Local officials got up to speed on the region’s Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) last Thursday. The officials make up the steering committee for the LWMP, and along with new members of the project’s local advisory, met with the technical committee to learn what has been done since the planning process began in 2005.
Now in its second stage, the plan is down to two options for an upgraded sewage treatment plant serving Rossland, Warfield, and Trail.
Mayor Kathy Moore, who’s on the steering committee and attended the meeting, says, “It’s great background to know the whole process that’s gone through before, and where we’re going into the future.”
The upgrade is necessary to introduce secondary treatment technology to the region’s sewage treatment plant and meet provincial regulations.
“We have been advised that we may be the only primary treatment plant discharging into fresh water in the province,” says Alan Stanley, general manager of environmental services for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB).
Secondary treatment uses biological processes to extract the solid waste not removed during primary treatment, which removes the larger solid waste.
A third new sewage treatment option, to build a second treatment plant in Rossland and upgrade the Waneta plant, was scrapped by the steering committee in late November last year.
The two remaining options are to either upgrade and expand the current plant, or build an entirely new one in the Columbia Gardens area.
The first option would be cheaper overall with $39.5 million in capital costs, but higher operation and maintenance costs at $1,117,500 per year. The second option would have higher capital costs at $61.1 million, but operation and maintenance costs would only be $650,000 per year.
However, keeping the existing facility would have less of an impact on local fish populations.
“The new construction would be along the riverbank, through, under or over Beaver Creek, so there is a potential for more habitat disruption,” says Stanley.
“Basically the decision has been made that we’ll use the existing site,” says Moore, “which is big enough for us to make some expansion to it, if we need to, to upgrade.”
The steering committee hopes to move the plan into stage three by the end of the year, with public hearings held before the plan moves forward. Stanley reminds us that though “sewage treatment is not really what you’d call the most exciting or sexy thing, … it is absolutely essential.”