Aug 232017

If new sewage plants on Georgia Strait, also known as the Salish Sea (west coast of Canada, between mainland and Vancouver Island), designed for “marine disposal” of liquid effluent are of interest to you,

I attended the RDN (Regional District of Nanaimo) Board Meeting last night.

RE:   proposed Bowser Sewage Treatment Plant.  It’s been in the works for years.

The Board voted to proceed to the next step.   By far the majority of people who attended, most from Bowser, are opposed.  There’s a lawsuit in the works, the challenge alleges illegal process (environmental requirements).

From my perspective,  the Bowser Sewage Treatment Plant with “marine disposal”  is an issue for everyone.   And also an opportunity:  it becomes clear how limited the options for Bowser are.   The RDN ruled out disposal “on land” – – there isn’t a block of land that can be sacrificed.   (dollar signs in the air:  land developers.)

IMHO, we have to stop putting liquid effluent into oceans and seas, which includes Georgia Strait.  “Marine disposal” is not an option!  Sewage treatment plants, even those with names and processes to bamboozle the public, do not and cannot remove the most problematic of the ingredients.   Chemicals.   We learned that, through the effort to get the City of Saskatoon to stop putting a chemical combo called vaporooter down sewer lines to dissolve tree roots.

For one of the two chemicals in vaporooter, the City could not find a lab anywhere, that knew how to test for the presence of the chemical in water.  For the other,  it cost $3,000 (in 2004)  to test for the presence of that one chemical in a water sample, taken at one point in time, from one location.  In addition,  you have to know WHICH chemicals to test for the presence of.   Tests are for specific, known pollutants in water.  There is no magical way to know what chemicals have been flushed down a toilet or storm sewer.  Nor do we know interactions between chemicals, or accumulated effects.  It is irresponsible to advocate for the construction of more “marine disposal”.   Surely to God, we know enough about the health of the oceans, to understand this.

If you know about composting toilets,  they are the obvious option, the one left on the table – – but not one person at the meeting spoke about it.  Presenters have 5 minutes.  I focused on the economic information;  the projected costs in the Engineers’ Report (Stantech) are a million dollars more than reported in the local newspaper, which is where most residents obtain their information.   For a very small population to spread costs over,  a million dollar under-statement is very significant.   People tend to be responsive to their bank accounts.

My experience, composting toilets, is with the Eco Centre on the highway between Saskatoon and Regina at Craik, SK.  It opened in 2004 with composting toilets.  The public washrooms were lovely.   Well-designed.  The composting worked very well;  the manure went onto the golf course.  The Centre unfortunately burnt down last year, amid controversy.

The idea of composting was non-existent at the RDN meeting.

The generation that informs and is making the decision (looking around the RDN Board table and staff) is an older generation.

Since the meeting, I happened on people in the area who “get it” completely.   And are knowledgeable.  A Canadian manufacturer of composting toilets, Envirolet, has been in business since 1977,   One person has been using one for years, and mentioned that Calgary is big on them.

I found this CBC article, 2008, The Amazing Composting Toilet 

Composting toilets don’t use water, among other benefits.   Another thing I did not hear questioned:  the proposed sewage treatment adds to the draw on the local water supply.   But just think of the number of people around the planet whose “liquid effluent” is disposed of into oceans.   It is an astronomical amount of “fresh” water, that, by design (deliberately), 24 hours a day, every day of the year, becomes salt water.   That is not “smart” design.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>