|August 20, 2009|
From Waste to Resource
|By Rick Corbett, P. Eng., Associated Engineering - Over the last few decades, when the words "Victoria" and "sewage" have been used together it has usually been in reference to the debate on why one of Canada’s last major urban centres continues to discharge untreated wastewater into the marine environment. This debate has been heated and emotional -- on both sides of the issue.|
Ironically, the delay in moving to wastewater treatment may have been a blessing in disguise. As planning now moves ahead, the region has the opportunity to look at wastewater management from a different point of view -- not as a waste to dispose of, but as a resource to use.
In 2006 the Capital Regional District (CRD) embarked on a program to develop a wastewater management strategy for the Victoria area. Associated Engineering, with CH2M Hill and Kerr Wood Leidal, developed a report entitled, "The Path Forward." The team is now working on developing the CRD’s $1.2 billion wastewater management program.
Environmental factors have driven the change to viewing wastewater as a resource: earth’s resources are limited so there is a need for us to reuse and recover them when possible. There’s also the need for energy efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint.
Currently, sewage from the region is fine screened and then released into the open ocean at the Juan de Fuca Strait
The opportunities for using wastewater as a recoverable resource fall into four main areas -- energy from organic solids, wastewater heat energy, water reuse, and nutrient recovery (see sidebar previous page).
Rick Corbett, M. Sc., P. Eng. is vice president of environmental engineering with Associated Engineering in Burnaby, B. C. and project manager for AE on the CRD’s Wastewater Management Program.