The extent to which cities are making natural infrastructure an integral part of their water management plans is new, writes Erica Gies. Around the world — from Melbourne, Australia, to China’s “sponge cities” to coastal cities in New Jersey and Belize — urban planners are formally expanding natural stream and wetlands hydrology and ecosystems to better protect communities.
Liquid Resource Management
Province approves Metro Vancouver’s visionary plan for Integrated Liquid Waste and Resource Management
“The plan deals with the pressures of an increasing population while planning to bring an aging infrastructure up to modern standards. Valid for the next eight years, the plan includes upgrades to two existing wastewater treatment plants and incorporates resource recovery to capture heat and energy from sewage,” stated Terry Lake, BC Minister of Environment.
Mayor Nutter explained that Philadelphia has developed a US $1.6 bllion plan to transform the city by 'peeling back' a lot of the city’s concrete and asphalt and replacing them with plants.
Creating Value from Waste: UBC’s Don Mavinic nominated for a 2010 Manning Award for Canadian technological achievement
To demonstrate the potential for sustainable wastewater treatment solutions, a team of researchers led by Dr. Don Mavinic at the University of British Columbia have developed the technology to capture phosphorus and ammonia from high concentration streams and recycle them into environmentally safe fertilizer.
Harold Steves was spell-binding when he reviewed the 50-year history of the Iona Island treatment plant. Three times he said ‘don’t greenwash Vancouver by postponing Iona’. He had an impact because he provided examples that people can understand.
“It is great that the treatment plant timelines issue has finally been resolved as a result of the Board making a decision on May 21. From the beginning of our involvement in the consultation process, however, the Reference Panel has placed equal importance on what happens ON THE LAND, AT THE SOURCE. Connecting people to the land is essential if the region is to truly achieve the Sustainable Region Vision,” stated Kim Stephens.
Centre will give partners from various agencies and organizations the opportunity to develop innovative responses to the challenges of sustainability and integrated resource management. “This generous support ensures the region can now build the first of a planned system of academies. The first one will look for new ways to recover energy, nutrients and other resources from waste water,” Metro Vancouver Chair Lois Jackson said.
“Not only is I&I a significant source of regional system overflows, it means we are repairing/replacing our pipes and pumps sooner, building treatment plants and pipe systems larger than necessary, using more treatment chemicals than necessary, and leaking raw sewage into the ground,” stated Shaun Carroll.
Metro Vancouver Reference Panel recommends establishing a “stewarding committee” to ensure Liquid Resource Management Plan stays true to the vision
“There is a need for fresh, objective eyes bolstered by a strong political mandate to keep asking questions, prod Metro Vancouver and members toward the vision, and assist with the waste-to-resource paradigm-shift over time. A ‘stewarding committee’ would play an expert and non-partisan role. It report directly to the Waste Management Committee,” stated Susan Rutherford.
Integrated Resource Recovery (IRR) is now part of the Metro Vancouver vision. Three examples illustrate a progression by scale – from treatment plant to neighbourhood (Southeast False Creek) to community (University of BC). IRR begins when waste is viewed as a potential resource. ”The community at UBC has embraced a bold vision to disconnect the University Endowment Lands from the Iona sewage treatment plant,” stated Dr. Don Mavinic.