CRD sewage planners have not addressed a very significant issue with misclassifying Victoria’s sewage as high risk: a high-risk problem justifies a high-risk solution. With a high-risk misclassification of the sewage system, our region could be burdened with sewage plant operations that are not only expensive but that are also unjustifiably hazardous.
This high-risk misclassification almost resulted in an Esquimalt neighbourhood getting a hazardous sewage sludge plant in 2013, and if it hadn’t been for concerted community activism, there might have been anaerobic digesters producing explosive methane just metres from homes.
The only hint of sewage plant hazards are buried in a sewage plant consultant’s report that sewage facility criteria should include reduction of risks to neighbourhoods from facility failure. It’s most worrisome that there has been no public discussion about which sewage plant sites and technologies result in the least damage and injury from a facility failure.
Maintaining the mistaken belief that our effluent discharge is high risk doesn’t just create a severe time shortage for sewage project planning, but even more ominously could result in a hazardous solution to a problem that marine scientists say is at most a low-risk, low-priority issue.