Core area sewage impacts environment

Re: Tax increase poor treatment, (Writer’s Block, Oct. 19)

Re: Tax increase poor treatment, (Writer’s Block, Oct. 19)

The current regional sewage system is charged out to member municipalities based on flow (volume using the system) and design capacity. This calculation will remain the same.

Saanich’s utility invoice model calculates sewer charges based on current water consumption and consumption from the last two billing periods to determine the lowest consumption period.

This model has created a “user pay” system. It has proven that those who use less water, such as seniors, use less sewer infrastructure and pay less.

The $232 average increase (60 per cent capital and 40 per cent operating) mentioned in the column for Saanich residents will be phased in.

As new components come on line, the charges will be through the utility invoice based on the “user pay,” with full costs to be incorporated by 2017.

The core area raw sewage is having an impact on the marine environment. CRD’s last “full” marine monitoring report states under overall conclusions: “Results of wastewater monitoring showed that some substances were above water quality guidelines; both the Clover and Macaulay plumes were predominantly trapped at depth, with occasional surfacing events occurring mostly in winter … benthic invertebrate community health showed a significant decline relative to recent years … The reason for this decline is not known, but it may reflect population growth in the Greater Victoria area, cumulative effects of all contaminants in wastewater, and/or the release of new chemicals.”

These impacts are what I believe, the independent report was trying to highlight when it said “flushing wastewater into the Strait isn’t a long-term solution,” that with bio-accumulation over time and with increased population there would be impacts. We are now seeing these impacts.

Wastewater treatment will improve the quality of effluent discharged into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The overall loading of most contaminants discharged into the Strait of Juan de Fuca through the outfalls will be significantly lower than existing regime as a result of the installation of secondary treatment.

Secondary treatment will remove 60 to 80 per cent of trace contaminants including, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and endocrine disruptors from the wastewater and meet the national standard for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS).

Judy Brownoff

Saanich councillor and CRD director