 16, 2014

Come and speak at McLoughlin Public Hearing Thursday!
- Sign: petition to demand review of CRD sewage plan
- Send: in your letters!

Atwell on CFUV Radio
CRD Sewage chair Young on CFAX
CHEK: unanimous CRD approval of Colwood's Sewage Plan
Colwood's Baxter on CFAX
CRD Engineer Cowley on CFAX
The RITE Plan's Youtube Channel

News stories:
Editorial: Say yea or nay to sewage plant
Seaterra sees ‘irreconcilable gulf’ in plan for sewage plant
Colwood free to go it alone on sewage, except ...
CRD sewage sludge pipeline route unveiled
CFAX Poll for Wed March 12
Colwood gets ‘go’ for own sewage plant

CRD should adopt tertiary treatment plan (Bickerton)
Put sewage plant on Trial Island (Robinson)
If sewage incinerated, pipeline is redundant (Rose)
Seaterra working to address concerns (Sweetnam)


Come and speak at McLoughlin Public Hearing Thursday!

Thursday, Mar 20, 7pm
Archie Browning Sports Centre1151 Esquimalt Rd. (Location on map)

Come and speak to council. Everyone welcome, not just Esquimalt Residents.

There is no limit on speaking time.

Visit to learn more about the rezoning issues.


Sign petition to demand review of CRD sewage plan

The communities have created a petition that we are sponsoring:

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


- Click here to send letter to Focus


Audio-visual news:

Atwell on CFUV Radio

Richard Atwell
Mar 10
Was on CFUV Radio at 5pm with Chris Cook today talking about The RITE Plan and the current state of the SeaRD sewage project:

Chris is a great host and his show, Gorilla Radio is entertaining:


CRD Sewage chair Young on CFAX

Geoff Young was on CFAX today 11 March with Terry Moore who asked a series of really great questions:

Young argued that Colwood will probably need to use CRD as a backup. Why is that? CRD gets to use the ocean as a backup in the event of a failure and isn't relying on a pipeline to Vancouver or Seattle.

This is mostly an MoE obstacle but think about Kelowna's it the lake their drinking water comes from? Based on that you need redundancy to ensure you don't need to discharge without enough treatment.

We have to protect the environment, no mistake about that. What's under debate is how to do it and how it can be done and if your view is always "the glass is half empty" you will NEVER innovate. Even copying others who have innovated would be enough.

But CRD Directors are locked into the advice of their staff who have never wavered from their vision. If they say it can't be done, then you at least need a second opinion and in the case of Sweden they had to fire all the staff involved in order to innovate (or so it is told).

Fact: Dockside has been running non stop since 2008 and if you did have to use a backup it's a temporary thing, almost like a rain event.

Dockside was kick stared by diverting City of Victoria sewage into the plant and since then they've turn it off once when MoE required them to install a metering valve.

And Isn't the CRD building in a lot of capacity for the future anyway? Let Colwood pay a metered rate for the short term in the rare case they need to discharge into the CRD pipe. That's what Dockside does, problem solved.

Young also complains about Esquimalt not meeting soon enough to deal with the public hearing because they have budget meetings and holidays of councillors to accommodate:

Well, only CRD is to blame for this. Reading Esquimalt Planner Bill Brown's letter it's crystal clear...

Esquimalt was ready last Fall but Young and the other directors at the sewage committee table screwed around with the issue of barging and other things AFTER staff had negotiated with Esquimalt and created the situation that exists today. In the blame game that the CRD has a lot to account for including basic accountability for recent history.

Young also forgets to mention that locations have to be booked and the Local Government Act requires that the CRD advertise the meeting in advance through newspapers.

On the question of doing it cheaper (aka The RITE Plan), Young deflects to the anti-treatment crowd which is an easy target when you have a federal 2020 deadline.

And losing the money? C'mon. Three Ministers have promised it's not at risk.

