July 27, 2014

Audio-Visual News:
Geoff Young on CFAX
Bateman of Taxpayers Fed on CFAX
- The RITE Plan's Youtube Channel
News stories:
Victoria’s sewage does not pollute Washington shores
- Troubled Waters
Esquimalt action disappoints Oak Bay
- Guernsey: David De Lisle calls for alternative to sea sewage
Saving money on sewage a dream (Bickerton)
Audio-Visual News:

Geoff Young on CFAX
In this CFAX interview Geoff Young states that there is a "Work Stop Order" on the RFP for the bids on Hartland! (at 19m43s)

This represents the FIRST TIME since Esquimalt's April 7th vote that the CRD is not pushing on "full-steam-ahead" with a defunct plan. They are now actually responding to reality!

Now all we need is for someone to turn wastewater into wine! ;-)

Bateman of Taxpayers Fed on CFAX

Jordan Bateman from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation was on CFAX 1070 with Pamela McCall on 22 July to talk about their latest report on the CRD sewage costs for residents and to admonish the CRD for only putting out simplistic out of date numbers:


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:

Victoria’s sewage does not pollute Washington shores

Victoria’s sewage discharge does not pollute Washington shores, according to guest columnist Brian Burchill.

Brian Burchill (president ARESST)
Seattle Times
26 July 2014

WASHINGTON residents concerned about Victoria’s sewage discharge might take comfort in knowing that it’s a treatment system based on research by such august U.S. institutions as University of California, Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology, and the U.S. National Research Council.

The Seattle Times editorial board raised concern about the sewage discharge in a June 17 editorial.Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has written to the British Columbia government demanding an end to the sewage flow, according to an Associated Press news report.

The system’s design is based on “sound scientific evidence” that “sea outfalls allow the sewage effluent to be subjected to the same processes of degradation and oxidation that occur in land-based sewage treatment plants,” according to a 1987 report by Water Research Laboratory.

Such research led the World Health Organization and a British Royal Commission to conclude in 1984 that ocean treatment of sewage is an acceptable, sometimes preferable, practice.

U.S. Congress, overwhelmed with such research and opinion, realized in 1975 that some marine discharges don’t require secondary treatment. Victoria’s is one such discharge. Washington state marine scientists, in a joint study with British Columbia scientists, found no evidence that it fouls our shared waters. They concluded in a 1994 report that “sewage discharges from Victoria have a negligible effect on the shared waters.”

Victoria’s wastewater is treated. Greases and oils are removed, and screening filters out trash items. As per the National Research Council recommendations, a source-control program prevents deleterious substances from going into drains in the first place that, combined with Victoria’s lack of heavy industry, results in concentrations of metals in our discharge being well below EPA standards for drinking water. The million gallons per hour that Victoria discharges is more than 99.9 percent fresh water.

The screens also cause size reduction. Then the final stage of treatment is provided by the ocean, driven by the free, sustainable energy of the tides and currents. The Strait of Juan de Fuca’s strong turbulence and abundance of microbes rapidly disperses the discharge and assimilates it into the marine food chain.

Coliforms from the warm human gut are rapidly reduced, due to the cold seawater and the abundance of predatory microbes, to seawater’s natural background levels, according to a 2000 report in the Canadian Water Resources Journal. These actions, and the high-oxygen content of the strait, prevent Victoria’s discharge from fouling our shared waters.

These rich treatment conditions are continuously replenished by a flow of about 100,000 cubic yards per second that, independent of the tides, sweeps into and back out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The inflow presses against Washington state’s north shore until it’s deflected by Whidbey Island.

A small portion sweeps through Puget Sound and rejoins the main flow north to the San Juan Islands. There, the outflow of the Strait of Georgia southward through the islands forces the current to turn back. It flows westward past Victoria, pressing against the south shore of Vancouver Island as it flows to the Pacific.

Hence, Washington’s discharges into Juan de Fuca Strait and Puget Sound — and British Columbia’s discharges into Georgia Strait — flow to Victoria, not the reverse. This current is so strong and persistent that, contrary to popular concern, it’s extremely unlikely for Victoria’s discharge to flow to Washington’s shores. If it ever did, good luck detecting it because it would be infinitesimally dilute and indistinguishable from all of the other discharges.

The suggested study to measure the effect of Victoria’s discharge on U.S. waters would likely be a waste of taxpayers funds. Wisely spent funds have revealed the much more important issue that, even with a 21st-century respect for the environment, the climate-change disaster is still escalating. Infrastructure and land-based treatment systems contribute to the problem.

