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Esquimalt to get sole sewage plant

Region selects McLoughlin Point for liquids-only treatment facility

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Kim Westad, Times Colonist, June 24, 2010

The Capital Regional District board approved McLoughlin Point as the site for the region’s only sewage treatment plant yesterday, despite the objections of Esquimalt’s mayor.

Barb Desjardins voted against the motion, as did Saanich councillor Vic Derman and View Royal Mayor Graham Hill, but they were outvoted by the other 10 board members.

“We had a number of concerns, but they fell on deaf ears,” Desjardins said.

“Very deaf ears,” Derman said.

The CRD has been ordered by the provincial government to have secondary sewage treatment in place by 2016. Currently, sewage passes through a six-millimetre screen before it shoots into the ocean.

The board needed to make a decision on siting by the end of the month to meet deadlines for provincial and federal government funding. They are to share the cost of treatment with the CRD.

The region’s sewage committee has been considering plans for the past four years, with more than $20 million spent on studies and
engineering reports on a variety of sewage treatment configurations.

At one point, up to 11 small treatment plants were considered. However, the committee decided in a recent closed-door meeting that
only one treatment plant is needed to treat the region’s liquid sewage and McLoughlin Point is a large enough site, despite earlier concerns that it wasn’t.

That’s in part because the province changed its course on water reuse. Because the region has done so well in water conservation, the
province removed the requirement that the treatment system reuse water. That freed up more space at McLoughlin, a former oil tank farm on Victoria View Road.

The McLoughlin site will be a liquids-only treatment facility. A separate biosolids digestion facility will be built at either Hartland
landfill or another industrial location. The CRD is still looking for an alternate site to Hartland because piping the sludge, which is left
over after the liquids are processed, the 18 kilometres to Hartland would cost $65 million. That could be cut in half if a closer site is
found.

Underground storage tanks will be built in Saanich instead of a second treatment plant. They will hold excess wastewater during storms.

A West Shore treatment plant will be deferred until at least 2030. The Clover Point wet-weather facility has been eliminated pending approval by the provincial environment ministry. Clover Point and Macaulay Point pump stations will be upgraded to pump wastewater to the McLoughlin site. The Craigflower pump station will also be upgraded.

The cost of the approved plan is estimated at $782 million, down from a high of $1.2-billion estimated at one point for a different
configuration.

Sewage committee chairwoman Judy Brownoff has written Esquimalt council a letter confirming that no sludge will be transported using trucks.

Desjardins said the municipality is also concerned about the construction of the pipeline ripping up roads and disrupting
neighbourhoods for years.

She said she’ll talk to Esquimalt council and the community about what amenities the municipality will ask for in return for having the treatment plant.

The CRD plans community consultations with Esquimalt residents in July and September. Those aren’t about whether McLoughlin should be used as the site, Brownoff said, but rather about community benefit packages, and concerns residents might have about the facility.

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