August 16, 2015

Dr Shaun Peck Presentation to CRD Sewage Committee
Video of Wednesday's CRD sewage meeting now posted
CALWMC Takes Key Steps Forward with Wastewater Treatment Planning Process
Technical panel to oversee CRD sewage project
Westside sewage committee meets Monday, 17 August

Sewage treatment should be publicly owned (Coburn)
Making public comments public vital to sewage planning process (House)
Place sewage plant offshore (Nalleweg)
No resource is limitless or inexhaustible (Weatherill)

Dr Shaun Peck Presentation to CRD Sewage Committee

Below are notes for presentation made by Shaun to the CRD's sewage committee 12 August this morning.

John N
The terms of reference for the Independent Technical Advisory Committee.

For the benefit of the citizens and particularly the taxpayers, I hope you get advice from the very best world experts (because of the size of project) before any decisions are made on future treatment plants.

To take one part of the terms of reference. The idea of water reclamation is technically feasible but is not needed here for the Capital Region. Why do you need expertise in this area? Just because it may be feasible? We have an adequate water supply that will last at least 50 years or longer because of the reserve land set aside.

Even with the continued climate change my understanding is that there will still be adequate rainwater available above the dams so why raise the expectation that you are going to spend taxpayers funds on reclaiming water – which is possible, and a good idea for areas like California, who have a water shortage problem.

The problem with the terms of reference is that there is not enough emphasis on ensuring that you will be able to get the committee’s advice on choosing the most economical solution for the taxpayer – surely that is your responsibility to state that goal. Could you not emphasise the priority of cost-containment and the least cost option? Please do not build a “Cadillac” system with all the “bells and whistles”.

In Chair Helps suggested amendments it is stated “Will advise as to how to best canvas the private sector broadly to see what solutions they have to best meet the goals of this project.” What are the goals of the project? Should they not be stated in the terms of reference? Hopefully the goal is to build sufficient land based treatment to satisfy the regulators but at the least cost possible. If you had an overall goal statement with the terms of reference it would be easier for applicants to decide whether they wish to be involved.

Based on staff presentations to the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee in January this year the CRD Board had already spent $69.4 Million on planning including land acquisition. In addition you have now spent considerably more on planning with the West and East Side committees and in severance packages for the Seaterra Commission Staff. Is it not time for a bit more cost containment?

In the June 30th near final report from the Seaterra Commission I notice that the Craigflower Pump Station has been completed. A great achievement! This was needed to ensure the present sewerage system continues to cope with the volumes of sewage being generated. The Arbutus attenuation tanks have only the design completed. Why not give direction for these tanks to be constructed. If they were built then there would be less sewer overflows from the East Coast interceptor during times of heavy rainfall.

As a final note, on a different subject, I would like once again to suggest to you the potential to challenge the Federal Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations such as by a Judicial Review or an appeal to the Federal Court of the scientific basis for taking a “one size fits all” approach in the Regulations. The waiver would be based on the many studies showing the present practice of discharging the screened sewage through two deep sea outfalls, 60 meters below the ocean surface, through 200 meter long diffusers has a minimal impact on our unique marine environment. I urge you to have this option as a Plan B if it appears that the present planning results in an unaffordable burden on tax payers for no clear benefit to the overall environment (land, marine and global).

Thank you,

Dr Shaun Peck, Public Health Consultant.
Medical Health Officer for the CRD 1989-1995
Member of Responsible Sewage Treatment Victoria
Video of Wednesday's CRD sewage meeting (77 minutes public part) now posted: 
CALWMC Takes Key Steps Forward with Wastewater Treatment Planning Process

Summary of today's CRD press release:

CRD sewage committee CALWMC has secured technical support to conduct detailed analysis and engineering work, selected six individuals to the Technical Oversite [sic] Panel, and chosen a Fairness and Transparency Advisor.

CALWMC Takes Key Steps Forward with Wastewater Treatment Planning Process

Technical panel to oversee CRD sewage project

Amy Smart
Times Colonist
August 16, 2015 06:00 AM

The capital region’s sewage committee has created a technical oversight panel that didn’t exist under the Seaterra program, in hopes of avoiding another failed project.

