Wednesday, October 24, 2007

City moves forward on sewage treatment plans

There may not be enough money in the city account these days for toilet paper, let alone an upgrade to the sewage system, but the city is pressing ahead with plans to find a way to treat the waste of Rupertites that is dumped into the harbour on a daily basis.

The City is embarking on a three phase process, leading up to mid 2009 and a final report that will cost out the expense of moving to a treated sewage system for the city.

The city's plans were presented as the front page story in Wednesday's Daily News.

By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Page one

Despite having cut $5.1 million out of this year's budget, the city still intends to start planning for a new way to treat its sewage this year.

Gord Howie, the city's corporate administrator, said the municipality has scheduled its first meeting with a consultant Oct. 29 to start looking at a Liquid Waste Management Plan - a plan to develop a more acceptable way to treat the city's sewage.

"There will be three stages to the study; the first will be reviewing the existing sewage systems, the second stage evaluates the options and stage three brings together the information from the first two and produces a strategic direction for council's consideration," said Howie.

Currently, the city of Prince Rupert discharges its sewage and storm water through pipes directly into the ocean.

"The reality is what was an acceptable standard in the early 1900s of putting long sewage outfalls out into the ocean and allowing the ocean to deal with treating sewage, is not acceptable today," said Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond.

However, bringing the city up to the new provincial standards is not without it's challenges, not the least of which is the large volume of rain the city receives.

"A lot of storm sewers and septic sewers are combined," he said. "If you put a treatment plant which requires a very sensitive mixture of microbes working away on the sewage treatment, it will work right until you get a rain event. But the rain event goes in and absolutely destroys the culture you have developed," he said.

However, fixing the system is a priority for the residents of Prince Rupert and while it is going to cost a lot of money, Pond said they are committed to starting the process.

"It's something the city wants to do and council wants to see done," he said.

Howie said the final recommendations from the report with costs and options for council should be ready by around the the middle of 2009.

Pond added that cruise ships that come into the harbour have much higher standards of sewage treatment than the city does. The city does not accept gray water waste from cruise ships because it would simply be dumped back in to the ocean.

'If anything, we should be dumping (our sewage) into them," he joked.

'They have comprehensive treatment systems."

No comments:

Post a Comment