Victoria residents worried as construction for $765M sewage plant begins

James Bay resident Deanne Loubardeas has been fretting about the sewage treatment plant project that’s getting underway just across Victoria harbour from her home. 

Construction begins this month for the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, a $765-million Capital Regional District (CRD) project that will serve Greater Victoria and end the controversial century-old practice of dumping untreated sewage into the ocean. 

Residents of James Bay, like Loubardeas, now face months of drilling and trenching for sewer pipes that will connect a pump station to the plant across Victoria harbour. It has left residents feeling uncertain about the future of their community, uncertain of what the James Bay breezes will bring from the treatment facility a kilometre away in Esquimalt. 

“I’ve lost a lot of sleep and I’ve gnashed my teeth and chewed my wrists for weeks over this,” Loubardeas, a James Bay resident of nearly 18 years, tells Yahoo Canada News in a phone interview. 

Other neighbours are also worried. When newcomer Ruth Abramson moved to Victoria for work and purchased a home in sought-after James Bay last spring, politicians were still debating on a location. She had no idea the new sewage plant might affect her.

Esquimalt was just one of many locations under consideration for the sewage facility. The Vancouver native bought her house not realizing that it could be built just across the harbour. 

“I’m totally all for a sewage treatment plant,” says Abramson, in a phone interview. “I think it’s really important and I want one. I just didn’t want to live right by it.” 

Marg Gardiner, president of James Bay Neighbourhood Association, says her community hasn’t gotten the same attention as Esquimalt and Fairfield even though it will bear the most impact of the project. 

She’s also concerned about the environmental effects of trenching along parts of scenic Dallas Road, which she fears could greatly accelerate the deterioration of the bluffs.

A done deal 

To address the issue of sewage pollution in Canadian oceans and rivers, the federal government passed legislation in 2012 that requires municipalities and communities to provide at least secondary treatment of wastewater, which removes not only solid waste but also dissolved organic material. 

Victoria, Vancouver and 11 other cities and communities have until the end of 2020 to comply with the federal law, while 17 wastewater systems and another 33 have until 2030 and 2040, according to Environment Canada. Municipalities that don’t meet their prescribed deadlines face charges and hefty fines. 

There are three levels of wastewater treatment in Canada: primary, secondary and tertiary with the latter two removing a higher percentage of contaminants from the effluent before it’s released into the environment. 

In 2016, Victoria discharged 32.9 billion litres of effluent or about 90.2 million litres a day from two long underwater pipes that run 60 metres below the ocean’s surface. 

When the new tertiary treatment plant begins operations, it will process up to 108 million litres of wastewater a day — or about 39.4 billion litres a year — from the seven municipalities and two First Nations communities in Greater Victoria.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who was contacted for this story, has told residents of James Bay, Esquimalt and Fairfield that the city and the CRD will work to mitigate construction impacts. 

In a comment piece on April 6, Jane Bird, the head of the provincially-appointed wastewater treatment project board, says “there will be no detectable odour in the surrounding community.” 

The CRD hosted two information meetings this month and recently posted new information about noise and odour levels. Plant noise won’t exceed 35 decibels in Victoria, below the feared 60 decibels that a zoning bylaw permits. And modelling shows plant odour levels will be about 2 OUs (odour units), compared to the maximum allowable 5 OUs. 

‘A huge milestone’ 

Getting to this construction phase is “a huge milestone” for the community, says Christianne Wilhelmson, executive director of the Georgia Strait Alliance, which advocates for sewage treatment. 

“It is actually really phenomenal that this is finally happening,” she says.   

Wilhelmson, who followed the sewage treatment plant’s journey for 15 years, says it is regrettable that it has taken decades and so much money in studies and consultants to get it done. 

“There were a group of people in Victoria who firmly believed without a shadow of a doubt that dumping raw sewage into the ocean was perfectly reasonable, caused no harm and it was ridiculous to spend money on treating something that, according to them, nature treated on itself,” she says. 

The B.C. government finally intervened last May by appointing a project board to make sure a plan was in place in September 2016 to qualify for provincial and federal funding

The residents’ concerns about noise, odours and impacts of construction on the environment are valid. “If Victoria had built this system 50 years ago like they should have, we wouldn’t have to have these very difficult conversations,” Wilhelmson says. 

