Metro Vancouver Reference Panel recommends that four objectives provide guiding framework for regional sewage treatment
Sewage Treatment – Move from Waste to Resource
Historically, Metro Vancouver has managed sewage treatment by focusing on what comes out of the pipe. In their Final Report on A Liquid Resource Management Plan for Metro Vancouver, the Metro Vancouver Reference Panel pointed out that the plan needs to focus on better protection of the marine environment and addressing climate change – by using Integrated Resource Recovery (IRR) approaches and technologies to get there.
“We concluded that the plan must describe new approaches to sewage management and make stronger linkages to land-use planning at the community and regional levels when planning for sewage treatment facilities,” states Simon Poole, a member of the Reference Panel.
Four Objectives provide a Guiding Framework
He points out that the Reference Panel recommended that Metro Vancouver adopt four objectives as a guiding framework so that the Plan ensures a flexible and adaptable approach to regional sewage treatment that strives for continuous improvement over time; these are:
- Manage liquid discharges as a resource
- Minimize discharges
- Minimize financial risk
- Maximize the quality of the discharges
“If these objectives are met, all else will fall into place because the best treatment will be provided for the region today and in the future,” emphasizes Simon Poole. “Just meeting the regulatory requirements is not enough. Achieving the vision requires a commitment beyond regulations.”
“Furthermore, the Reference Panel believes that the four objectives can serve as a screening tool to assess the acceptability and effectiveness of proposed actions.”
Reflections on the Process:
“In reflecting on what we as a Reference Panel have learned and accomplished in a short period of time, it strikes me that Metro Vancouver needs to be the champion not only for our region but also for the planet.”
“This means take the bull by the horns so to speak, and do what needs to be done to eliminate inflow and infiltration in the member collection systems. Burying our heads in the sand will not get us to where we need to be by 2020.”
“Also, the resources that we currently flush, treat and discharge have impacts to our economy and our environment. Going from pilot to full-scale nutrient recovery is where we need to go and fast ! Achieving federal standards for wastewater treatment is all well and good…but why stop there, why not be the example and not the status quo!,” concludes Simon Poole.
Posted August 2009