Victoria wastewater treatment plant to be online this year

Long-awaited project undergoing testing now

By Victoria News and Peninsula Daily News

VICTORIA — A $775-million Greater Victoria wastewater treatment project in the works for more than a decade is less than six months from completion.

Testing has already begun on the Capital Regional District’s new wastewater treatment project, and infrastructure is on track to meet the provincial and federal deadlines to have the system operating by Dec. 31, said CRD board chair Colin Plant.

Once completed, the capital of British Columbia will begin discharging clean, treated wastewater into the same Strait of Juan de Fuca as Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Townsend and other North Olympic Peninsula locales as well as other coastal cities in Canada.

Currently, Greater Victoria’s wastewater, which includes water from washing dishes, doing laundry and flushing the toilet, is discharged through two 39-inch sewer outfall pipes into the sea a little over a half-mile from shore.

That has sparked pleas from Gov. Jay Inslee, U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and the state’s Democratic congressional delegation, including Derek Kilmer of the 6th Congressional District, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula, to British Columbia Premier Christy Clark.

The McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant will receive tertiary treatment, one of the highest levels of contaminant-reduction processes, before it’s discharged into the ocean about 1¼ miles from shore and less than a half-mile below the surface.

Since it started, the project has gone $10 million over budget — 1.6 percent of the budgeted cost, Plant noted.

Plant said change was slow in Victoria because a belief in the power of the ocean’s currents and oxygen levels promoted the idea that the region could discharge waste without harming the environment.

“We are one of the last, if not the last, coastal communities that discharges wastewater into the ocean untreated,” Plant said. “That’s not something we are particularly proud of.

“It may have been acceptable 50 years ago … but in 2020 we are concerned with respecting and being stewards of the ocean.”

Another delay occurred in 2014 when the Esquimalt City Council refused to rezone the logical Victoria Harbour spot at an outfall under McLoughlin Point.

In 2016, the Capital Regional District (CRD) approved McLoughlin Point as the site of the new treatment plant, with a plan that included a smaller footprint and other improvements advocated by Esquimalt officials.

Fisheries, wildlife, recreation and public health will benefit, but it isn’t just what’s removed — there’s also something gained — a dark, dry granular pellet classified as the highest standard of biosolid.

For now, the CRD is smoothing out a plan to have the biosolids sent to a cement manufacturer in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the long-term, though, Plant hopes they will be put to use much closer to home.

“The moment we have finalized our deal with the cement factories … we will then turn our attention, almost immediately, to how this can benefit our region,” he said.


Victoria News is a publication of Black Press, the parent company of Sound Publishing. Sound Publishing owns the Peninsula Daily News.

More in News

No one was hurt in a fire at the Port Townsend Paper Mill on Saturday afternoon. East Jefferson Fire Rescue firefighters were called to the mill at 2:40 p.m. after a blaze began in an enclosed conveyor belt carrying wood chips into the mill and spread into the sixth floor, according to fire district spokesperson Phyllis Speser. The fire sent a black cloud into the sky, according to reports. The blaze in the conveyor belt was put out by 3:16 p.m. and the sixth floor fire at 3:31 p.m., Speser said. The cause remained under investigation on Sunday. Assisting were Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue, Clallam County Fire District 3, Poulsbo Fire Department and Quilcene Fire Rescue. (East Jefferson Fire Rescue)
Blaze extinguished

No one was hurt in a fire at the Port Townsend Paper… Continue reading

An artist's rendering shows the expected view of the Jamestown Healing Clinic.
(Courtesy of the Jamestown Tribe)
Clallam County Fire District 3 officials look to move Dungeness Station 31 east away from a flood and tsunami zone. They’ve begun recruiting an architect to design new stations for Dungeness and Carlsborg Station 33. Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group
Clallam County Fire District 3 seeks architects for new fire stations

Carlsborg and Dungeness need upgrades, staff say

Forks federal distaster recovery center to remain open though Feb. 4

A federal disaster recovery center in Forks that was originally… Continue reading

Expansion approved for Sequim City Band’s rehearsal space

Sequim City Council members have unanimously approved the expansion of… Continue reading

Clallam County Sheriff’s Office seeks leads on coyote carcass dumping

The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office seeks information about the killing… Continue reading

EYE ON CLALLAM: Kilmer to attend several government meetings

Government meetings throughout the county

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

Most Read