“I hope eventually that this is no longer a subject that takes up so much energy in Victoria,” she says. “Victoria could turn its attention to other things about making that city and that region so wonderful.”

by Showwei Chu | April 17, 2017

Read the original article here: https://ca.news.yahoo.com/victoria-residents-worried-construction-765m-sewage-plant-begins-165220130.html


May 16, 2017

Digital transformation in the real estate industry

While digital transformation has disrupted almost every type of business, the real estate industry has been traditionally slow to move with the times – until now, according to participants at a recent 2nd Asia Pacific Leadership Symposium in Hong Kong organised by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Read More
May 15, 2017

Trust-based teams build better

Award-winning author and futurist Rex Miller says the way most construction projects are carried out now drives good people to do bad things.
Read More
conezonebc.jpg
May 15, 2017

VPD Steps Up Enforcement in Support of Roadside Worker Safety

The B.C. Cone Zone Campaign coincides with the increase in roadside work throughout the province in the warmer months of the year. In the City of Vancouver, major road construction and repair projects will be as much as 25 percent greater than the same period in 2016.
Read More
modular.jpg
May 05, 2017

Manufacturing is shifting the future of construction

The future of design and construction is about finding efficiencies and building a faster, cheaper and better quality product. Design for manufacture and assembly (DFMA) incorporates all those elements under one roof, stated several industry experts during a recent presentation on the future of modular construction.
Read More
May 02, 2017

Lean construction: More than common sense

Lean is far from the novel concept it was back in the ‘50s when Toyota first popularized it. Yet, here we are in 2017, and a new lean event, whitepaper, seminar, book, association, or video seems to pop up everyday.
Read More
eNews - CKNW.jpg
April 30, 2017

CKNW Future of Work Series: The future of Construction

According to the B.C. Construction Association, by the year 2025, there will be 15,000 unfilled construction jobs throughout B.C. As an older generation of workers start to head into retirement, younger workers will be needed to fill the roles and keep the industry thriving.
Read More
lumber.jpg
April 27, 2017

Trump Imposes Tariffs up to 24% on Canadian Softwood Lumber

Softwood lumber, often used for structural framing and decking, among other uses, may be seeing a price increase in the US in the near future. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has announced that they will be imposing tariffs of up to 24% on all softwood lumber imported from Canada.
Read More
April 27, 2017

Robotic fabricator could change how buildings are constructed

Back in the 1970s, robots revolutionized the auto industry doing a wide range of jobs more reliably and quickly than humans. Before long people were touting robotics for use in construction. But a construction site is a complex place posing unique problems, which is why fabrication of complex elements is sometimes done off-site.
Read More
DJI_00151-533x400.jpg
April 26, 2017

Drones provide new perspective on job sites

UAV or drone adoption is one of the fastest growing uses of technology in construction, and inspecting icy rooftops is only one of many emerging applications leading to safer jobsites, better dissemination of information, and in some cases, precise measurement.
Read More
Riskchart1.jpg
April 26, 2017

Future disruption and the race to collective intelligence

If ever there were an industry ripe for disruption, it is construction. Mega-trends like globalization, asset management, and new technology are beginning to turn this long unchanged industry inside out. So, how do industry players stay on the winning side of future disruptions?
Read More
April 20, 2017

6 Tips for Stressed Out Superintendents

More than any other construction pro, the superintendent is the closest to a jack-of-all-trades. Besides needing to recall vast amounts of technical information at a minute’s notice, you also have to stay one minute ahead of a rapidly changing environment.
Read More
drywallsupport.jpg
April 20, 2017

Drywall Support Program commences on May 1

The Government of Canada is providing relief to Western and Northern Canadian drywall contractors and builders who faced unexpected losses due to the duties imposed on imported drywall from the United States.
Read More
PM-CCA.png
April 19, 2017

CCA project management guide aims to be all-inclusive

A task force on project management services delivery is in the final stages of developing a guide that aims to shed some light into how stakeholders involved in a project can interact with project management (PM) firms and what roles and responsibilities those involved have.
Read More
April 16, 2017

E-gloves aim to protect workers from vibrations

You might find it doubtful that a new sort of work glove, no matter how "smart," is capable of protecting construction workers from dangerous vibration levels. But the magic word nowadays is "sensors." They are in your phone, in your car, in your home humidifier, in all sorts of devices.
Read More