Metro Vancouver is looking to apply to the PPP Canada program (Public Private Partnership) to help fund an upgrade to the Lions Gate sewage treatment plant. A number of details of the application are included in the agenda for the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District meeting for May 15, 2015.
Both of the wastewater treatment plants that are adjacent to Vancouver (Iona Island and Lions Gate) operate at a primary treatment level. How much does ‘primary sewage treatment’ improve the quality of discharged water? What impacts are there on beach closures due to contamination during the summer months? Should the region be considering tertiary water treatment rather than secondary treatment?
The regional webpage states that only 50-60% of total suspended solids are removed by primary treatment. In other words, around 40-50% of solid waste is discharged directly. The discharged water is still very brown and insufficiently treated.
Modern water treatment plants can be completely covered (no odour), and provide secondary or tertiary treatment. Metro Vancouver will also request that the Lions Gate sewage treatment plant upgrade be designated as a provincial priority. There’s a regulatory deadline that the new plant be operational by December 31, 2020. What are the region’s backup plans in the event the P3 application is unsuccessful?
Additional details are available in the article: Region pleads for Lions Gate plant (24 hours, Stefania Seccia, May 12, 2015). A number of beaches throughout the region were closed in 2014 as a result of wastewater contamination (CBC, Metro Vancouver beach closures extended as E. coli counts increase. Swimming advisories in effect in Vancouver and West Vancouver, Aug 1, 2014).