OPINION: How we can save $100-million on our sewage treatment project at McCloughlin Point
OPINION COLUMN by Donald Roughley
Mr. Roughley is a civil engineer and Victoria resident. He’s the former City Manager of Victoria, Scarborough and Waterloo; Director of Engineering in Hamilton; Director of Transportation in Hamilton Wentworth Region; and Corporate Vice President of Delcan Engineering, Vancouver.
The Sewage Treatment Plant is moving ahead for a number of municipalities (Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich, View Royal, Langford and Colwood) at McLoughlin Point, in the next number of weeks.
Interestingly, the sewage treatment plant will be built at the entrance to Victoria Harbour on the east side of a point of land, while the west side of the point, is a part of the holdings of Department of National Defence (DND). There is no question that the east side site is small for the long term and the plants needed expansion in the future. Based on the population growth of the above noted municipalities, if land on the west side is not available for that future expansion, it would be required that the design and build of another sewage treatment plant in some other location, at great cost to the public, in the not too distant future.
The CRD advised many months ago that they attempted to buy the lands on the west side of the point of land and were advised, that DND would not release the lands from their ownership.
It has been stated, by some, that by the time the McLoughlin Sewage Treatment Plant is built, the plant will be operationally up to the designed throughput capacity and therefore an immediate expansion of the sewage treatment plant will need to be considered. Obviously, consideration must be given to some other location, at great cost or as an expansion to the lands on the west side of the point of land now owned by DND. Action would be required to buy those lands from DND or from the federal government.
The present sewage plan provides that the biosolids plant would be built and operated at the regional dump site and that two pipes would be built from the McLoughlin Sewage Treatment Plant, some 16-km to the dump at a estimated cost of $196-million. Logically, to acquire the west side of the point of land, would be very economic, as it would permit the build of the biosolids plant on the west side, at this time and save operational costs over time, based on a removable of the biosolids plant at the dump site including elimination of the cost of the construction of the piping to the regional dump, in the order of $100-million cost savings and provide sufficient lands for a needed, later expansion of the sewage treatment plant when design throughput would be reached.
In light of the enormous costs ($190-million) for the piping and the biosolids plant, that the lands on the west side of the point of land should be acquired immediately or provided by the federal government to save monies, as above, in the order of $100-million and to provide land the for build of the biosolids plant, at this time and the later expansion of the sewage treatment plant.
The question is, why has the westerly lands not been acquired to date, to save millions to eliminate the build of the two pipe pipeline and provide lands for future expansion of the sewage treatment plant and the build and operation of the biosolids plant, at least cost?
I provided an opinion in an editorial in the Victoria Times-Colonist, over three years ago, that the site, (one half approximately of the point of land) was too small and more land should therefore be acquired at the site for the sewage treatment plant, so that a biosolids plant could be built on the west side lands. This position was discussed with the CRD and that the CRD should politically deal with the Prime Minister and explain that this would mean a major cost saving to the project, as previously referred to. The CRD took no action to present a business case to the Prime Minister’s Office, on this matter and we continue to be told that the pipes and biosolids plant would be built at the dump, at a cost of $190-million.
Notwithstanding there are now discussions happening with vendors who are offering systems to deal with the biosolids, the west side of the point of the land should be acquired for later expansion of the sewage treatment plant, the elimination of the two pipes to the dump and the build of the biosolids plant. If no arrangement can be made with a vendor for treatment and disposal of biosolids, the cost savings are in the order of $100-million.