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Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 12, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Victoria sewage: Discharge into strait is a natural process

The Victoria Times Colonist reprinted The Seattle Times’ editorial concerning Victoria’s alleged sewage problem ["Victoria sewage creates new stink," Opinion, June 8].  However, we presently  have a very effective disposal system: discharge of finely screened sewage into deep, cold, fast-flowing, well-oxygenated, saline tidal waters — a natural treatment system.

The 2006 report by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America (a panel of internationally recognized Canadian and American scientists and engineers) found only very minimal and very local  impact on the marine environment. They recommended only continuing monitoring and assessment, not the construction of an onshore treatment plant or plants at a probable $1 billion cost plus overruns.

Sewage treatment for Victoria has been mandated on ill-informed political grounds alone over the objections of the local health officer, scientists and engineers. As I assured San Juan residents in 2008 and stated to you in 2010,  “proper” sewage treatment will come to Victoria some day. “Politicians scent votes in sewage, they love spending the taxpayers money and ribbon-cutting photo-ops are wonderful.   The sewage issue is all a load of crap…” How could it be any different if both American and Canadian politicians get involved?

M.R. Barr, chemistry professor emeritus, Royal Roads Military College, Victoria, B.C.

Comments | More in Environment | Topics: M.R. Barr, Royal Roads Military College, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America

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