The following is a letter submitted regarding the South Sewer Project. The author has requested I not use their name. It is interesting reading and provides information not supplied by the CVRD.
I’m not in favour of any of the four options regarding the South Sewer
for the Comox Valley Regional District.
First of all, I do not favour any option that would pipe treated
sewage into the ocean, whether it be into Baynes Sound or any other
body of water. So that rules out “Scenario A”, “Scenario B”, and
“Scenario C” of the South Sewer Plan.
I strongly believe that we should follow the lead of places in the
world such as the southern part of the State of Florida where after
2025, no (treated) effluent is allowed to be piped into the ocean.
By-products of treated sewage such as ammonia as well as nitrogen and
phosphorus (which are directly leaked to algal blooms) could be the
death knell for aquaculture in the area. I can’t imagine what would
happen if several shellfish growers were to sue the CVRD (meaning us,
the ratepayers) if suddenly the aquaculture industry went “belly up”
after parts of our coastal waters became a “dead zone” due to sewer
discharges! There is too much risk to our waters that support 50% of
the aquaculture in B.C.!
Since I haven’t seen the results of the recent exploratory drilling
testing at Argyle, I can’t favour “Scenario D” which is to discharge
the effluent into the ground at depth.
Long-time drilling experts in Union Bay have noted that there is
predominance of bedrock in our area which creates a poor receiving
environment for such a discharge. And what would happen if there were
some kind of problem or a disaster in a few years were to happen with
this discharge into the ground? According to drilling experts, there
would be no way to reverse the process and suck the treated sewage out
of the deep aquifer where it was originally discharged. I believe
this Option to be too risky.
I strongly believe that in this 21st Century, wastewater should be re-
used instead of being discharged into the ocean or soil. The Comox
Valley could become a leader in water reuse with this South Sewer
project. But the choices for sewer discharge are clearly out-dated
and are environmentally poor choices.
Lastly, in the best interests of democracy, a Referendum vote should
be required for the residents who will be under this new South Sewer
Plan. The results of the 2006 Union Bay/Royston Sewer Referendum held
in 2006 should not be factored in to this new Application. The 2006
Sewer Proposal budget was far less — just under $29 million dollars
with the Kensington contribution. And more importantly, the 2006
Proposal was assuming that a 2/3rd grant would be obtained to offset
the residents’ burden of payment. In addition, Judging by the
turnover in homeowners on my street, I believe that the majority of
residents who will be impacted by the South Sewer was not even living
here for the last Sewer Referendum in 2006.