Taxpayers have a stake in sewage treatment

Thinking outside the CRD box would likely save us at least $300 million while building eight decentralized, modern tertiary treatment plants

Jack Hull is correct in stating that there is misinformation swirling around the sewage treatment project, however, we differ in stating from which side this misinformation is emanating.

I have references to scientific studies that show that tertiary treatment followed by advanced oxidation (UV+ peroxide) treatment does eliminate the vast majority of soluble chemicals that would be present in the effluent as opposed to such advanced oxidation of effluent from secondary treatment.

Mr. Hull is also correcting my previous statement that the CRD proposal would use 50-year-old technology, compared to much more modern tertiary treatment with superior membrane filtration used at Dockside Green. In my letter of Nov. 11, I was comparing the secondary sewage treatment system, that originated in the early 20th century, and by 1930, this activated sludge treatment was becoming the predominant process used around the world. The processes incorporated in the CRD proposal for McLoughlin Point that he alludes to are just enhancements to this old process and I would compare it to putting lipstick on a pig.

I agree with Mr. Hull’s calculation of 7-8 decentralized plants we would need for the required capacity of 216 megalitres/day in our region, however, I do not agree with his cost calculation. According to extensive research data analyzed by RITE plan advocates, the cost of each plant with a capacity of 25 megalitres/day would be about $50 million, or $400 million for eight such plants. This is based on the costs of several representative existing and working tertiary treatment plants.

If the experienced professionals Mr. Hull is referring to will be providing us, the public that is paying the bills, with trustworthy data on the costs and available modern technologies, there won’t be any need to be discounting their expertise. Furthermore, I would not be so quick to discount the valuable input of an informed and interested public that may need to be keeping tabs on the qualified and experienced professionals that have over many years got us to the stalemate we are now facing at the cost of $60 million with nothing to show for it.

I agree that we cannot retrofit our home pipes with the purple ones for reclaimed water overnight, however, if the reclaimed water will be available in various neighbourhoods, new constructions can start incorporating them, as is the case at Dockside Green. I would be willing to retrofit my home with the purpose pipes if it were available on my street. I think it is safe to say that the reclaimed water would also be useful for watering gardens and parks and golf courses.

And perhaps the most important and immediate benefit of tertiary treated and advanced oxidized reclaimed water would be that we would not have to discharge the chemicals, superbugs, micro-plastics and micro-fibres into the ocean anymore, which is the primary reason why both the federal and provincial governments require us to build the treatment plants. In fact, we would be discharging much cleaner reclaimed water into the ocean than what the McLoughlin Point plant would have done.

The reason is that bacteria, superbugs, micro-plastics and micro-fibers would be removed in the membrane filtration process and the advanced oxidation would disinfect the effluent and remove the vast majority of remaining soluble chemicals.

I would suggest that truly thinking outside the CRD box would likely save us at least $300 million while building eight decentralized, modern tertiary treatment plants with advanced oxidation, followed by safe disposal and energy recovery from the sludge in one or two gasifier plants. I think that the CRD waste of $60 million with nothing to show for it in five years is the true benchmark to which all other options will be compared.

I think that Mr. Hull, as a taxpayer in Oak Bay, won’t have to lose any sleep over  the cost overruns, because I am fully confident that the new plan will cost less than his now defunct McLoughlin Point plan.

In closing, I think it is important that public consultation and public supervision takes place right from the beginning and all along the process as to avoid the waste of time and money hoisted upon the taxpayers of the region by the professionals and the directors of the CRD.

Thomas Maler

Victoria

 

Just Posted

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read