Seven arguments against the sewage plan

The CRD sewage plan is incredibly expensive

The largest and most expensive sewage plan ever proposed in Canada, its estimated capital cost of at least a billion dollars will add an additional tax burden of $450–$1250 (depending on the final cost) each year for every ratepayer in the region, for the entire 40-year planned lifetime of the project. This will impact everyone, as home and apartment owners will pass these costs on to renters.

This plan doesn't solve existing sewage problems

With its focus on adding expensive, polluting, and energy-intensive biosolid plants to the system, the CRD’s plan doesn’t deal with keeping out toxics from the sewage stream by increasing public education and monitoring, and it doesn’t solve the storm runoff problems that have resulted in raw sewage being washed up on our beaches. It is a poorly-conceived, “end-of-the-pipe” solution.

It would create serious new environmental problems

Instead of ocean discharge—not ideal but not scientifically proven to be harmful—the plan would use the atmosphere as a dumping ground. Transporting and burning sewage sludge in cement kilns and waste incinerators in the Lower Mainland will impact Vancouver’s already poor air quality and increase greenhouse gas emissions. The environmental benefits of this plan have not been established. It will negatively impact the environment and destroy public green space.

It doesn't really improve the marine environment

The Minister of Environment claims that ocean disposal is destroying the marine environment, and some leading BC marine environmental groups have supported him, without examining his claim. But many marine scientists and public health officials disagree. This claim has never been proven. The CRD plan may or may not improve the marine environment, but it will certainly affect people's health and increase global warming. It still would allow ocean discharge of waste water.

Public process has been flawed and inadequate

Public input has been controlled and ignored throughout the process. People should have been involved at all stages, but this did not happen. The detailed recommendations of a hand-picked Technical and Community Advisory Committee were brushed aside, and apart from accepting input on whether the project should be publicly or privately owned, the public has not been given adequate opportunity to comment on the wisdom of the plan’s basic architecture or its details.

Markets for the biosolid wastes have not been secured

Buyers for the biosolid wastes and even a site for the central sludge plant in Victoria Harbour have not been secured. Biosolid wastes are not safe for use on forest or agricultural land, so the CRD will have to transport this toxic, smelly product by truck or pipeline to the Hartland landfill and build an expensive incinerator, adding to the project’s already enormous cost.

The push to privatise services is driving the process

Looking for a way to privatise municipal services, the BC government has used public concern about sewage as an excuse to mandate on-land tertiary sewage treatment. The government ordered the CRD to present a Business Case for private ownership, then avoided an environmental assessment by placing the project under the Environmental Land Management Act (ELM) without ever justifying the environmental need or benefits of the project or its social impacts.