Politicians must flush out a sewage treatment solution

A timely satisfactory resolution of CRD sewage treatment options appears unlikely with our current local politicians

Re: Saanich News editorial Jan. 20 ‘Sewage deadline a collective drain.’

It’s more than troubling that the Capital Regional District’s core area wastewater chair sewage treatment committee, chaired by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, continues its multi-year inability to first verify the need for CRD sewage treatment and then, if appropriate, agree upon a sewage treatment proposal. Given that “conceptual” costs of proposals range up to $1.3 billion, CRD sewage treatment continues to be an “aspirational” goal.

At one time there was a mantra held by some environmental engineers that “the solution to pollution is dilution.” Such rationale is illustrated in fundamental toxicology with the relationship between a toxic reaction (a response) and a poison received (the dose). In this relationship there is a dose below which no response occurs or can be measured. If the concentration of the contaminant is low enough there is no toxic reaction.

We all live with this reality, and a yearly local demonstration of this takes place at Saanich’s Beaver Lake where bacteria from animal feces present varying threat levels. Signs are placed to warn beach users of a significant health risk when there are high bacteria levels.

Let’s contrast Beaver Lake fecal pollution and our present Juan de Fuca sewage outfall. We have a confirmed measured sewage threat at Beaver Lake that not infrequently prevents swimming. As for Juan de Fuca, our local scientific community (including an UVic blue ribbon team) has numerous times confirmed that, with a verified lack of pollution mere yards from our current deep water sewage outfalls, there is no threatening measurable pollution and thus no justification for costly sewage treatment proposals.

A timely satisfactory resolution of CRD sewage treatment options appears unlikely with our current local politicians. As voting taxpayers we sorely need to recruit leaders from the scientific and business communities to co-ordinate a CRD solution at the provincial and federal levels.

Surely a scientifically based sewage solution is possible.

Ron Johnson





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