September 7, 2014

CRD SEWAGE NEWS 7 September 
Sewage spill affects Cadboro Bay beach
The high cost of conducting the public's business in private
Presentations at CRD Sewage Committee meeting 10 September

New Saanich candidates are strong contenders (Bickerton)
The sewage treatment conundrum (Goodenough)
Politicians should clean their own backyard first (Kimm)
Mayor Jensen’s flip-flop (Kirby)
The sewage treatment conundrum (Weatherill)
The sewage treatment conundrum (Wartels)
The sewage treatment conundrum (Slater)
CRD/School District wasted water (Bickerton)

Sewage spill affects Cadboro Bay beach

SEPTEMBER 4, 2014 

A public health advisory was posted at Cadboro Bay beach after Tuesday’s heavy rain caused two short outfalls to overflow and discharge about 5,000 cubic metres of diluted sewage in the area.

Two discharges at the outfalls just south of Cadboro Bay beach lasted about 20 minutes and 60 minutes each, said Cam Preece, manager of core area operations with the Capital Regional District’s integrated water services.

Results of shoreline water testing showed higher than normal fecal coliform levels, which can make the water unsafe for swimming.

After consulting Island Health and municipalities, CRD posted public health advisory signs warning people to avoid the water.

The CRD plans to collect more samples today.

The advisory will remain until followup sample results are below the acceptable recreational limit of 200 fecal coliform per 100 millilitres of water.

Two major downpours on Tuesday saw 27 millimetres of rain fall at the University of Victoria, breaking the precipitation record for Sept. 2.
The high cost of conducting the public's business in private

Focus Magazine

The Victoria region’s two largest public infrastructure projects are in deep trouble. The proposed $800 million sewage treatment program had already cost $90 million by the end of June even though the project didn’t have a site on which a central treatment plant could be built. Of that $90 million, $45 million appears to have gone up in smoke, and three month’s after Environment Minister Mary Polak backed Esquimalt’s right to decline hosting a central treatment plant, there’s no political agreement on how to proceed.

Read more here:

Presentations at CRD Sewage Committee meeting 10 September:

- 1) Massimo Bergamini, Principal, InterChange Public Affairs – Federal Funding Agreement for Sewage Treatment;
- 2) Colin Stewart, Stewart McDannold Stuart – Statutory Obligations for Sewage Treatment

CRD Sewage Committee meets 10 Sept with a lot of important items and motions:


New Saanich candidates are strong contenders (Bickerton)

Saanich News
Sep 5, 2014

In Saanich, new candidates with excellent credentials are lining up for the mayor and council positions. They are well educated.

They volunteer, attend public meetings, listen and add their input. If elected, the new public servants will bring their expertise from software engineering, chemistry and intelligent information using the newest technology to the council chambers.

It will be refreshing to see something get done. There will be a reduction of expensive studies to postpone decisions with less reliance on staff to make their decisions.

For example: The latest Capital Regional District sewage study will cost the taxpayer another $210,000 to find other locations for sewage treatment facilities. Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay have to find a solutions in their own backyard. What have they been doing for the past seven years and spending almost sixty million dollars?

Frank Leonard says he knows what is best for Saanich. If he believes in democracy he will have the courage to put the amalgamation question on the November ballot.

If the answer is no to amalgamation, perhaps there can be a more co-operative CRD where each municipality might have just one vote.

Let democracy rule. It is the informed voter who will decide what is best for Saanich.

Art Bickerton
The sewage treatment conundrum (Goodenough)

The CRD’s own ongoing studies show that the marine life along the present sewage outfalls is very vigourous. In fact, it is found that mussels living near the outfalls are about 15 percent larger than mussels living some distance away. We are properly cautioned not to eat these animals because of the risks posed by heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and other toxic materials being absorbed by them from the outfall. But now the CRD proposes spending nearly a billion dollars to remove the marine food source, while leaving most of the heavy metals and other contaminants in the outfall. The removed marine food source will then be treated and concentrated into a toxic sludge to be stored and transported in and around populated areas. These populated areas also happen to lie in a high risk earthquake zone and we now have the added danger posed by the possible spillage of this concentrated toxic material in populated areas. 