The six-member panel will provide independent vetting of the engineering, business case, lifecycle costing and other project analysis. The committee has also hired a fairness and transparency adviser to handle any complaints about the process.

In addition, the committee agreed to pay $250,000 for the next step in technical support, detailed cost analysis and engineering work by Urban Systems and Carollo Associates.

“The technical oversight panel is extremely important because it’s at an arm’s length from the project, but reports to the elected official,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, chairwoman of the core area liquid waste management committee. “I think that was a key element missing in the past.”

Vancouver business adviser and architect Teresa Coady has been selected as chairwoman of the new panel. Coady was most recently the chief operating officer of design firm Kasian and was founding partner of design firm Bunting Coady.

Other panel members are Halifax wastewater services director Susheel Arora, San Diego utilities director Roger Bailey, wastewater management and gasification expert Jeffrey Scott Snyder, retired chartered quantity surveyor Robert Atkins and Bruce Jank, CEO of Canadian Clean Water Technologies.

The five panel members will be paid a $12,000 honorarium per year; Coady will be paid $30,000. They will each receive $750 per meeting up to four hours long, an additional $750 for meetings that go over four hours, and travel disbursements.

Helps said six people were selected instead of the planned two to five, because, together, they represented the breadth of experience that the sewage committee was interested in seeing.

“We thought each of them had a unique skill set that didn’t overlap very much with the others,” Helps said.

Victoria Coun. Geoff Young, who also sits on the sewage committee, said he was concerned the panel represented experts who already favour some technologies over others.

In the past, technical recommendations have been perceived as biased toward one technology or another, he said. “I think it’s fair to say the technical oversight panel appointees are aware of what their role is: To ensure we have a good, fair evaluation. And I certainly hope they take those instructions to heart.”

The CRD has also appointed Kim Cholette, who has worked with various administrative tribunals over 20 years, to a new fairness and transparency adviser position. In addition to investigating public complaints, Cholette is to ensure the process of costing, working with host municipalities and preparing an amended plan is impartial and objective. The budget for the position has not been set.

Urban Systems, which has been involved in the public consultation process, is moving on to cost and feasibility analysis of potential sites with support from Carollo Associates.

The defunct Seaterra project’s final two employees, including boss Albert Sweetnam, will wrap up work by the end of September. Seaterra cost taxpayers more than $40 million by July 22, or $51 million once commitments are incorporated, a CRD report said.

Seaterra was dismantled after millions of dollars were spent on planning a sewage plant at McLoughlin Point; that effort was shut down after it failed to receive zoning approval from Esquimalt council.
Westside sewage committee meets Monday, 17 August


Sewage treatment should be publicly owned (Coburn)
Making public comments public vital to sewage planning process (House)

Goldstream News Gazette
August 11, 2015 5:42 PM

Re: VGH-area site to be considered by Westside sewage group

Seriously, this is getting truly tiresome.

Propose, with a straight face, to put an industrial sewage treatment/waste water facility a cigarette butt’s flick from Victoria General Hospital? A hop, skip and jump from Jeneece Place? Two hundred metres from a brand new multi-million dollar, mixed-use residential/commercial/professional development? And 150 meters from residential developments?

What part of “Find a site in an appropriate industrial location” is still completely escaping the committees? The public input process will be meaningful unless a knowledgeable correlation is provided between any proposed site and what is likely to be built on it.

I’ve been a vocal defender of doing this right for a long time now, but really, I’m beginning to wonder if all those people castigating the process and questioning the intelligence of everyone involved don’t have a point.

Andy House
View Royal
Place sewage plant offshore Nalleweg
Aug 13, 2015

Victoria’s sewage treatment facility or facilities should be placed on the ocean. Several communities around the world have sewage treatment plants located on vessels offshore. I only heard this option mentioned once in this debate.

Placing the plant offshore requires no land, no local landfill, no truck traffic in neighbourhoods, no massive disruptions to build a pipeline to the landfill, and utilizes inexpensive  barging away residue to a landfill such as the open pit mine on Texada where further treatment or storage could take place. Nimbys rejoice, there is a solution.

Peter Nalleweg
No resource is limitless or inexhaustible (Weatherill)