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No reason to proceed with sewage plan

No reason to proceed with sewage plan

Times Colonist, April 15, 2010

Saanich Peninsula Sewage Treatment Plant

Saanich Peninsula Sewage Treatment Plant

On April 8, I e-mailed these two fundamental points to the mayors and councillors of Victoria, Oak Bay, Saanich, Esquimalt, Colwood, Langford and View Royal:

1. Six past and present medical health officers have stated that “there is no measurable public health risk from Victoria’s current method of offshore liquid waste disposal.” They are Dr. Richard Stanwick, Dr. John Millar, Dr. Shaun Peck, Dr. Brian Emerson, Dr. Brian Allen and Dr. Kelly Barnard.

2. Dr. Chris Garrett, renowned physical oceanographer at the University of Victoria and chairman of the Capital Regional District’s marine monitoring advisory group, says the current system has a “very minor impact” on the marine environment, discharging a “thin grey soup” screened to the size of a pea, and rapidly diluting 100-fold.

“The vast majority of professional marine scientists on both sides of the border regard land-based sewage treatment as a low priority for marine environmental protection,” he says — and you can watch it at youtube.com.

Dr. Keith Martin, MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, says the issue “has been driven by fear, misperception, misinterpretation and plain ignorance. People who are responsible for the issue are deeply misinformed about it”.

Martin says it is not too late to stop this project and repair minor problems such as cracked storm-drain pipes. The billion dollars has far better uses than fixing what isn’t broken.

When Environment Minister Barry Penner said we are dumping raw sewage into the ocean, he was incorrect. There is no reason to proceed.

Elizabeth Woodworth, writer/head librarian, 1978-2002
Ministry of Health, Victoria

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