Oak Bay to pitch staged sewer separation

Council sends Uplands geotech survey out for proposal

Oak Bay has proposed a staged implementation to sewer separation in the district.

Council first espoused the idea after a meeting with Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver, who offered to facilitate presenting the option to the ministry. They opted to take him up on the offer, as well as keep the Capital Regional District in the loop.

During the March 29 meeting where council approved the approach, Coun. Kevin Murdoch, and later Coun. Eric Zhelka, voiced concern that it would be set in stone.

Described as “testing the waters” by CAO Helen Koning, the district would suss out whether the ministry would approve of a staged approach and keep the CRD informed of intentions and approaches the district may use for this project.

The CRD’s Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan shows that Oak Bay will eliminate the Uplands combined sewers by 2015. Seeing as the timeline is passed, a new amendment to the plan must be CRD-approved.

The approach involves three phases, starting in the Humber catchment the first four years.

Storm sewer installation on municipal property would be completed in years one to five, with catch basins and homes with separated sewers connected at no cost to the homeowner.

As an added incentive for those not yet separated, Oak Bay would connect to those separated at no cost as construction in the road right of way proceeds.

Stage two, proposed for years five to 20, would work in the Rutland catchment following the same connection policy.

The third stage includes the ongoing separation on private property.

Homes not connected during construction of a new storm sewer would be separated using criteria adopted by council. Currently that is when a home is replaced; undergoes renovation exceeding $100,000; or when a perimeter drain is replaced.

“I like the staged approach; it makes sense to me,” said Coun. Tara Ney.

During the same meeting, council approved the request for proposals to retain a consultant to undertake a geotechnical investigation in the Uplands to: establish the elevation of rock in relation to the road surface to a maximum depth of five metres; determine the suitability of the native subsurface materials for reuse as trench backfill; and record any other geotechnical information that would be of relevance to the installation of a sewer pipe, for example, the presence of groundwater and potential for trench sloughing.

Proposals are due April 22. Following the evaluation of the proposals, a recommendation would be brought to council May 9.