New wastewater bid doesn’t trigger an ‘option 6’

Proponent invited to submit during the bid process


Oversight Panel doesn’t recommend the the “deep shaft” project put forward last week, but welcomes them to submit during the request for proposals process.

The CRD’s Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee will however see more information from its oversight panel.

Four TOP members visited the Noram Vertreat technology site in Burnaby on Dec. 29, 2015, along with two consultants to better understand the deep shaft technology.

While the small-footprint plants did conceptually fit on the two sites identified – Clover Point in Victoria and Bullen Park in Esquimalt – the panel found them not appropriate for the technology, Teresa Coady, chair of TOP told the CALWM Committee Jan. 13.

“The consensus is that this technology … is free to bid when we get to that stage, it is not appropriate for it to trigger what we would call an option six,” Coady said, citing operational challenges with an underground plant and trucks in residential areas. There are also no built examples where a community of this size “entrusts its entire flow” to the technology, she said.

“There is no guarantee that would work and it would need to be piloted,” Coady said. “It would have to be thoroughly vetted if it was to be the main plant option because there is no precedent. … It would be more appropriate for one of the smaller plants.”

The TOP voiced support for the technology but not on the sites in their application, and suggested it return during the bid process.

CRD Director Richard Atwell, Saanich mayor, made the successful bid to have each member of the oversight panel provide an overview of the deep shaft proposal.

“I think there’s a lot that needs to be written down,” he said.

Most board members saw no harm in receiving further information, while others found it disruptive to the process.

“I find it highly unusual to make a request for each member to separately provide a report,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “The purpose of putting a wide range of people on a committee is to have that wholesome discussion … it undermines the whole idea of committee work.”

“We assembled this group of expert advice to give us expert advice,” agreed Director David Screech, View Royal mayor, adding it’s “completely out of line and insulting to our Technical Oversight Panel.

“Are we going to hear that every time someone doesn’t like a recommendation?”

There was a 5-1 vote by the TOP regarding at the recommendation to not support the deep shaft technology.

Director Vic Derman, a Saanich Councillor, felt the decision needed some more “fulsome reasons” for not triggering a sixth option.

There is no harm in garnering more information, agreed committee chair Lisa Helps, Victoria mayor. “We’re always going to be adding more information, nothing’s going to be perfect.”

“The politics of this is, it’s going to pass because otherwise you’re against information,” said Director Susan Brice, a Saanich councillor.

The CALWM motion to have individual written submissions passed. TOP will also prepare a binder – a summary document of all meetings with technology vendors – to be available online.

“I went to one meeting where they heard presentations on eight or so leading-edge technologies,” said Jensen after the meeting. “One, for instance, proposed a ship floating out in the Juan de Fuca area to hold the sewage treatment plant. They’ve looked at quite a number of ingenious and innovative options.”


Visit to learn more about technology presentations to TOP.