Current system poses no threat to human health
There have been many studies and reports about potential public health risks arising from Victoria’s present system of treating its sewage, and none have found any evidence that there is any significant risk of this happening, now or in the future.
Perhaps the most credible and legitimate statement on this subject came from an op-ed article published in the Times Colonist on February 24, 2008, written by six highly respected current and former public health officials, including the current Chief Medical Health Officer of the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Dr. Richard Stanwick, and former Provincial Health Officer Dr. John Millar.
In this detailed overview of the current and proposed treatment systems (read entire report here) these medical experts make it crystal clear that “there is no measurable public health risk from our two deep-sea outfalls.”
Another extensive study, by the CRD itself (Macaulay and Clover Point Wastewater and Marine Environment program, 2005 annual report) concluded, among other things, that “Surface water fecal coliform data for both outfalls indicate that human health risks are negligible.” This report included an analysis of potential direct contact pathways such as windsurfing, kayaking, and other public uses of the marine water near the Macaulay and Clover Point outfalls, and again found that health risks through these pathways were “negligible”
Excerpts from Health Officials’ letter:
“…there is no measurable public health risk from Victoria’s current method of offshore liquid waste disposal. There have been claims to the contrary, but the facts do not support these claims.”
“We are concerned that no assessment has yet been made of the environmental or health harms that could be caused by land-based sewage treatment plants – particularly when you consider the marine, land, community and global environments. What about the energy used by these plants? What about the green house gas production? What about the massive amounts of sludge or bio-solids that will have to be disposed of or treated?
“What about the impacts on communities of these treatment plants, their associated odors, the increased heavy traffic, and the impacts of sludge disposal on the community to which the sludge is trucked?
“And what about public health risks and impacts (traffic crash and other injuries, diesel truck emissions, chemical exposures, and infectious diseases) to workers, residents, and the community that may result?”
“The proposed additional treatment will not result in any improvement for public health and may in fact have a negative impact.”
“It makes sense to spend money for projects that improve and protect public health and the environment. It does not make sense to plan a massive public expenditure for which no measurable benefit has been identified.”