Sewage plants need attention

Remko Rosenboom, General Manager of Infrastructure Services, looks on as staff haul up a filer at the Woodcreek Park sewage treatment facility.

On November 15, the SCRD board was given a presentation and a report on wastewater treatment facilities, and then interested directors took a tour of the Woodcreek Park facility.

Before I read this report, I certainly didn’t realize that the SCRD operates 18 small sewage treatment facilities. Most of them are located north of Sechelt, but there is also one in Roberts Creek, two in Elphinstone and two in West Howe Sound. Area E’s are:

  • Sunnyside – built in 1979, serving 11 properties
  • Woodcreek Park – built in 1999, serving 73 properties

These septic plants were constructed by developers or community associations and then turned over to SCRD to manage. Property owners who use the service are charged for operational costs on their annual tax bills. For example the cost of operating Woodcreek Park’s facility is divided equally between the 73 tax-paying properties served by it.

Over the years regulations about wastewater treatment and effluent discharge have become much stricter and some of these aging facilities do not comply with standards set by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategies (MOE). On July 24 the SCRD received a warning letter from MOE for the Woodcreek wastewater treatment facility, which sparked a management review of all the facilities.

This review turned up some concerns:

  • The money collected from property owners is not enough to cover maintenance, repairs and long term replacement of these facilities.
  • The SCRD does not have enough staff with up-to-date qualifications to manage them.
  • Bylaws and service agreements are in many cases out of date.
  • There’s no real replacement plan for this aging infrastructure.

Thanks to the Woodcreek Park Neighbourhood Association (WPNA) members who came out to the tour and asked some good questions. There will be more reports and meetings on this topic coming up. Right now staff do not know what’s causing the intermittent problem at Woodcreek Park. They are investigating and will report back.

Nov. 15 tour of Woodcreek Park septic field. L to R: Helen Macham (WPNA), Ian Poole (WPNA), Lori Pratt (SCRD Chair), Mark Hiltz (Area F Director), James (SCRD Utilities Services staff), Ian Finlayson (WPNA), Ashley (SCRD Utilities Services staff), Alton Toth (Sechelt Alternate Director), Andreas Tize (Area D), Remko Rosenboom (General Manager of Infrastructure Services), David Croal (Gibsons Alternate Director)

Posted by Donna