LETTER: Clearing up sewage issue

The Seaterra Commission will implement whichever plan ultimately the CRD and the province approve

I would like to respond to a few points made in a recent letter to the editor on Oct. 3 entitled, Public deserves to be consulted.

This letter states that the Capital Regional District did not consult the public when it came up with the current, approved wastewater treatment plan.

In fact, the CRD spent more than 10 years consulting the public throughout the region on a sewage treatment plan.

It was this consultation which led the CRD to develop the wastewater treatment plan that was approved by the province.

Whether the plan is implemented, it is a cost effective and environmentally sound plan which exceeds federal and provincial regulations and meets the long-term needs of our region.

The approved treatment plant provides capacity for the region until well into 2065 for a unit capacity cost that is significantly lower than the rate of other comparable plants.

The letter implies that the planned 18-kilometre residual solids conveyance pipe would be costly to maintain and expensive to operate due to pumping costs. The truth is there are already hundreds of kilometres of conveyance pipes currently underground throughout the region. This conveyance pipe would be no different and the costs for the pumping would be approximately $55,000 per year. By locating the Resource Recovery Center at Hartland the CRD is able to utilize approximately $2 million per year of landfill gas in the process. When compared to the $55,000 per year to pump the residual solids to Hartland this resource recovery provides significant savings to the CRD.

The letter states the treatment plant uses old technology, doesn’t address pharmaceuticals in our wastewater and has limited energy recovery potential. This is simply not the case.

The program was not developed to address storm water infiltration as this is being done at the  municipal level as part of their infrastructure planning.

Should the plan be abandoned, the CRD will work closely with municipalities to develop a different approach and public consultation would certainly be part of that initiative.

The Seaterra Commission will implement whichever plan ultimately the CRD and the province approve and the taxpayers of the core area are willing to pay for.

Albert Sweetnam, program director, Seaterra Program