My favourite line (18m04s):

"Shouldn't we be looking ahead to the future a little bit...".


CHEK: unanimous CRD approval of Colwood's Sewage Plan


Colwood's Baxter on CFAX

Michael Baxter, Colwood Director of Engineering was on CFAX with Terry Moore last Friday (March 7th) to describe the project and process of moving ahead with its own sewage plant:

CRD Engineer Cowley on CFAX

Here's the Frank Stanford interview with CRD Engineer Malcolm Cowley from this morning:

Malcolm is very professional and in a tough situation. Malcolm is a pleasure to engage whenever the CRD has an open house...

RITE Plan's Youtube Channel

Frequently updated with the most vital and interesting snippets that show the best and the worst of the CRD's sewage planning process


News stories:

Times Colonist editorial below ignores all of the concerns that were related to the bylaw raised at the public hearing. The list of requested items additionally relate to the application such as sending in the WRONG Tsunami report which the public raised at the public hearing.

Do health and safety and common sense get figured out AFTER you give a bully permission to build in your community? Seems unwise to me.

The letter sent by Esquimalt says that the requests "are an expeditious means of addressing the Township development approval..."

Back to the editorial:

"If the CRD chose the second option, it would need no further approvals from Esquimalt."

Wrong - CRD has no development permit to build.

The $1m/mo is also bogus and misleading number. It's like saying you are going into debt because of your car payments while ignoring your income.

Add up ALL of the estimated costs and then we can understand the impact and it's far less than $1m/mo.

Editorial: Say yea or nay to sewage plant

MARCH 11, 2014

Esquimalt council needs to put an end to the torment of the sewage debate. On April 7, councillors have another chance to vote on the McLoughlin Point treatment plant. They can approve it or reject it, but whatever they do, they must not find another reason to delay it.

Esquimalt councillors are doing their best to defend the interests of their municipality, but by bending over backward to give plant opponents a say, council is costing taxpayers money and putting off the inevitable.

Councillors have already voted on the treatment plant. Last year, they held public hearings and passed a bylaw to permit a sewage plant with certain conditions, some of which presented problems for the Capital Regional District. Negotiations led to revisions that are now up for public hearing.

In the midst of the hearings, the municipality’s latest move is a letter to the CRD asking for 10 letters and other pieces of information, including a third-party assessment that must address 15 points. The answers are to be submitted before the next round of public hearings on March 20.

The CRD is asking for permission to extend the plant as much as four per cent into the 7.5-metre shoreline buffer and to increase its allowable height.

The list of questions, however, includes a third-party review of the planned six-metre-high tsunami wall, information on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in secondary treatment plants and a third-party assessment of the impact of Colwood building its own treatment plant.

Mayor Barb Desjardins said the request for information is going to the CRD because people had questions. But most of the questions are about the details of the sewage project that have nothing to do with the setback or height variance. They are issues that should have been dealt with at last year’s rezoning debate.

Council held two days of hearings on Feb. 18 and 19. More hearings are scheduled for March 20 and, if necessary, March 22. That means council would vote on April 7, which would put the project two months behind schedule and cost regional taxpayers an extra $2 million.

It is satisfying for people to speak in a public forum, but the purpose of the hearings is to give council input in its deliberations, not to provide catharsis for resentful residents. The Esquimalt speakers are turning the hearings into a debate on the entire sewage plant, something on which council has already voted.

No one wants a sewage plant in their backyard, and residents of the other municipalities understand that Esquimalt voters think the CRD is trying to dump the worst parts of the project on them. Perhaps Esquimalt councillors are regretting their approval of the rezoning. If they can’t stomach the thought of a treatment plant, they should simply reject the application.

A rejection by Esquimalt would leave the CRD with two options: Ask the provincial government to overrule Esquimalt’s decision, or issue a new request for proposals to build a plant that would stay within the permitted footprint and wouldn’t encroach on the buffer.