Why is the CRD proposing to spend nearly a billion taxpayer dollars to make the sewage disposal situation much more dangerous for human residents, while at the same time reducing a food source for local marine life?

David P. Goodenough, P. Eng.

Jean Randall’s excellent letter in the last edition reminded me that I had yet to put my expectations of the sewage treatment plant (that I am sure at some time will be built) in writing. My expectations are simple: The end products of sewage treatment should be potable water, and fertilizer that will not contaminate the crops it is used on. Done!

Richard Weatherill

Politicians should clean their own backyard first (Kimm)


Re: “Give capital region a say on pipeline: Fortin,” Aug. 28.

I find it interesting that Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin and Saanich-Gulf Islands MP and Green party Leader Elizabeth May have joined forces in their opposition to the proposed Kinder Morgan project. As negatives cannot be proven, it is easy to speculate on the possibility of environmental damage due to an oil spill. The fact that a spill might never occur appears to be irrelevant.

If these politicians are so concerned about environmental damage, perhaps they could explain why the Capital Regional District continues to pump its raw sewage in the sea. This has been a pollution problem for decades and will continue to be so for years to come.

I would think that before climbing onto their high horses on a question of environmental stewardship, they would take the time to clean up their own backyards. I feel sure that being good corporate citizens, Kinder Morgan will take our environment seriously, a lesson these politicians have yet to learn.

Ian Kimm

Mayor Jensen’s flip-flop (Kirby)

The articles and readers’ views in the July/August issue of Focus have done a great service in bringing well-thought-out information and clarity to the subject of sewage treatment and exposing the folly of the present path. So much of what is written and spoken on the subject is too often based on emotion rather than facts. Problems are not solved by back room deals or hastily drawn conclusions—they are solved by taking the steps to define the objective, then deciding on the most appropriate steps to achieve it.

Is the overarching objective to contribute to the overall reduction of climate change? Or is it to dispose of sewage in the most effective manner? Or is it to preserve major related financial grants? If climate change reduction is the most important, then clearly the others are less so, unless they can be achieved in a manner that equals or enhances the success of the first. 

David Broadland’s article provides ample evidence that they do not. This gets to the heart of the matter, namely: Why is treatment necessary? Is it because it is “The right thing to do” based on emotion, political pressure, or sound scientific evidence that the present approach must not continue? Gut feeling and political pressure provide no rational argument for deciding whether to stop or proceed. Scientific measurements, such as water content measurements graded over distance and noted changes with time as Victoria grows, are fundamental to understanding what impact our outflow has. The fact that we may be already blessed with perhaps the most effective disposal system in the world should not be dismissed.

 I do not pretend to know the answer, but I am certain that proceeding without that information is absurd. If and when we find that we need to proceed, that is the time to decide how to do so. It will be the time to renegotiate supporting funding, with a full and persuasive story of what needs doing and why. We should not be seduced into approving an unsound action plan just because we will lose funding we do not deserve. Our present actions do little to convince that senior government funding will be well spent.  

Do we know what components of the sewage are hazardous? Metals? Detergents? Pharmaceuticals? Would it be more cost effective to take action to reduce their contaminating effects at source? So many things, such as paints and solvents, are diverted—what more might be done?

The more I hear about this project, the more I am convinced it is a very costly solution looking for an ill-defined problem. 

Few will argue that there are many other actions that could be taken to mitigate the effects of climate change rather than increasing them. Are the threats of melting ice and rising sea level to be ignored? Are the effects of climate change on growing and providing sufficient food to be denied? Working to minimize these evident threats seems to be more urgent than bowing to unsubstantiated pressures to solve an unquantified local problem.

