Sewage Treatment Now!

September 12, 2016

Dear CRD Board Members,

On behalf of Surfrider Foundation, Vancouver Island Chapter, I’m writing to ask you to please strongly encourage the Capital Regional District Board (CRD) to accept the CRD Sewage Treatment Project Board’s recommendations.

The CRD Sewage Treatment Project Board’s recommendations are an opportunity to move forward with tertiary wastewater treatment and meet the provincial and federal funding deadlines.

The Surfrider Foundation is a grassroots, environmental organization that is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our ocean, waves and beaches. We operate through a network of 85 chapters in Canada and the U.S. Our members work in their local community to protect clean water, ensure public access to beaches, and to preserve our coasts for future generations.

There are three Surfrider Chapters in British Columbia and six in Washington State, located just across the Juan de Fuca Strait. Surfrider members are resource users; surfers, paddlers, fishers, divers and beach-goers, and we are working hard to protect the beaches and coastal waters wherever we are located. We are on the frontline of the health and environmental impacts of untreated wastewater in our coastal waters.

Untreated sewage discharged directly into coastal waters pollutes the environment, poisons the food web, and poses a health risk to beach goers and resources users on both sides of the Strait. Dilution is not the solution to pollution. Victoria’s current practices of discharging only pre-filtered sewage is impairing the health of the Juan de Fuca Strait and all the fish, sea creatures, and people who depend on clean water and a healthy coastal ecosystem for their livelihood and recreation.

Victoria has an opportunity to do the right thing – treat our wastewater, with provincial and federal funding to make it happen. Surfrider urges the CRD to choose a sustainable option that will preserve clean water, healthy coasts, and livable communities for our generation and those who come after us here on Vancouver Island and in communities across the water in the U.S. It’s time to get with the times and start treating our sewage waste. The Project Board has reviewed years of public consultation and planning work and identified the best path forward for us to treat our wastewater. These actions will reduce public health threats and help to improve the health of our local ecosystems.

In the U.S., the Clean Water Act required all publicly-owned sewage treatment plants to upgrade from primary to secondary treatment in 1977. That was nearly 40 years ago! It is time for Victoria to join the rest of the developed world and start to properly treat and manage its sewage waste.

I hope you and the Directors of the CRD Board will recognize the importance of accepting the Project Board’s recommendations and truly move forward with wastewater treatment in our region today.

Sincerely,

Gillian Montgomery,
Vice President
Surfrider Foundation Canadian Chapters

Chapter Manager
Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island Chapter

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