If the CRD chose the second option, it would need no further approvals from Esquimalt. However, it doesn’t want to go that route because the smaller footprint would be more expensive and leave less room for innovation; it would need pumps instead of being able to use gravity to move the sewage.

Brenda Eaton, chairwoman of the Seaterra commission, wrote to the CRD board last week urging it to consider “moving this issue to a forum where a resolution can be reached” — going straight to the provincial government.

Esquimalt councillors have fought valiantly, but they must not delay a decision any longer.


Seaterra sees ‘irreconcilable gulf’ in plan for sewage plant

MARCH 10, 2014

Esquimalt held a two-evening public hearing Feb. 18 and 19, but still had people wanting to speak.  Photograph by: DARREN STONE, Times Colonist

After months of delays, officials are increasingly looking toward the legislature for help in getting Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point rezoned for a sewage treatment plant.

“Given there seems to be an irreconcilable gulf between the parties, and that timely conclusion is appearing more and more remote, we respectfully suggest the CRD consider moving this issue to a forum where a resolution can be reached,” Brenda Eaton, chairwoman of the Seaterra commission, said in a letter to Capital Regional District board chairman Alastair Bryson.

“We completely understand that this is a decision for the CRD and not the Seaterra commission, so wish only to highlight that we will not be able to achieve the mandate the CRD board has given us with these ongoing delays,” the letter says.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said the only other forum available would be for the CRD to appeal to B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak to dictate a solution.

Desjardins called the letter “unfortunate,” saying she doesn’t believe “an irreconcilable gulf” has developed. “I think Brenda’s got it wrong. We’re going through the regular process that any municipality would. We have not completed our public hearing, and to make any statements like that at this point would not be accurate,” Desjardins said.

“Just by the fact we’re in this [hearing] process means everything is open and we’re listening.”

Victoria Coun. Geoff Young, who chairs the CRD core area liquid waste management committee, said the CRD board has clearly indicated it does not want to appeal to the province for help until the Esquimalt zoning process has been completed. Seaterra, the civilian commission charged with delivering the $783-million megaproject on time and budget, is aware of that but is concerned about the cost of further delays, Young said.

Seaterra has said each month’s delay adds $1 million in cost to the project.

Young said there probably are a variety of avenues the CRD could pursue, including legal action, arbitration or mediation.

The committee is to discuss the letter Wednesday.

The CRD has been seeking to locate a $230-million sewage treatment plant at the site of a former oil tank farm at McLoughlin Point since January 2013.

The site is zoned to allow wastewater treatment, but the CRD is seeking encroachments — a maximum of four per cent— into a 7.5-metre shoreline buffer. The CRD first submitted a rezoning application to Esquimalt last January. Following public hearings in July, the municipality passed an alternative rezoning bylaw and began working with CRD staff to develop an amenity package.

Esquimalt held a two-evening public hearing Feb. 18 and 19, but still had people wanting to speak. The hearing will recommence March 20, with a second session March 22, if needed. Esquimalt council is not slated to make a decision on the application until April 7.


Colwood free to go it alone on sewage, except ...

MARCH 10, 2014 

There’s no reason why Colwood shouldn’t be allowed to explore going on its own for sewage treatment, as long as other municipal partners’ interests are protected, says Geoff Young, chairman of the Capital Regional District’s wastewater committee.

“We have to leave our taxpayers whole,” Young said. “If they can get the approvals, if the province is good with it and if it’s not costing us any more, then there’s no particular reason why they shouldn’t be able to do it. But those are tough conditions.”

Getting the necessary approvals to build and operate its own tertiary treatment plant by 2016 would be a long and complicated process for Colwood, CRD staff say in a report to be considered by CRD directors Wednesday.

CRD staff are recommending that the region support in principle Colwood’s application, but only the municipality can get assurances from the province by the end of this year that going it alone won’t jeopardize existing funding agreements that have senior governments paying two-thirds of the estimated $783-million cost of the current sewage treatment plan.

