CUPE on Sewage Treatment: A Third Option Vital to Public Employees
In its March 23rd full-page ad in the Times-Colonist, CUPE urged CRD residents to attend two CRD sewage treatment planning meetings, March 24 and March 31, in order to protest the proposed Sewage Treatment plan as a P3 mega-project in favour of a local publicly built and operated system.
This advertisement suggests that only two options are available for dealing with our perceived sewage treatment problems.
Local experts emphatically disagree.
David Anderson, Canada’s longest serving Environment Minister, said on Saturday that six provincial health officers have determined that there is no measurable public health risk caused by the current system.
Dr. Chris Garrett, UVic oceanographer and Chair of the CRD’s Marine Monitoring Advisory Group, states that the current system exerts a “very minor impact”, and that “the vast majority of professional marine scientists” on both sides of the border “regard land-based sewage treatment here as a low priority for marine environmental protection.”
The problems used as justification for land-based sewage treatment plants can be addressed by relatively minor modifications to the existing system, including: repair of leaky storm drains which during high rainfall have sometimes caused pollution problems; enhancement of the CRD’s existing sewer source control program to prevent contaminants of the drains that discharge onto our beaches; and less expensive changes to sewage outfall design to meet forthcoming Federal regulations.
The question must be asked, how will the proposed system improve our public health and marine environment at a cost of $500-$1000 in increased annual taxes to home-owners, and rental increases to renters?
CUPE employees would be assured of greater job security if these sewage system upgrades were undertaken through the CRD’s own public programs, and if truly green public projects such as light rapid transit were undertaken instead.
Head Librarian, BC Ministry of Health (1978-2002)