While east and west communities gather to explore options for sewage treatment in the Capital Regional District, CRD staff will investigate market sounding and other possible measures to discover emerging technologies and best practices for wastewater treatment.
The board asked staff to report during the next meeting of the Core Area Liquid Waste Committee after Saanich Coun. Vic Derman presented the motion to the CRD board.
With the two groups investigating individualized solutions to sewage treatment, likely involving a number of solutions, Derman felt the CRD could play a positive role by undertaking a best practices sounding. It would involve a broad scan of the best technologies currently available as well as the best system designs applying those technologies.
“ln addition, a sounding should actively seek submissions from organizations, companies and individuals, large and small, who have shown particular knowledge, expertise and leadership in leading-edge designs including distributed systems. A final report should be accompanied by an appendix containing unedited versions of all submissions received,” stated Derman’s motion.
The concept isn’t to incur the time and expense involved in a full request for proposal.
Coun. Colin Plant likened the seeking of updated information to his current iPhone 6-plus purchased for the same price as his iPhone 4, five years ago. It’s an “opportunity to relook at things … do an environmental scan to see what’s out there,” he said.
While the CRD board supported the request, Victoria Coun. Geoff Young voiced concerns.
“The motion is asking for work to be done by the wrong body. We’ve created our new subregional commissions. Some of the municipalities at least are looking at individual systems and it’s become apparent that siting decisions are going to have to be made by the municipalities,” Young said. “This motion should have been brought forward at the individual Eastside and Westside commissions.”
Others disagreed, citing the CRD as the appropriate centralization of information that could be shared by the two geographic commissions.
“This is the appropriate place for information to come to,” said Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins. “We know so much more now about sewage and what is in it than we did years ago … The ultimate goal we want to have is that we neutralize those, the superbugs, the micro plastics, the microfibres … so we’re not going to affect the land, we’re not going to affect the water and not going to affect the air with our processes.”
North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall noted that while the Peninsula already has a plant in place, one discussion that has already affected the processes there is the consideration for use of biosolids. The CRD has previously vetoed biosolids use on land.
“We need an early decision on what are we going to do with these biosolids, because they just do keep piling up,” Finall said.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps agreed with Finall, adding: “We need to talk about integrated resource management.”