J. Rory Kirby

Community Sport and Cultural Development’s Resources from Waste (available online) is the strongest call yet from the BC government to close the human waste loop. Urine and fecal matter are topsoil transformed—and need to return to the soil that grows our food. 

David Broadland’s July/August article stated that “doing nothing would be like taking 78,000 average cars off the road for one year compared to the emissions burden attached to the McLoughlin scheme.” That’s if we discount the effluent’s potential topsoil carbon value.

A huge loss of thousands of years of topsoil (sequestered carbon) occurs by sea-dumping our effluent. Clean it up by preventing proliferation of industrial and pharmaceutical contaminants in the first place, then safely return it to farms for topsoil renewal and fertilizer, without fossil fuel. But don’t sea- dump it.

Resources from Waste admits: “The IRM [Integrated Resource Management] model does not include revenues from metals, minerals or fertilizer.” In other words, it hasn’t accounted for the massive topsoil loss and carbon value represented by sea-dumping CRD’s effluent.

Incorporating this value by ending sea-dumping, even CRD’s current plan becomes highly carbon efficient and cost effective. This is true before using the effluent for heat and energy. And that’s a simple add-on with either central or distributed treatment.

Two films deal with contaminant eradication and effective effluent treatment: Crapshoot: The Gamble with Our Wastes (free at and Living Downstream (see

Larry Wartels


David Broadland’s article about the mayor of Oak Bay was well written and although basically based on sewage treatment, the people of this community have many more experiences with this flip-flopping and the council is perhaps as much to blame. 

The issue of secondary suites is one example of what is still being studied, as is the decision to possibly ban leaf blowers. 

The kitchen scrap program, although well intentioned, is truly an expensive white elephant. When we put out a green bin with two or maybe three bags of scraps in it every two weeks and see a very large truck stop in front of the house and hydraulically lift the bin to this truck, we can only imagine the energy that is being used. Of course, this has dramatically cut down on ordinary garbage—to about one bag per two-week period—which requires another large truck to pick up. So there are two big trucks to pick up three or four bags. 

Finally, the deer situation is another example of indecisiveness. The mayor decided to cull 25 deer but then found it cannot be done without traps or CRD funding, so he put this project on the back burner. Now his worship is considering having Oak Bay build its own traps and is urging the CRD to continue with its funding.

Still, the most expensive [flip-flop] for the taxpayers will be the sewage fiasco.

Dorothy Slater


CRD/School District wasted water (Bickerton)

The CRD spends $40 million annually on purifying and conveying the Capital Region’s water supply.

Two or three times each week, the playground at Eagle View School in View Royal  is watered by sprinklers. I wonder how many other schools and parks use our world-class drinking water in the same way. (Imagine how the Third World would view this waste.) The grass should be mowed and then allowed to remain dormant. It will turn green again in the fall. Not watering won’t kill the grass, but watering it is killing the taxpayer and is reducing the disposable income within the local economy. This is a wasteful and inefficient use of taxpayer’s money. 

To continue the waste, we get expensive CRD media campaigns telling us we must conserve water or we could be fined. Doesn’t it make sense that the CRD Parks and the School budgets should also stop wasting water? CRD engineers should be calculating the savings of using water obtained from tertiary-treated sewage.

The Seaterra monster, with its many heads, should be planning for several municipal tertiary plants on public property and on new high-density housing projects.

Voters should be demanding: Turn off the tap and stop using valuable drinking water for parks and playgrounds. Tertiary-treated water is safe to water the boulevards, parks and school properties.

A cost/benefit analysis will prove that the $783 million-plus for the Seaterra secondary treatment project, with its 36-kilometer pipeline to Hartland and back, is a waste of resources, money and water. CRD taxpayers should not be ignoring the Capital Region’s leaking faucet. Before the work commences, we want a written cost/benefit analysis, estimate and a guarantee in writing.

Art Bickerton