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Uplands residents win battle over district sewage system

Kim Westad, Times Colonist, January 12, 2010

Uplands residents got their way, as all but one Oak Bay councillor last
night rejected a pump system to deal with the exclusive enclave’s sewage.

Instead, the municipality will forgo a $5.1-million infrastructure grant
approved for the pump system in favour of looking at other ways to deal
with sewage from 390 homes in the Uplands.

Several in the jammed council chambers clapped and stood when it became
clear that council was not moving forward with the low-pressure pump
system that Uplands residents did not want. The past three council
meetings have had overflow crowds of people from the subdivision of
million-dollar-plus homes.

The municipality will instead “slow down” and review other options,
including a far more expensive gravity-fed system.

The province has mandated that the single-pipe gravity system currently in
place in the Uplands — the sewage and wastewater run together into one
pipe that regularly overflows at two outfalls in heavy rain — be split
into two.

Oak Bay council had been moving forward with a plan for a low-pressure
pump system to deal with the sewage, leaving the waste water using the
existing system.

An electric pump would be placed at each home, buried in the garden.

But residents were concerned about reliability of the pump as well as its
cost — up to $20,000 to install in the large often elaborately landscaped
lots.

Instead, they lobbied for a second gravity system to run alongside the
system now in place.

The latter would cost about $16 million more than the pump system. It
would not qualify for a federal-provincial infrastructure grant that the
pump system does qualify for.

Please go to the Times Colonist website for a detailed story.

kwestad@tc.canwest.com

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