March 15, 2015

Another delay in CRD kitchen compost plan (relates to sewage)
Frank Stanford comment on kitchen scraps
Stanford talks sewage with MLA Rob Fleming 
McLoughlinism in retreat?
Sewage treatment pushed back to 2023
Westside residents say quality sewage treatment is more important than price

Better option available for sewage treatment (Maler)
Province needs to assume leadership (Olson)
Get cracking on regional, advanced sewage solutions (Regier)


Another delay in CRD kitchen compost plan
Frank Stanford
February 25, 2015

A committee of the Regional Board is recommending the CRD shelve a request for proposals for the composting of kitchen organics. The Region is under public pressure to get on with finding a site and an operator for composting, because it has already introduced a mandatory collection program, and is paying a premium price to ship organics to the mainland for composting.

But all this is against a backdrop of uncertainty about the ultimate disposal of sewage sludge. 

Some Directors believe the CRD should consider integrating solid and liquid waste disposal, and the Environment Committee has agreed it makes no sense to invest resources in a solid waste program until that question is settled, so a composting operation anywhere in the Capital Region is off the table for an indefinite time.
Frank Stanford comment on kitchen scraps
27 February 2015

The CRD should have paused its compulsory kitchen scrap recycling program as soon as it yanked Foundation Organics' licence and left itself without a place and a contractor to do the recycling. But no, the ideologues insisted the separated collection go ahead, claiming the notion has popular support.

What I hear on coffee row suggests otherwise; no-one has anything good to say about it, and our daily newspoll on the question demonstrate very little support. So here we are, paying extra to have the stuff collected separately from our garbage, and paying extra to have it hauled to the mainland for composting; for the indefinite future.

Now they've slammed the brakes on efforts to find a made-in-Victoria solution to its own composting issue. I cannot disagree with the rationale: why spend a pile of money on composting kitchen waste, if you might end up putting it in the same stream as sewage sludge anyway?

Study both; determine whether they will intermingle to everybody's benefit. And put the mandatory collection on hold while you're doing it.

Mandating the separation of garbage when you've got no place to put half of it is ridiculous.
Frank Stanford talk sewage with MLA Rob Fleming 2 March

Scroll down to find Stanford podcast 2 March, starts at 34 minute mark in podcast:
McLoughlinism in retreat?

In trying to save the McLoughlin Point plan, CRD staff instead shoot it in the foot.

Focus Magazine
MARCH 2016

Eleven months after Environment Minister Mary Polak refused to support the CRD’s effort to force a central sewage treatment plant on Esquimalt, CRD and Seaterra Commission staff continue to spend tax dollars trying to make it happen anyway.

That was evident at a February 18 meeting of the CRD sewage committee. CRD staff delivered a report on the status of the $255 million Hartland resource recovery centre, which was well into the procurement stage when Seaterra was officially paused last July. 

Sewage treatment pushed back to 2023

Bill Cleverley
Times Colonist
13 March 2015, page A1

Tight timeline should allow CRD to meet deadline for federal grants, chairman says

It could be 2023 before Greater Victoria is treating its sewage — three years beyond the federally legislated deadline of 2020 — according to a new timeline adopted by Capital Regional District directors.

“It’s a very tight timeline, but it’s a timeline we’re going to have to maintain if we’re going to hold on to the federal grants,” said CRD chairman Nils Jensen.

“There’s enough flexibility in there that we may be able to complete the project earlier than that.”

It’s hoped the new schedule, agreed to by CRD directors at an in-camera session on Thursday, will meet federal requirements to qualify for a one-year extension on an $83-million PPP Canada grant for a biosolids treatment plant. Without the extension, the grant agreement will expire at the end of this month.

The federal government offered a 12-month extension, but only if the CRD met conditions within a year, including a timeline and having all approvals in place, such as a treatment-plant site.

The CRD’s sewage treatment project has a budget of $788 million. The federal government has committed $253 million, coming out of three pots:
• $120 million from the Building Canada Fund toward the treatment plant
• $50 million from the Canada Green Fund for pipes, pump stations and tanks
• $83.4 million from PPP Canada for a biosolids plant to handle material removed from liquid sewage.

The Building Canada and Canada Green funding have 2019 completion deadlines. Under the existing arrangement, without an extension, the region had until March 31 this year to sign the funding agreement or the funding could be lost.

Jensen, who has been meeting with federal and provincial representatives, believes there is leeway on the grants but said the timeline is extremely tight.

“One of the things that I’ve found in my meetings with both federal and provincial officials is that the provincial officials in their view are much more flexible than the federal system,” he said.

The region’s sewage-treatment plans went off the rails last year after Esquimalt refused the CRD’s request to rezone McLoughlin Point to allow a treatment plant and the province declined to overturn that decision.