In addition, CRD staff recommend a number of other conditions that would have to be met by Colwood by the end of 2015.

The current liquid-waste plan permits effluent discharge at only three places: Clover Point, Macaulay Point and McLoughlin Point. Colwood’s proposed tertiary plant would discharge treated effluent into the ground for uses such as irrigation.

Getting provincial approval for ground discharge wouldn’t be easy, staff say, and would require completion of an a complex series of environmental and technical assessments that could take more than two years to complete.

The province might also require Colwood to retain a connection to the CRD sewer infrastructure as a redundancy in the event of an emergency. As such, Colwood would have to negotiate a funding formula with the CRD to keep that capacity open, the CRD staff report says.

With only about 25 per cent of Colwood residents on the sewage system, and the rest using septic tanks, the municipality argues that it makes more sense for it to take a modular approach to sewage treatment — building capacity as needed.

The preferred location for a tertiary treatment plant would be under the parking lot at the transit exchange near the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre.

Colwood’s current proposal is long on optimism and short on specifics.

In a question-and-answer sheet, the municipality says it has the resources to build and operate its own plant but it doesn’t provide any details of what those costs would be.

Colwood chief engineer Michael Baxter said that while the city has seen a number of different estimates, costs haven’t been nailed down.

“We’re not going to go out and do all of the work necessary to come up with the different solutions in detail until the CRD board has said: ‘Yes, we recognize that this is a good solution. Colwood, go ahead and try it,’ ” Baxter said.

Colwood’s background material says the plant would be publicly owned and operated by city employees.

Colwood also maintains that the funds it has contributed to the CRD project to date would be retained by the CRD. The municipality says it would not seek a share of the two-thirds funding the CRD is receiving from the federal and provincial governments for the regional sewage-treatment program.


CRD sewage sludge pipeline route unveiled

Victoria News
 Mar 11, 2014 at 5:00 PM

The Capital Regional District's Seaterra program unveiled its chosen route for a sewage sludge pipeline between the project's two major proposed sewage plants today.

The sewage conveyance pipeline would run from a wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point through Esquimalt, Victoria and parts of Saanich to a biosolids plant at Hartland landfill. Interurban Road would be the most affected major roadway during construction.

The pipeline route, which requires the installation of 18 kilometres of underground pipes in both directions, will run entirely within existing right-of-ways for the three municipalities, according to a Seaterra press release.

An Environmental Impact Study for the conveyance pipe will be completed in the coming months, the release stated.

Upcoming information sessions for nearby neighbours are being organized and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Pumping stations are also required to pump the sewage uphill to Hartland. Locations being considered include:

Grange/Portage Road at the Trans-Canada Highway
Interurban Road near the BC Hydro Substation
Wallace Road at West Saanich Road
Willis Point Road across from Hartland Landfill

See the pipeline map and press release:


CFAX Poll for Wed March 12

"Should Colwood be allowed to build its own sewage plant?"

85% Yes
14% No

I guess polls really are only accurate +/- 14%. :-)


Colwood gets ‘go’ for own sewage plant

MARCH 12, 2014

Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton: Decision "allows us to move forward in a way that is better suited for Colwood."  Photograph by: BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist

Colwood has the green light from the Capital Regional District to test the waters for building its own tertiary-treatment sewage plant.

A city-owned site at what is now the B.C. Transit park-and-ride at Ocean Boulevard, next to the Juan de Fuca recreation complex, is being considered, said Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton.

“We own the land already so there’s no cost outlay on that. It would be largely underground with an above-ground component.”

The CRD’s liquid waste management committee was unanimous in giving approval in principle to Colwood on Wednesday, and the CRD board was also supportive.

Hamilton called the go-ahead “just a first step.”

“It allows us to move forward in a way that is better suited for Colwood,” Hamilton said. “But it’s a long time to go yet. We’ll be rolling up our sleeves and getting at it.”

