Four letters to the Editor

Sewage treatment is a waste of money

Almost every day there is an editorial or letter bemoaning the ongoing funding cuts by the provincial government and the impacts they will have on the disadvantaged, the ill and the less fortunate.

And yet Victoria continues to stumble toward a financial Armageddon by spending a billion dollars on a land-based sewage treatment system that is not only unnecessary but that will create new and expensive problems (construction and operating costs, disposal of sludge, etc.).

The Capital Regional District and the province seem determined to ignore the informed science-based opinions of marine engineers, oceanographers and public-health officials who have all stated repeatedly that the current screened, deep outfall dispersion of our sewage into the fast-flowing currents of Juan de Fuca Strait is an effective and environmentally benign way for us to dispose of our natural bodily wastes.

Despite what the proponents of this harebrained, politically correct scheme say, the fact remains that our current sewage treatment system works well by all public health and engineering standards. To squander our hard-earned tax dollars on this project when so many legitimate and needed public services are being systematically and mercilessly cut back is senseless and irresponsible.

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Graydon Gibson

Sewage treatment long overdue

I am writing to support treatment of our community's sewage. We discharge 130 million litres of raw sewage and toxins daily into our oceans. This is the largest raw sewage discharge in Canada.

The seabed around the outfalls is contaminated and the shellfish closure was expanded to 60 square kilometres in part due to the sewage discharge. We have come a long way in recent years toward establishing the sewage treatment that is needed to protect one of our precious resources and our children's future.

Sewage treatment is mandated by both provincial and federal regulation and is supported by over 80 per cent of CRD residents and all three levels of government, First Nations, local businesses, local labour organizations and the local tourism and environmental communities.

This issue has been debated for over 40 years. Now is the time for action.

Caroline Covil

Sewage outfalls far off shore

I wish to correct the May 19 report on the sewage outfalls. The outfall at Clover Point is 1.1 kilometres offshore and at the end of it is a 196-metre diffuser, 60 metres below the surface of the ocean.

The outfall at Macaulay Point is 1.7 kilometres offshore and at the end of it is a 135-metre diffuser, 65 metres below the surface of the ocean. It is through these two engineer-designed outfalls that an average flow of 103,400 cubic metres of liquid waste (which is 99.97 per cent water) is discharged each day, after passing through six-millimetre screens.

The effluent is then treated naturally by the ocean waters.

Dr. Shaun Peck

Stop sitting on the pot, move on treatment

The debate over sewage treatment is moot. Eighty per cent of Capital Regional District residents support sewage treatment. We also have the support of all three levels of government, First Nations, local businesses and local labour organizations. Sure, there are a few scientists that favour dilution as the solution to the pollution, but we all know the ocean is not a big toilet for us to dump sewage and toxins into.

Besides, the evidence of harm is clear: The seabed around the outfalls is contaminated with toxins, the shellfish closure was increased to 60 square kilometres partly due to raw sewage discharge and animal diversity in Victoria Bight has decreased dramatically.

Thankfully, the CRD is making progress in developing a plan to treat our sewage. It is carefully considering facility placement, community concerns and resource recovery.

Hopefully, construction of the system will begin next year, which will be great as Victoria will no longer be sitting on the pot aimlessly.

James Skwarok