Sewage panel recommends McLoughlin Point

McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt has been chosen as the recommended site to host a wastewater treatment facility for Greater Victoria.

  • Wed Sep 7th, 2016 2:00pm
  • News

The proposed revised design for a tertiary wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt.

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By Kendra Wong and Pamela Roth

McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt has been chosen as the recommended site to host a wastewater treatment facility for Greater Victoria.

The Core Area Wastewater Treatment Project board released its final report Wednesday, recommending a single 108 megalitre/day plant for the tertiary treatment of wastewater at McLoughlin Point.

Capital costs are estimated at roughly $765 million and, assuming government funding is in place, the cost per Capital Regional District household ranges from about $146 per year in Colwood to $344 in Oak Bay.

The report also recommends a construction laydown area at Rock Bay in Victoria, a commitment to study a wastewater treatment proposal for Colwood and for solids to be transported by pipe to the Hartland landfill in Saanich.

Project board chair Jane Bird said the plant design has a smaller footprint and larger setbacks, and is significantly less expensive than previous plans.

“We worked hard to find a solution that minimizes costs to taxpayers, meets the regulatory and timing criteria and responds to the interests of the surrounding community and neighbourhoods,” she said in a release.

“It is significantly revised to provide better public access to the shoreline, extensive landscaping, and a budget for further refinements to align with existing zoning guidelines and respond to concerns expressed by the residents of Esquimalt.”

The subject of sewage treatment has been a contentious one for more than 30 years in Greater Victoria, costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Despite the arguments made by local scientists, the federal government has deemed Victoria as high-risk when it comes to its current method of discharging screened sewage into the ocean. The classification means the region has to move towards secondary sewage treatment by 2020 in order to comply with federal wastewater regulations.

Two years ago, the Capital Regional District (CRD) board came close to constructing a facility at McLoughlin Point, but the township rejected the plan, citing concerns with the size of the facility and the environmental impact.

In March, the CRD took another stab at the matter, voting to explore constructing two tertiary treatment facilities at Victoria’s Clover Point and McLoughlin or Macaulay points in Esquimalt at an estimated cost of around $1 billion. The proposal, however, sparked backlash from both communities and needed approval from Victoria and Esquimalt council in order to proceed.

The province waded into the matter in May to help the region find a way to move forward and established an independent panel of six experts, including Bird, to come up with a business case to present to the CRD in mid-September. CRD directors will ultimately have the final say on where a facility should be located.

The final report, including the recommended option, will be presented to the CRD Sept. 14. The CRD has until Sept. 30 to submit its plans for wastewater treatment to the federal government or risk losing millions of dollars in funding.

Read the full report below.

For more information about the sewage saga, see Black Press’ Sewage in the CRD series at vicnews.com/news/372436651.html