She said that in Colwood, which has about 5,000 homes and 17,000 residents, “we just don’t have the numbers” to get the full benefit from being part of the planned $783-million regional secondary-treatment system. About 1,000 Colwood homes are on sewers and the rest are on septic.

Hamilton said an independent approach would allow Colwood to take a more gradual approach to increasing capacity and design a plant that suits its needs.

“This will be a modular system that will hook in and deal with as much as we’ve got to put into it, right at this point.”

She noted Colwood’s two biggest developments are multi-phase initiatives — the Capital City Centre and Royal Bay projects — with completion targets of 15 to 20 years.

Cost estimates are still being worked out, Hamilton said.

“It would all depend on where do we put it, what are we hooking into.”

While the switch for Colwood could cost the average household in the region about $16 per year in the short term, there will be an ultimate gain, Hamilton said. She said taxpayers outside Colwood will be spared paying for a share of a West Shore plant, which the regional plan anticipates being built in the 2030s.

“When it comes time to build that second plant, it will already be here,” she said.

“Taxpayers will save an estimated $245 each year in future costs, creating a net savings of thousands over the long term.”

Total savings would be about $5,750 per household, according to Colwood’s report on its sewage proposal. The plan would also add four to five years of life to the regional plant at McLoughlin Point, it says.

Hamilton said Colwood still shares the regional vision for dealing with sewage.

“We’re still part of the concept of treating sewage. We’re just doing it in a different way.”

She said the Colwood plant could be ready some time in 2016. The regional system is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

Rather than an outfall, the Colwood plan calls for treated effluent to be discharged into the ground, said municipal engineer Michael Baxter.

He said it will be a long process to determine what is economically feasible and what is ultimately allowed.

“If what we propose doesn’t work in the end, then there is no loss to anybody in the CRD except Colwood,” Baxter said.



CRD should adopt tertiary treatment plan (Bickerton)

MARCH 16, 2014

I really cannot understand why the Capital Regional District directors are still supporting the Seaterra secondary sewage treatment plan when it is obvious that it is a costly mistake.

McLoughlin Point is too small and is in a dangerous tsunami zone. The Seaterra plan has an expanding billion-dollar price tag that will still be polluting the Juan de Fuca Strait upon completion.

Using proven new technology, the CRD can build a dozen modular tertiary treatment plants and place them near hospitals, colleges and other high-density buildings on higher ground before 2018.

In Victoria, a few tertiary plants could be hidden underground with affordable city parking above. The heat used in purification could supply warmth for temporary homeless shelters during the winter. Bike and rapid transit lanes could follow the pipeline path as it weaves its way to connect with the West Shore.

If it really is costing a million dollars a month to delay, pay Seaterra a million to go away. Use a plan that has a financial return and much of the costs can be reclaimed from the byproduct process. The municipalities should own the computerized plants and staff them with trained personnel who can adapt, modify and rectify errors immediately.

Taxpayers are being forced to spend their money and senior governments are paying two-thirds of the bill. It is the CRD’s responsibility to insist on a tertiary treatment plan that has the very best return.

Art Bickerton


Put sewage plant on Trial Island (Robinson)

MARCH 16, 2014

Re: “Colwood gets ‘go’ for own sewage plant,” March 13.

With Colwood going alone with its own sewage treatment plant, isn’t it time to look at further options for the rest of us?

Trial Island is only 500 metres off the Oak Bay shoreline, and even though part of the island is an ecological reserve, there is still a large tract that could accommodate both a wastewater treatment plant as well as a resource-recovery centre.

With a Trial Island location, everything is together as it should be, with no need to run an 18.5-kilometre pipeline from McLoughlin Point to the Hartland landfill. And then there would be no need to run a 600-metre sewer line under the entrance to the harbour from Ogden Point to a proposed treatment plant at McLoughlin Point.

