Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for the ‘sewage’ Category

Heavy rainfall sends raw sewage into B.C. waterways

Lisa Johnson of the CBC reported on the Friday edition of Vancouver at Six and now the story is on line. I have dealt with the issue of partially treated sewage here before – but the recent heavy rains and melting snow overloaded Vancouver’s antiquated combined system. Most places now have separate storm and foul water drainage systems. We don’t.  However it is recognised to be a problem. Just not one that is being dealt with any sense of urgency.

the pipes are slowly being separated and overall the sewage system is improving, but work won’t be completed until 2050

“That’s a ridiculously long timeline,” [Georgia Straight Alliance spokeswoman Christianne Wilhelmson] said. “I realize there’s challenges with digging up streets and replacing pipes, but this has got to be a greater priority for the region because everyone can see right now the impact that it’s having.”

Now in case you think this is just about polar swimmers paddling in poo, the stuff that is being dumped is going into what was once a major salmon habitat. And the stuff that we flush is loaded with pharmaceuticals which we excrete and then go into the food chain. Along with all the heavy metals and what not that goes down the drains in the street. So I am not just talking about the need for better sewage treatment but also some treatment for storm run off.

At least the CBC story is attracting comments – 38 so far. Please add your comments there and not here. I have added nothing to this story I am simply passing the link along

Written by Stephen Rees

January 11, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Environment, sewage

Lulu Island plant to be Olympic showcase for sewage biogas power

with one comment

Richmond Review

For goodness sake we don’t need any more Olympic showcases! Do you seriously think anyone coming here for the speedskating is going to want to look at the Lulu Island Sewage Plant?

We should be doing this anyway – should have done it years ago. When I worked for the GLC twenty years ago all the sewage works were fitted with biogas digesters – and we sold power to the grid from the garbage incinerators too. We (The BC Enegry Aware Committee) made a big song and dance a few years ago now about gas capture in the Delta landfill mainly to shame Delta Corporation into giving it third reading! They could hardly turn it down after accepting an award for environmental awareness now could they?

Flaring biogas should be an offence.

I hope that this process will mean that Metro Vancouver stops dumping virtually untreated human waste into the Fraser at long last. Again, thirty years ago treated, dried solids could be bought from GLC sewage works for fertiliser for back gardens!

Written by Stephen Rees

October 13, 2007 at 5:37 pm

Posted in sewage

Tagged with

“ooh, yuck!”

with 6 comments

I went to Garry Point in Steveston this afternoon. I had just received some new screw on lens attachments I wanted to try out. There were some people swimming but they objected when I pointed my camera at them. So I did not take the shot but walked over to talk to them.

Had they seen the signs? I asked

Sign 1

“No” they said. So I explained that they were two miles downstream of the Lulu Island Sewage works which pumps out human waste which is only “screened” not treated. I said I was surprised to see anyone swimming there, as I certainly wouldn’t, given the very high fecal coliform counts in the area. That was why I was going to take a picture. I had hoped that my new wide angle lens would be able to capture both them and the sign. Sadly it wouldn’t – the angle was wrong. But I had not taken a picture of them and I was sorry if I had spoiled their day.

Then I looked behind them, where we were standing talking. They hadn’t seen this sign either.

sign 2

As I walked back to the concession stand a mother and her children came into step with me. She had heard what I had said. She thought the signs warned about the current. So I explained why it concerns me to see people swimming around in diluted but untreated human waste. She thought that if it had said “human waste” on the sign people might have taken more notice.

Her little boy asked me if I meant that they had been swimming in pooh, and I said “Yes”

His reply is the headline

Written by Stephen Rees

July 25, 2007 at 4:09 pm

Posted in Environment, sewage