Hartland safer for sludge plant

The CRD now plans to operate a sewage sludge plant in Esquimalt (a site also close to Vic West family housing and schools)

The CRD now plans to operate a sewage sludge plant in Esquimalt (a site also close to Vic West family housing and schools) but most News readers may not be aware that the previous plan to operate this sewage sludge plant at Hartland landfill was safer for our community.

The Esquimalt property planned for the privately-operated sewage sludge plant is only 1.7 hectares in area, but a CRD report notes that a minimum of two hectares is needed for the factory complex (which would include several biodigester tanks up to 14 metres high) so quite likely the Esquimalt-Vic West site would be built right out to the property line to accommodate this major operation.

An earlier CRD report also reveals that this sewage sludge processing plant would not be suitable for residential neighbourhoods, a point emphasized by sewage resource expert Chris Corps to an overflow audience at the recent Vic West public forum.

This plant could actually include several industrial processes:

• sewage sludge screening

• thermophilic anaerobic digestion complex

• energy and heat extraction building for sewage sludge management

• sludge dewatering building

• thermal drying

• unenclosed receiving station for fats, oils and grease and organic waste

• operations building

• gas flaring units

• phosphorus (struvite) recovery facilities

• odour control facilities

• biogas treatment and scrubbing facility.

Several of those processes are likely to be biologically hazardous, chemically hazardous, or both, demanding special equipment and training for firefighter rescue units, as well as emergency preparedness for the many families living near to this risky sewage sludge plant.

This operation should not be sited anywhere close to these dense Esquimalt-Vic West neighbourhoods.

John Newcomb

Saanich