Letter: Wastewater expansion an expensive solution looking for a problem


I attended the Whiffin Spit wastewater expansion information meeting at Sooke Municipal Hall on Sept. 15. Sooke staff did an excellent job presenting the facts and figures about the proposed expansion and answering questions.

Sooke adopted its liquid waste management plan (LWMP) in 2010. The LWMP identifies Whiffin Spit and Kaltasin as areas for sewer expansion.

Sooke staff have a responsibility under the plan to go through the processes necessary to bring this about. At the end of the process, homeowners in these areas will have a chance to vote on whether they want the expansion.

In my opinion, this is an expensive solution looking for a problem.

Three reasons were presented for expanding sewer service to Whiffin Spit:

The first is the fact that it is in the LWMP, therefore it should be done.

The second is environmental concerns. Stormwater monitoring indicated that “raw sewage is still present in Sooke Harbour with specific traces to human bacteria.” No data was presented to quantify this, and it was not flagged as a critical situation.

The third is economic benefit. A sewer system in Whiffin Spit would provide the economic benefit of allowing for further development here.

Sooke is in the process of adopting CRD Bylaw 3479, which will see the CRD manage and monitor all septic systems in Sooke. Owners of Type 1 systems (septic tank and drain field) will have to have their tanks pumped every two to five years. Over time this will improve water quality in Sooke Harbour.

I cannot support spending up to $16 million to put a sewer system in Whiffin Spit with so little, if any, commensurate benefit. That amount of money does not factor in the environmental costs that a project of this magnitude would incur.

Peter Rambo


ALSO READ: Behind the scenes at the Sooke wastewater plant


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