Since then, the local governments involved have split into two groups to explore options: a west-side group of Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood, Langford and Songhees First Nation and an east-side group of Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay.

Victoria councillors, updated on sewage treatment options Thursday, agreed that the city’s investigation into treatment options should continue in parallel to the CRD’s.

To preserve federal funding, “we need to have a fully approved plan and site by March 2016,” Mayor Lisa Helps said. “By June 2015, we need to identify sites and to begin costing them. That costing and technical work will be done between June and November.”

Site selection and zoning need to be complete by December, she said.
Efforts to build a sewage plant date back to 2006, when the provincial government ordered the capital region to treat its sewage. Funding from the federal and provincial governments, covering about two-thirds of the anticipated cost, was announced in 2012.
Westside residents say quality sewage treatment is more important than price

Frank Stanford
13 March 2015

A majority of the people who participated in the public consultation phase of planning a Westside sewage treatment solution say "meeting high environmental standards" should be the top priority. Second priority is "keeping costs low".

Download survey results and raw data:

Better option available for sewage treatment (Maler)

February 24, 2015


In his letter of Jan. 14, Jack Hull tries to illustrate my lack of expertise in sewage treatment by asserting that activated sludge treatment is at the core of membrane bioreactor tertiary treatment plants (MBR), as if I did not know that. I as all the RITE plan supporters know, both secondary and tertiary treatment plants use the activated sludge treatment - ie. growing bacteria as the basis of biological treatment, however what sets them apart is the MBR membrane filtration, where the solids, bugs, superbugs, micro plastics and micro fibres are separated from the liquid and this very fine filter (0.04 micron) is missing in the secondary treatment, therefore producing dirty effluent that contains all the bad things that go into the sludge in the secondary treatment process. Furthermore, anaerobic digestion would not remove all these materials from the biosolids produced, whereas gasification would.

It seems that Mr. Hull erroneously talks about contaminant removal with ultraviolet light disinfection at the secondary treatment plant, while an educated amateur like me knows that ultraviolet lights can be used for disinfection with much less efficiency with secondary effluent because high level of suspended solids will muck up the UV lamps. UV or ozone disinfection in secondary treated effluent will not remove heavy metals, dissolved toxins, pharmaceuticals, micro plastics, micro fibres etc. that the secondary system will discharge into the ocean.

I am a biochemist with experience in microbiology while many other relevant professionals including planners, engineers, economists, educators, entrepreneurs, etc., are also involved. We advocate for inclusive public consultation, technical innovation and full life cycle analysis on behalf of concerned members of the public that have been ignored by the CRD. Mr. Hull has been in bureaucratic positions for many years repeating from reports prepared by others. Does that make him more qualified?

Mr. Hull and I again differ on the costs, which I believe will be lower than what he proposed for the now defunct centralized secondary treatment plan based at McLoughlin Point. He fails to acknowledge that recent advances in membrane technology and MBR systems have resulted in significantly increased membrane flux capacity and decreased energy consumption and that gasifiers are much less expensive than anaerobic digesters. Furthermore, if we don’t have to build 18 km of pipelines to pump the sludge to Hartland, anaerobic digestion facilities, massive pump stations, conveyance tunnels and new deep sea outfalls, the total costs of the entire project will go way down.

Mr. Hull further insults the RITE plan advocates as a group of well-meaning but unqualified members of the public that refuse to reveal the data on the costs of building smaller, decentralized tertiary treatment plants. He never contacted me for this information. Instead, he derides the RITE plan by stating that enormous additional costs will be incurred for a reclaimed water pipe network and plumbing retrofits, thinking that this is the only solution for a tertiary system when in fact there are several other low cost options. This seems to be a case of him not seeing the forest when looking only at one tree.

In summary, a small number of tertiary, decentralized treatment plants and 1-2 gasifiers will in my opinion cost about 300 million dollars less than Mr. Hull’s billion dollar boondoggle plan and provide cleaner, toxin and pathogen free effluent, which is the actual reason why the government mandated us to stop polluting the environment and build sewage treatment plants.

Thomas Maler


Province needs to assume leadership (Olson)

MARCH 5, 2015

Re: “Merger dialogue needs a leader,” editorial, Feb. 26.

The editorial rightly urges the province not to duck its responsibility for ensuring effective local government.

This is plain when we consider that the province asked local government to implement plans for sewage treatment that lay beyond its ability to act. The province took no steps to remedy this when it became obvious that no solution was possible.

Now the region has asked the province to do something about this inability of local government to deal with issues such as sewage that lie beyond boundaries and capability of local government. The lack of effective response to the sewage crisis suggests, as the editorial implies, that more than informal local dialogue will be needed to pressure the province to assume leadership.

John Olson

Get cracking on regional, advanced sewage solutions (Regier)