Sewage Treatment and Resource Recovery for the Core Municipalities
The link below will take you to the adopted Provincial Plan. I think it is important to recognize Chapter 7, which deals with sustainability, greenhouse gas and resource recovery. It starts on page 37 of this document. This document has had some updates including adding oxidation at the end of the treatment line, which will make the system "tertiary" in nature except we will not be recovering water. We have a number of components entering our consumer stream and a lot of them end up in our waste stream. We need to work with the regulators to ensure these products do not add to the already accumulating products like microplastics and endocrine disrupters, to the environment.
This is currently the adopted Plan and the Plan that has allowed CRD to get a "transitional" waiver to be out of compliance with the regulations and penalties which come into full force January 2015. There are ongoing discussions with WestShore mayors on a West sub-regional concept and Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay CAOs have been discussing what an East sub-regional site could be.
It really is important to recognize that those of us who sit on this committee are personally exposed to federal fines if we support decisions that will not allow the CRD to meet the 2020 requirements. We are all aware of this and are working as diligently as possible.
The CRD budget is the most complicated budget we deal with. Ever since I have sat at that table I have pushed for a better education on how and what is in the budget ... both for the Directors (and especially new ones) and the public. We have over 200 different funding agreements with some municipalities. Did you know that all the Solid Waste function around Hartland, Recycling, etc is NOT on our CRD Property tax, it is all paid for through the tipping fees.
There are a number of services mandated to us which we all contribute to based on population and assessment (as a rule):
- Legislative & General Government
- Regional Grant in Aid
- Community Health - Homeless Secretariat
- Regional Parks
- Regional Parks - land acquisition
- Regional Park - debt
- Development Service - Climate Action and Adaptation
- Land Banking & Housing
- Regional Planning Services
- Environmental Roundtable
- Geo-Spatial Referencing System
- Regional Environmental Atlas Budget
- Regional Emergency Program Support
- Hazardous Material Incident Response
- Call Answer
- Feasibility Study Reserve fund
Then there are services that some municipalities join together to deliver and save financially. Saanich participates in:
- Victoria Family Court Committee
- Greater Victoria Police Victim Services
- Traffic Safety Commission
- Royal Theatre
- Arts Grants
- Regional Housing Trust Fund
- Regional Growth Strategy
- Stormwater Quality Management (Core area)
- Septage Disposal
- Millstream Meadows Remediation
- On Site Systems Mgmt Program
- Liquid Waste Management Plan
- Stage 3 Harbour Studies
- Regional Source Control Program
Then there is Capital Regional Hospital District. Yes we contribute to hospital facilities. We were paying 40% on everything and although we would review budget with Island Health, we felt some of our priorities were not being covered. So we have reduced our contribution to 30% (I was the one who brought this motion forward) and if we think a project is of "regional" significance we would look at 40% but we now have established a fund to help some of our regional projects like Jeence Place, etc.
And then there is Municipal Finance Authority Debt. Municipalities and Regional District get the best interest rates for borrowing, but the borrowing is under the umbrella of the "Regional District" even though the debt is specific to each municipality, and the debt is secured by all municipalities in the Province, that is why through RD and why the best interest rate.
I assume this is where one of the candidates got the $600 million debt of CRD. The debt is to the municipality borrowing and it is borrowed under "Regional Districts" for the rates we are able to get under MFA.
History of Sewage treatment
The following outlines a bit of the long term history of the Core Municipalities dumping "raw" sewage into the ocean.
In 1993 CRD Chair Frank Leonard & Board received a letter from the Provincial Government that had many key requirements but one in particular was “The province does not accept a time frame of 25 years to complete secondary treatment or the equivalent level to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We would like this date to be brought forward in your liquid waste management plan closer to 15 years”.
In the National Post of 6 December 1999 the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans commented that jail sentences and hefty fines against municipalities that discharge untreated wastewater into coastal waters could be levied.
In a letter dated May 24, 2000 from David Anderson the then MP for Victoria stated “…the Capital Regional District is actively investigating treatment options and a schedule for the implementation of treatment.”
In a letter dated Mar 25 2003 the Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection, Minister Murray, “I am not satisfied that the existing monitoring program will be effective in detecting all potential impacts.” “The LWMP does not provide a plan and schedule for … treatment … which is contrary to the direction provided to you (CRD) by past ministers.”
In a letter dated July 21 2006, the Minister of Environment stated “…an independent consultant … retained by the Ministry of Environment to evaluate the CRD sediment quality data associated with the outfalls. This study found that, based on the available CRD monitoring data, contamination at the two outfalls is sufficient to warrant preliminary designation as contaminated sites under the Contaminated Sites Regulation.” “… I hereby direct the CRD Board to submit to me for approval no later than June 30, 2007 an amendment to the CRD Core Area Liquid Waste Management Plan detailing a fixed schedule for the province of sewage treatment.”
The CRD has had 18 years to move forward based on a number of Provincial and Federal Governments and never did. It took an Environmental Order to move this important issue forward.