Wastewater disposal plan unsatisfactory

Cowichan’s wastewater environmental challenge could become a significant local economy builder

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Wastewater disposal plan unsatisfactory

Thank you for publishing Robert Barron’s article, “Possible routes identified for new Cowichan sewage pipe to carry effluent out to sea”, on page A9 of the Oct. 29, 2020 issue. It offered much insight to a sad situation in the Cowichan Valley. This is an opportunity for North Cowichan to take action on significant innovations vital to the difficult decisions we must make on wastewater disposal.

Cowichan Tribes have been very understanding since allowing a lagoon system on their land in the 1960s, but the agreement to cease discharge into the Cowichan River by 2021 will not be solved with a quick and dirty plan based on “dilution is the solution”! The long pipe is a bizarre and completely unsatisfactory outcome offered by Clay Reitsma. I wonder if a discharge pipe to Separation Channel will cheer residents of Maple Bay, Salt Spring Island and Crofton? Residents of the San Juan Islands and Seattle have sued Greater Victoria for a similar approach. The senior manager of Engineering is proposing an approach to disposing sewage effluent Greater Victoria is only now solving with a new plant at Mcloughlin Point. In 2021 when the Esquimalt plant goes into operation it will make the Cowichan Valley the worst water polluter on Canada’s west coast!

This catastrophe must be a call to action for our MLA and MP as well. Cowichan’s wastewater environmental challenge could become a significant local economy builder — a green solution with benefits! This is a chance for North Cowichan to explore federal and provincial support as we search for ways out of the COVID Depression. Building infrastructure for the Cowichan Valley is exactly what is required at this time. To suggest the lagoons are a “secondary/tertiary hybrid” is a dangerous exaggeration. Plan to build a proper tertiary plant able to separate dangerous and beneficial materials while producing recycled water. And if a pipe is to be built it should be directed out into our forests for irrigation and forest fire prevention — yes land irrigation will become more practical as global warming reduces flow in our rivers.

Please, stop this exploitation of our peoples and water courses and think big when it comes to wastewater disposal.

Bruce Clarke

Cowichan Bay

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