In some cases, the direction of sewage flow would be reversed, and it could be piped under the harbour at Bay Street until that bridge is upgraded or replaced. Then the pipeline could be suspended under the Bay Street Bridge, just as they are proposing to do at Tillicum over the Gorge, and send it on its way to Trial Island. After treatment is completed, the water could be discharged from the south end of the island.

Dennis Robinson


If sewage incinerated, pipeline is redundant (Rose)

MARCH 16, 2014

Re: “Street by street: Sewage line chosen,” March 13.

It seems to me that once a decision is taken to incinerate the waste, this obviates any transfer to the Hartland landfill and makes the 18-kilometre pipeline redundant.

There are really only two choices these days for treatment: filtering, drying and incineration, or tertiary treatment with molecular filters. The initial Capital Regional District option of spreading on the land is long recognized as unacceptable; the only choice they have at this stage is incineration. The incinerator must be located as close as possible to the primary treatment, whether it is Esquimalt or not, to minimize cost and the risk associated with a pressurized pipe of biohazardous material. Ideally, the whole treatment plant from raw sewage to treated water and compacted solids should be on one site.

Colwood has taken the appropriate course, and this could well be followed by the various municipalities taking ownership of their waste and treating it in local modular plants within their own boundaries.

Environmental constraints will be the same for incineration regardless of the site; Hartland offers no advantages. What little ash is left over can be shipped to a secure landfill or completely destroyed. The pipeline is not needed.

Tony Rose


Sewage system should have redundancy (Stocks)

MARCH 16, 2014

Re: “Unclog delay on sewage, CRD urged,” March 11.

The article states: “The province might also require Colwood to retain a connection to the CRD sewer infrastructure as a redundancy in the event of an emergency.”

Many Capital Regional District residents are concerned about the lack of redundancy in the Seaterra design. The CRD has investigated redundant systems and concluded that redundancy would require “significantly higher capital and operating costs.” If redundancy would be a bad idea for Seaterra, why would it be a good idea for Colwood? On the other hand, if redundancy would be required for Colwood, why should it not be required for Seaterra?

Redundancy costs money, but it can save enormous amounts of money and environmental damage when the inevitable problems occur. Just ask the people of Halifax about the extra costs when their monolithic sewage treatment plant was knocked out of commission. If Halifax had built two plants that could back each other up, the city would have saved millions of dollars and months of pumping raw sewage into its harbour.

The only way the CRD can claim that the Seaterra design is cheaper is by ignoring the financial and environmental costs of an emergency.

The CRD needs at least two treatment plants that are connected, so they can continue to operate when an emergency arises.

David Stocks


Seaterra working to address concerns (Sweetnam)

MARCH 12, 2014

Re: “Esquimalt doing what it’s supposed to be doing,” letter, March 8.

The letter accuses me of “taking almost an hour,” forcing Esquimalt to go to a third evening of public hearings.

On Feb. 18, I spoke to Esquimalt council concerning the rezoning of McLoughlin Point and then listened to the rest of the presentations. Many questions were asked and many inaccuracies presented, few of which were on the topic of the actual subject of the rezoning.

On Feb. 19, I signed up to speak, hoping to address these questions. At the beginning of the meeting, the mayor asked me to present and I declined, saying I would rather wait for others who had not had an opportunity to speak. The mayor insisted I go first. Following my presentation, I answered numerous questions from the mayor and council and indeed it did take up more time than was originally intended. However, it was not I who “forced a third date.”

The Capital Regional District has been working with Esquimalt to address concerns regarding the siting of the wastewater treatment plant and first submitted a rezoning application for the site in January 2013.

The CRD has since worked to address issues raised through open houses, community design workshops, presentations and several evenings of public hearings. Since 2006, there have been more than 150 public meetings and consultations on this issue.

The CRD and Seaterra program will continue to endeavour to address the township’s concerns and look forward to a successful completion of this process.

Albert Sweetnam, program director
Seaterra program