Judy on Sewage

Greater Victoria is lucky to lack a “heritage” sewage system; it has, rather, a full-tilt antique.

After much initial debate, and some plans to leap into the 21st century, a second debate has begun over whether we leapt far enough and are considering a sufficient range of options.

Here is Judy Brownoff’s response to some of that debate. She is articulate and had done a lot of homework.

I think regionally we have been getting citizens

up to speed on a number of “waste” responsibility issues. I see more and more people at groceries stores looking at labels on products in the household aisle. Look how successful we have been with plastic bags. I just think the Federal Government who “okays” these products need to be more diligent, they create the wastewater regulations, so they should be helping bring awareness to some of these products. I know federally there is a group studying these domestic products of concern and CRD has participated in and continues to study various contaminants.

Dockside Community was built on a “brownfield” from the ground up. They were able to double “plumb” with purple pipes, etc. They recycle wastewater for flushing toilets, water feature and some landscape watering, they DO NOT treat their sludge. Their screenings are trucked to Hartland to bury and the balance is sent to the septage facility in Langford where air is injected and the sludge rises to the top and is skimmed off and transported to Chemainus to a composting facility and ultimately placed on land. I believe these standalone type of facilities will still happen but where density, and from the ground up opportunities are projected under the RGS, which is the West Shore. These standalone facilities must not impact the regional system, pipes and pumps, ie temperature of effluent entering from a municipality is important, plus MoE is the approving authority and they require a “back up” system and like Dockside, the back up system is the regional system. When Dockside has a failure they open a gate and all the sewage flows into Victoria sewer lines into the regional system.

Unfortunately where the majority of the sewage is created in the core is in low density areas that are already built. The cost of re-plumbing “every home” to run new water pipes from the road to, and throughout the house to each toilet would not be minimal. To cut apart the walls of every apartment building, business and home within the Core Area to run new pipes would be costly.  The reuse of reclaimed water is a great goal but the regulations are very restrictive and we did a few reports on this and even took a specific area (UVIC and surrounding area) to study water reuse and energy in 2010. (I’m still hopeful for UVIC (even though they are currently working on biomass facility) for some of their energy needs.)

CRD system is modular, designed to add on components as we need, McLoughlin has UV and oxidation space planned in design, all systems have to be flexibility, and CRD has a decentralized approach to our wastewater system, a plant for the Peninsula, the Core Area facility will handle the waste from the seven municipalities probably until 2040 or until McLoughlin gets to about 90% full, then another facility will be created for the West Shore where density is predicted to happen under RGS, plus we have Saltspring Island. A centralized sludge digestion facility will allow us to take the sludge from “private” facility like Sooke and Dockside, as well as our own SaanPen facility and put into the digestion process to create more biogas as opposed to burying and taking up space at Hartland. Plus there are solid waste integration opportunities that can happen.

I personally believe that we create the waste locally, and we should manage it locally, not ship it to another area to manage. I’ve very excited about biogas production this came from a fact finding mission to Sweden. They use this gas in their bus system! And of course we can make it ready for using in “heating” as well. I forgot to mention that we are also creating struvite from the wastewater, that is a technology created by UBC students that removes the phosphorous from the wastewater and creates a “green” fertilizer for farming. Robert Kennedy bought the technology and the product is called Ostara and I see Saskatoon (I think that’s who it was) in Saskatchewan just announced the first facility in Canada …. I wanted CRD to be  … oh well! Hope this helps, and if I can give you any more information let me know.

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