Biosolids will be created as a by-product of wastewater treatment at the new McLoughlin Point wastewater treatment facility. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Biosolids will be created as a by-product of wastewater treatment at the new McLoughlin Point wastewater treatment facility. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Capital Regional District approves land use for sewage biosolids

Biosolids to be used on land at Hartland Landfill for about one month per year

The Capital Regional District board plans to apply sewage biosolids to land at Hartland Landfill for a few weeks of the year for use as fertilizer and to cover active areas on the property.

This decision is a partial reversal of one made in 2011, which prohibited the spread of biosolids on land due to concerns about contamination and food production.

A new sewage treatment facility, the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, is expected to open later this year and leaves the CRD with the dilemma of what to do with 7,000 tonnes of Class A biosolids expected as a by-product of wastewater treatment.

The plan is to ship most of the sewage biosolids to the Lower Mainland to be used as fuel at cement plants but when the plants shut down for about one month out of the year, the CRD decided to apply them on land at Hartland Landfill. The board came up with this solution under pressure from the BC Ministry of the Environment, which only approved the plan to use biosolids as fuel for cement kilns under the condition that an alternate plan is presented for the few weeks the kilns shut down.

READ ALSO: CRD plans to use processed human feces from new wastewater treatment plant as fuel, fertilizer

The CRD cannot store the biosolids because there is not enough room on the landfill to store one month’s worth. If the CRD does not come up with a plan for the month’s worth of biosolids suited to the province, it could risk losing money for the sewage treatment project – a concern highlighted by CRD board chair Colin Plant.

“I am not willing, on behalf of the corporation, to risk any of the funding for this sewage project,” Plant said at the meeting. “This is not the first land application in the province … this is a short-term five to six-week solution.”

Plant noted CRD staff have said land application is not dangerous and that he is “choosing to trust” staff.

Saanich Coun. Rebecca Mersereau also supported the recommendation as a short-term solution. She said she sees it as the only option.

“It’s not something I relish,” Mersereau said. “I see it as our only option given the very direct response we received from the minister of environment … I think this is what we have to do in order to protect the CRD’s broader interest.”

Others at the meeting opposed the recommendation, suggesting other avenues besides land application.

READ ALSO: Capital Regional District plans to send dried sewage waste to mainland for use as fuel

Mike Hicks, director for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, said his constituents in the Willis Point area are “unanimously against” land application of biosolids. He said they were not consulted and that they are “deeply concerned” about water and air contamination.

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns also opposed, arguing there are alternatives and suggested the CRD ask the province for more time.

“We run up against time limits … and accept the recommendations,” Ranns said. “We’re just going further and further down this road and further ignoring the wishes of residents who do not want this to happen.”

In a press release sent out on Feb. 7, Philippe Lucas, a former Victoria councillor and CRD director as well as founder of Biosolid Free BC, strongly opposed the proposal for land application of biosolids.

“The simple truth is that the CRD isn’t proposing this to improve the local land environment any more than we’re currently dumping it into our oceans to grow bigger clams,” Lucas said in the release. “CRD staff are looking for a quick fix for a short-term problem, rather than looking for sustainable solutions that would respect the long-standing ban on land application, and protect the local environment.”

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Sooke Road was down to single lane alternating traffic after a motor vehicle incident Wednesday morning. (Google Maps)
UPDATED: Sooke Road reopen after motor vehicle incident

Emergency crews were on scene of Wednesday morning incident

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Most Read