Victoria sewage project costs increase by $38 million

Capital Regional District votes to uphold ban on human waste as fertilizer – costing taxpayers millions

The cost of Greater Victoria’s secondary sewage treatment project is going up by an estimated $38 million after politicians voted to uphold a ban on human waste as fertilizer.

At an Oct. 30 meeting, Capital Regional District directors were presented with information that argues treated human waste is actually less contaminated than many agricultural manure products.

The commission tasked with overseeing the sewage mega-project said it could save taxpayers $35 million by spreading treated waste on CRD forest lands, a practice already taking place in other B.C. jurisdictions including Nanaimo.

“The risk is minuscule,” said Albert Sweetnam, Seaterra project director in an interview. “That decision (to uphold the ban on the use of biosolids as fertilizer) actually cost taxpayers $38 million.”

Now, the CRD will likely need to build an incinerator to dispose of dried biosolids in addition to a sewage sludge processing facility at Hartland landfill. The project also includes a wastewater treatment plant at McLoughlin Point in Esquimalt and an 18-kilometre underground pipeline and pumping stations between the two sites. An exact pipeline route hasn’t yet been chosen, but Sweetnam said it will won’t cut through private properties.

Sweetnam became the public face of the CRD’s sewage project in September.

His “26-hour days” include functioning as the key liaison between CRD directors, staff, municipal and provincial governments and, perhaps most dauntingly, the taxpayers of Victoria, Oak Bay, Saanich, View Royal, Langford and Colwood.

Recent proposals for smaller, decentralized sewage processing plants would cost at least $2 billion and likely more, he said.

Sweetnam also didn’t rule out the possibility of looking at newer technologies for sewage treatment, but said the technology must be proven.

“Proven means it’s been functioning for at least five years at a facility of comparable size,” he said.

Construction at McLoughlin Point will begin next summer, while Victoria and Esquimalt advisory design committees will get a chance to critique the incoming requests for proposals, Sweetnam said.

“(The CRD) spent a lot of money studying options,” he said. “These decisions are now made, and we’ve actually started building. So the horse is out of the barn.”

Just Posted

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

Give your immunity a boost for National Immunization Awareness Week

Immunize Canada calls on Canadians to stay up to date with their immunizations

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

Parishioners bear the weight of a large wooden cross on Good Friday

Good Friday Passion Procession winds through streets of Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read