Potential west-side sewage-treatment sites identified

At least 20 potential sewage-treatment sites in the West Shore communities of Colwood, Langford, View Royal and Esquimalt have been identified.

Compiled by the Westside Solutions technical committee, the sites were selected based on their size and proximity to trunk lines, potential outfalls, neighbourhoods and developments that could take advantage of resource-recovery opportunities.

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The next step will be to determine which sites are truly feasible through a series of public roundtables today, May 9 and May 13, said Esquimalt Mayor and Westside Solutions co-chair Barb Desjardins.

“There’s absolutely no point in bringing forward 20 possibilities if they are not real possibilities,” Desjardins said.

The committee reached a number of preliminary conclusions, including:

• There’s at least one site in each of the municipalities that could accommodate that municipality’s sewage.

• Some of the sites are large enough to handle sewage flows from all of the West Shore communities as well as flows from both Victoria and Saanich that currently go into the Macaulay outfall through the northwest trunk.

• Several of the sites are large enough to process biosolids in addition to sewage treatment.

While the sites have the support of the respective municipal councils based on technical feasibility, “the municipalities cannot and do not guarantee successful rezoning of the sites and do not recommend any of these sites in particular,” the report says.

The committee notes that results of public surveys during open houses show a significant concern for high environmental standards, “but sometimes concern for the environment tends to fall off rapidly if the costs are too high.”

Asked to rank important features of treatment, those surveyed ranked removal of harmful materials at the bottom, while ensuring the facility was hidden and had no odour ranked at the top.

Desjardins said the findings are no surprise. “When people think of the word sewage, the two things [they think] are: ‘Uck. I don’t want to see it and I don’t want to smell it.’ ”

The locations of the potential sites won’t be released because many of them are privately owned. A joint west-side/east-side presentation of site options is tentatively planned for June.

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