Given the facts and evidence, not replacing Victoria’s world-class, low-impact system with an unnecessary land-based treatment system would support the U.S. federal administration’s initiatives to reduce climate change, a stance that green Gov. Inslee’s administration ought to seriously consider.

- Brian Burchill is an engineer based in Victoria, B.C.


Troubled Waters

The debate continues over McLoughlin Point and the Capital Regional District’s Core Area wastewater treatment facility.

Katie Yantzi
Water Canada
July 21, 2014

The Capital Regional District’s (CRD) attempt to build a Vancouver Island wastewater treatment plant has become a bureaucratic debacle as messy as the sewage it is trying to clean up.

In 2006, the province of British Columbia mandated the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee to oversee waste management and make recommendations to the board. Since then, local residents, politicians, academics, and climate scientists have been sharply divided over the CRD’s course of action regarding Greater Victoria’s sewage. The CRD voted in favour of a centralized system of secondary sewage treatment, but critics insist other options need to be investigated, with greater consideration for climate change and resource recovery. Some B.C. oceanographers argue that treatment itself is an unnecessary expense. The region’s sewage is currently diluted and funnelled, untreated, into the deep, fast-flowing currents of the Juan de Fuca Strait.

After the final selection of McLoughlin Point as the location of a future facility, the CRD’s plans came to a standstill with Esquimalt’s refusal to rezone the area so a wastewater facility could be built. The CRD reached out to the provincial government to seek enforcement of the rezoning, but Environment Minister Mary Polak and Community, Sport, and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes refused to get involved. Polak said municipal consensus on wastewater treatment is “not something for the provincial government to dictate.”

Plans for sewage treatment in the region have a long history of political gridlock. Vic Derman, Saanich councillor and CRD director, said that throughout the eight-year process, limited options were considered and seemingly only those that were centralized and built on top of existing CRD pipes. “I made a big push at the start, saying, ‘This should be a wide-open process,’” he said. “We should be looking at maximizing environmental gain and resource recovery in particular, and responding to climate change, and that all ideas should be able to come forward. I don’t think that ever happened in the process.” A preliminary study of the benefits of a decentralized system was conducted in 2009, but Derman insisted that the costs it projected were “way out of line” compared to the actual cost of similar projects in other North American cities.

Many sources close to the project declined to comment or wished to remain anonymous, though supporters of the CRD’s original secondary treatment plan are equally frustrated with the project’s stagnation. “No plan is perfect,” said Thomas Tiedje, dean of engineering at the University of Victoria. “Improvements are always possible, but if you need to treat sewage, you have to make a decision and get on with it. You also need to trust the people you hire.”

Some suggest the political indecision over Greater Victoria’s wastewater management points to issues within the CRD itself. Supporters and critics of the board’s plan spoke to the CRD’s loss of credibility in the public eye. Tiedje believes that bureaucracy is part of the problem. “The CRD has too many small municipalities, too many politicians,” he said, adding that perhaps amalgamation of the Greater Victoria region could help. A source who wished to remain anonymous countered that, regardless of amalgamation, the location of the wastewater treatment plant would still be controversial.

Each municipality is represented in the CRD proportionate to its population, though Derman points out this sometimes results in decisions unfavourable to smaller municipalities. “At times, the majority of municipalities comprising the core area have been against it, but representation on the committee is based on population, and Saanich and Victoria have, between them, nine members. So they can pretty much vote something through just by themselves,” he explained.

“Essentially, most of the members from Victoria and most of the members from Saanich consistently voted in favour of the [McLoughlin Point] project.”

The current plan, as it stands, is back to the drawing board, with the aim of finding a solution that area residents and politicians can agree on. At a CRD meeting mid-June, the decision was made to pursue a multi-pronged approach in finding a solution to Victoria’s wastewater dilemma. The CRD intends to continue to pursue McLoughlin Point through discussions with Esquimalt residents, offering greater compensation and tax breaks in exchange for the site. At the same time, a study has been commissioned to explore other treatment options, such as a decentralized system and tertiary treatment. Seaterra, the body mandated by the province to oversee the sewage treatment plant’s implementation, has put procurement processes on hold, though a spokesperson said they will continue to assist the CRD in planning and siting for the project.

It remains to be seen whether these efforts will bring forth an agreeable option. Esquimalt mayor Barb Desjardins has already told the Times Colonist that the CRD’s recent tax break offer is “insulting.” Derman, however, is hopeful about the prospects of these measures. “It’s a chance for the CRD to regain credibility,” he said. “I’m hoping this is an opportunity for the CRD to get on track […] and do this proposal justice.”  WC

Katie Yantzi is a freelancer and publishing professional living in Toronto. This article appears in Water Canada’s July/August 2014 issue.

