Oak Bay to pay lion’s share for sewage treatment

Uplands storm water drainage increases flow for the municipality

An antiquated pipe system in the municipality of Oak Bay may result in residents paying the largest share of the cost of the new sewage treatment facility slated for completion in 2018.

The Core Area Wastewater Treatment Program calls for a wastewater treatment plant to be constructed at Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point, where biosolids would be extracted and pumped 18 kilometres to the Hartland Landfill in Saanich. The material would then be dried in a biosolids energy centre and placed in cement kilns, which in turn would be housed at Cadboro Bay. The total project cost is estimated at $782.7 million with two-thirds of the funding coming from the provincial and federal governments.

The CRD however, needs to contribute $281 million – approximately one third of the total cost – to the project. If a proposal before the CRD is approved, those costs would be divided on a formula that is based on usage (flow levels) projected to 2030. Based on those flow levels, Oak Bay would pay the highest amount of any municipality – an estimated $391 a year per household.

But the flow levels may not be a true reflection of the sewage wastewater generated by the municipality.

“In the Uplands area we have a single pipe system in which storm water is routed to the same line that carries waste water,” said Dave Marshall, director of engineering services for Oak Bay. “That obviously increases the flow levels for the municipality.”

But the problem extends to other parts of the system as well. Even in those parts of the municipality where a two-line system exists, there is still the problem of storm water seeping into older wastewater lines. “It’s a matter of inflow and infiltration,” said Marshall. “But seepage into lines isn’t unique to Oak Bay, it’s a problem wherever older sewer lines are in place.”

All municipalities, including Oak Bay, are currently reviewing their systems in an effort to bring them in line with the CRD’s wastewater management plan. That may require a twinning of the Uplands pipes and an upgrade of other lines but a final decision on the matter has not been formally adopted.

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said that the municipal council is well aware of the situation and has wrestled with some options for minimizing the flow of storm water into the sewage lines.

“It’s obvious that we need to work quickly to address the storm water issue and to upgrade our systems generally. I’d like to see the greater use of rain-gardens or other systems that move storm water to the ocean, but right now we’re looking at a plan that employs more traditional methods.”

Until the work is done, Oak Bay residents will be paying a higher share of both the capital costs and the annual operating costs of the sewage treatment system. And it’s not about the number of homes in the area. Although Uplands is home to less than seven per cent of the total number of residences in Oak Bay, about 20 per cent of the municipality’s surface area is drained into the Upland’s sewage lines.

The entire Wastewater Treatment Plan has garnered criticism from a number of quarters, most notably the Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment, a group of marine scientists, public health officers and others. They claim that the project is politically and not environmentally motivated, and that the current system, in which screened sewage is pumped into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, is both safe and effective.

The funding split was approved at the Oct.10 meeting of the Liquid Waste Management Committee and will go to the CRD board for approval.

More information on the Wastewater Treatment Plan can be found at crd.bc.ca/wastewater/madeclear.

Did you know?

The costs to municipalities for the proposed Core Area Wastewater Treatment Program.

Colwood: $1.4 million; $310 per household

Esquimalt: $2.5 million; $311 per household

Langford: $4.1 million; $332 per household

Oak Bay: $2.5 million; $391 per household

Saanich: $11.5 million; $232 per household

Victoria: $13.8 million a year; $353 per household

View Royal: $1.2 million; $240 per household

Costs are based upon 2017 level estimates and represent a split of 40 per cent for operating costs and 60 per cent for the capital cost of the system.

Just Posted

A building in the 300-block of Mary Street sustained significant damage Saturday night after a suspicious fire was started. Police arrested an arson suspect Sunday. (Courtesy of Victoria Fire Department)
Arson suspect arrested following Vic West structure fire

Building in 300-block of Mary Street sustained significant damage Saturday night

The Victoria International Airport saw its revenues plummet in 2020. Officials hope a proposed warehouse will be a significant revenue generator. (Black Press Media file photo)
Head of Victoria Airport Authority makes economic pitch for Sidney warehouse project

Geoff Dickson said Sidney stands to earn $325,000 in annual taxes

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Cadboro Bay teen meets with minister after advocacy against Coastal GasLink

15-year-old Claremont student and George Heyman discussed the project for about 30 minutes

Participants take part in a previous Walk for Alzheimer’s. This year’s event is being held virtually and participants are asked to set a walking or fitness challenge during May. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents invited to set fitness challenge for Alzheimer’s

IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s goes virtual during the month of May

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read