Cowichan sewage outfall move gets $6 million grant

The federal government has earmarked $6 million from the Gas Tax Fund for a major sewer project in the Cowichan Valley.

The federal government has earmarked $6 million from the Gas Tax Fund for a major sewer project in the Cowichan Valley.

The funding will be used for the approximately $24.5-million project to move the Joint Utilities Board treated effluent outfall from the Cowichan River to Satellite Channel.

The initiative is a joint project by the Municipality of North Cowichan, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, City of Duncan and Cowichan Tribes.

The local governments have also applied for another $6 million grant from the federal Build Canada Fund for the project, and are still waiting for word on whether that grant application was successful.

North Cowichan is responsible for paying 53.7 per cent of whatever costs there are for the project after grants, while the Cowichan Valley Regional District, City of Duncan and Cowichan Tribes are required to provide the rest.

Each group uses the outfall system as part of their sewage infrastructure, with each responsible to pay for the percentage of the system they use.

North Cowichan already has $10 million set aside from its south-end sewer reserve fund for the project.

North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said that he’s “pleased” that the grant from the Gas Tax Fund will pay for almost 25 per cent of the project.

“We still may receive another $6 million from the Build Canada Fund,” he said.

“Council will decide how best to move forward as it becomes clear exactly what our funding sources are.”

The project involves the construction of a new treated-effluent pump station at the treatment plant and a 13-kilometre pipeline from the pump station to Satellite Channel.

Construction of the pump station is expected to begin in 2018, with the construction of the pipeline scheduled to follow in 2019.

While the effluent is currently treated to a high quality, the new discharge location will provide significantly more dilution and better mixing of the treated effluent compared to the current discharge location in the Cowichan River.

The project will also reduce the flood risk to the treatment plant during the winter months and provide opportunities to explore greenhouse-gas emissions reduction strategies and energy recovery.

Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, said the funding announcement is “excellent news”.

“Local governments require stable, long-term federal funding so that vital infrastructure is there when our communities need it,” he said.

“Building and maintaining public infrastructure in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford will create jobs, employing people who live in this area and boosting our local economy.”