Esquimalt action disappoints Oak Bay

Mayor of Oak Bay and CRD Director Nils Jensen and CRD Alternate Director have pushed through a motion to write Esquimalt because it has not accepted the CRD's sewage treatment plant design for McLoughlin Pt.


5. 2014-167 TOWNSHIP OF ESQUIMALT, May 14, 2014 Re Official Community Plan Amendment

MOVED by Councillor Herbert

Seconded by Councillor Murdoch, That Mayor Jensen be requested to send a letter to the Township of Esquimalt noting Council’s disappointment with the Town taking this late action to amend its Official Community Plan to prevent the sewage treatment plant being constructed at McLoughlin Point, which may result in the loss of Federal and Provincial funding for a regional sewage treatment plant.

It was further noted that Oak Bay itself had struggled with placement of the Currie Road pump station within a residential neighbourhood, but in the bests interests of the Capital Region worked hard with the neighbours on the issue, resulting in a station that was acceptable for all.

The question on the motion was then called.

(Councillors Copley, Green and Ney against the motion)
As some may remember from Guernsey's battle against the sewage plant advocates in 2012, Victoria's current system was referenced favourably by the Guernsey Minister Bernard Floquet. Previous article Guernsey does not need to treat sewage fully 


David De Lisle calls for alternative to sea sewage

BBC Guernsey
22 July 2014

Plans to spend nearly £19m on upgrading sewage outfalls is "totally crazy", a Guernsey politician has said.

David De Lisle, Deputy for the West, said the money would be better spent on sewage treatment that met international standards.

The Public Services Department is bringing plans to the States next week to replace the long sea outfall for the Belle Greve Wastewater centre.

The department says the current system meets international standards.

A spokesman said: "The natural dispersion and treatment processes of the Little Russel allow the Island to meet all regulatory requirements for water quality and will achieve equivalent standards as stipulated within the main EU directives for bacteriological levels at bathing waters and beaches.

"The Department believes that this is the best and most cost-effective solution for wastewater disposal in Guernsey."

Extending the pipe, the Belle Greve outfall, is not a sustainable solution in the modern world”

Andy Cummins, from campaign group Surfers Against Sewage, said treatment was the only long-term solution.

Politicians have previously rejected proposals for full sewage treatment, but Deputy De Lisle and Deputy John Gollop think the time has come for it to be reconsidered.

They want the alternative of sewage treatment, including primary, secondary and sludge treatment, to be considered over spending money replacing the existing outfall.

Deputy De Lisle said it was a real test of the States and its commitment to comply with tightening environmental standards.

"We risk damage to our valued tourist industry and the related cruise liner business," he said.

"We have to address once and for all the negative publicity this island has received and we have to address it as quickly as possible."

He said the proposed plan was like "throwing money down the drain".

"Extending the pipe, the Belle Greve outfall, is not a sustainable solution in the modern world," he said.


Saving money on sewage a dream (Bickerton)

Saanich News
Jul 24, 2014

It costs the Greater Victoria Water District $40 million to treat our drinking water. We are very fortunate to have access to the world’s cleanest water. Just turn on the tap and it flows out of sight and down to the sea.

Our hands are sanitized, teeth whitened and we may have popped a few pharmaceuticals to correct a dysfunction. It’s all good.

I have heard that in B.C. there are some water bottling companies that use municipal water, bottle it and sell it.

Has the Capital Regional District ever considered doing this? Imagine a natural, local renewable resource that might actually help reduce taxes.

To take this idea even further, I watch as several local schools have their field sprinkler systems turn on automatically as most Victorians  are still sleeping.

Thousands of gallons of treated water irrigates the school fields. It is an added expense to the School Districts’ budgets using treated water and the taxpayers pay for it.

Yet, we are warned by expensive CRD media ads “to conserve water or a CRD bylaw officer will be at your door.”

If the municipalities were to agree on building greenhouse-style tertiary plants within their municipalities, the potable water could be used for disbursement to school playgrounds and nearby boulevards.

It might reduce the need for some pipeline retrofits and replacement.

The greenhouse facilities could potentially attract eco-tourists, dignitaries and even a few impoverished local taxpayers.

Has this idea been considered as a cost-benefit by Seaterra?

Imagine the Seaterra program actually trying to save money. (I must sweep these ludicrous imaginings from my brain.)

It’s been said, “If you can dream it, you can make it happen.”

I dream of the day when the water, schools and CRD member municipalities might implement a plan that would combine and reduce taxpayer expenses.

Could the CRD actually try to save money, or is the CRD only in the business of spending money? Am I only dreaming?

Art Bickerton