The Pied Piper of Victoria, B.C.

In 1966, Victoria flushed the sewage emanating from its buildings (her “sanitary sewage”) into the Gorge inlet, her harbour or the shallow waters along her beaches and cliffs. Water from her streets [“storm sewage”] was channeled down storm drains on to her beaches. Victoria had just set up a regional government, the Capital Regional District or “CRD” and immediately the CRD hired Canada-wide Associated Engineering to fix her sewage problem. If Victoria had been sited differently the solution to the problem would have cost a fortune. Most towns and cities must artificially treat sanitary – dig out and build cesspools – screen out large solids — let the sewage stagnate in the cesspools long enough for many finer solids to sink to the bottom of the pools, pour in special bacteria to eat most of the bacteria remaining in the cesspool then burn off the residue on the bottom of the cesspool. If Victoria’s founder, Sir James Douglas located Victoria elsewhere than down current where massive currents empty the Strait of Juan de Fuca into the Pacific building a sewage treatment plant would have cost the CRD $1-billion 2014 dollars. Many times the $60-million the CRD had to actually spend. But Amalgamated showed the CRD that by using green, natural forces and green natural systems were already operating all over the world from California to Britain to Australia had adopted it. Simply screen larger solids out to the sewage then pipe it one kilometer out one kilometer and push it down to a depth of 65 meters (200feet) where holes in the pipe disperse it. Up the Strait on the mainland of British Columbia and Washington State powerful rivers pour warm fresh water into the Strait and towards the Pacific Ocean. Less powerful, colder tidal currents enter the Strait from the Pacific below the river waters. Victoria’s Amalgamated system releases the sewage into the cold tidal waters. The warmer sewage rises through the tidal water and produces violent turbulence which mixes the two and rapidly dissolves the sewage mixture — on its way up the sewage reaches a dissolution of one half part sewage to 100 parts sea water and the dissolution continues — 20 times greater than it would be dissolved by a land-based plant. The dissolved waters then rise into the warm river current and flow directly out into the Pacific without touching land.

 

The mixing of the two currents serves as a powerful mixer creating extreme turbulence. As the mixed waters rise to the surface they are forced out into the Pacific. The turbulence quickly dissolves any solids in the water. To harnass this force, Associated screened out large solids from Victoria’s sanitary sewage and channeled it into two (30 diameter) pipes kilometer long anchored 65 meters down in the cold ocean waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Associated perforated the ends of each pipe with a number of holes (ports). The force of gravity drove the sewage out through the holes. The sewage mixed with cold ocean waters and drove them into the turbulent boundary between the lower ocean waters and the warmer river waters. The turbulence further stirred and mixed any remaining sewage into the turbulence where the weaker tidal current and the stronger fresh water met completely dissolving any sewage long before it reaches the surface and long before they reach the oceans surface and flows straight out to the Pacific. The process not only saves Victoria the cost of artificially treating its sewage it also saves energy and stops pollution.

 

Victoria opened a sanitary sewage system in 1982 which worked on time and on budget right up to 2015. Some politicians who had wanted a wasteful land-based sewage plant suffered bruised egos but, in 1992, Victorians confirmed the system in a referendum. The system works perfectly

 

Thanks to Amalgamated’s outfall system Victoria is more than adequately dealing with its sanitary sewage and will for generations to come. Enter in 2004 upon this happy scene a Mr. James Skwarok. James was not and is not a scientist and certainly not an marine scientist. Casting around for something to remove the boring from his life and put it in the limelight, James dreamed up a brilliantly costumed character called Mr. Floatie. James knew nothing and cared nothing about sewage or science. In James’s mind the fact that sewage was being mixed with ocean waters led him to the illogical dramatic conclusion that Victoria’s sewage in his words was “being dumped into the ocean”.

 

James Skwarok knows nothing about marine science but he has a penchant for and enjoys attracting attention. In 2004, James learned that Victoria didn’t treat its sanitary sewage as other communities did. He heard third-hand that Victoria’s sewage was disposed of in the ocean. He’d heard stories of sewage floating on to Victoria’s beaches — but he didn’t bother to find out that the residue on the beaches was storm drain residue which had nothing to do with Victoria’s sanitary sewage. Building a sanitary sewage plant would not stop any pollution on Victoria’s beaches. Nor did Skwarok bother to find out how Victoria’s sanitary sewage system actually works. Completely ignorant of the facts, Skwarok decided that “Victoria was polluting the open ocean by dumping her raw sewage into it” Skwarok has a hound-like nose for publicity and he saw the fairy tale he’d built in his mind as the basis for a publicity stunt. He fashioned a Halloween-type costume — a large walking, squeaking representation of a human feces and traipsed around Victoria’s harbour and squeaking out a faux environmental message: “People accuse me of not knowing my science. But how can you expect hard facts from a soft turd”. As he had hoped, he made the TV news. Victoria’s local television stations loved it — they didn’t bother finding out the facts either — Canadian and U.S. networks picked up the story. A reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencier distorted the fiction further — he claimed Victoria’s sewage was floating into Seattle harbour. Washington’s governor didn’t bother to check the facts — she scolded British Columbia’s Premier Gordon Campbell — the reporter and the governor threatened to boycott Vancouver’s 2009 Olympic Games. Nor did Premier Campbell look into the facts or launch a communications campaign to rectify them. Instead he forced the British Columbia government to order Victoria to replace her 1982 organic sewage system. And British Columbia failed to obtain an exemption from Federal regulations designed for rivers requiring the construction of a land-based sewage plant.

 

The CRD cobbled together a land-based sewage treatment plan that would have cost, most optimistically, seven hundred million dollars and most engineers expected it would cost one billion dollars or more. Every marine scientist at the University of Victoria and Victoria’s present and past medical health officers says Victoria’s organic system renders a land-based plant totally unnecessary. In July, 2015, the CRD sent the head of the project packing with a $500,000 severance (he had originally hired on from scandal-plagued SNC Lavalin) and substituted a much more expensive multi-plant plan. The Calgary Eye Opener understands that, as of August 4, 2015, the CRD has spent from 70 to 80 million dollars for nothing.