Developer considers standalone sewage treatment

Private plant at Capital City Centre could ease Colwood’s sewage woes

It’s a dirty job but it may help Capital City Centre live the clean life.

Developers of the massive project are looking at building a localized wastewater treatment system that would serve the development, while helping reduce the City of Colwood’s future sewer needs.

League Financial Partners and Colwood are in the preliminary stages of developing the project. If the standalone treatment system goes ahead, it’s expected to reduce Capital City Centre resident’s potable water use by 40 per cent and their energy needs by around 60 per cent.

At the same time, the concept could help Colwood, which has been concerned about buying into the Capital Regional District’s proposed sewage treatment plant.

One aspect of the plan is to capture radiant energy from a CRD sewer line to help heat the buildings, by way of a District Energy Sharing System. That system uses a heat source to warm up water, which is then sent to buildings to use for space and water heating.

The other aspect is sewer treatment. The Dockside Green development in Vic West is being touted as an example of how a centralized development can use its own on-site sewage treatment. Dockside treats its residents’ sewage and then uses the resulting water for landscaping, flushing toilets and a water feature.

Capital City Centre is looking at the possibility of doing something similar. If it does, given the size of the $1 billion project, a potentially major load would be lifted from Colwood’s sewer treatment needs.

Municipalities are being asked to buy into the CRD’s plants now for sewer needs up to 2020. Because Colwood is expected to grow much more than most municipalities, the city’s current tax base could be unfairly burdened with the costs of a system designed for a much larger population. Another option would also unfairly increase user fees for residents currently hooked into the sewage system in order to reserve future capacity.

Coun. Judith Cullington said ideas like the one proposed by League could be key to the future of Colwood’s approach to sewer.

Council has decided to only buy in for around half of what the CRD has projected Colwood will need. Localized treatment for specific developments could make up any future shortcomings in capacity.

Regardless of good intentions and potential outcomes, however, the concept is still in the planning phase.

“What we’ve said is that we want to encourage this kind of thinking,” Cullington said. “It’s all very preliminary and exploratory at this point in time. Obviously the city will need to see the numbers to be really comfortable that this is the right thing for all of us.”

Colwood has released a nine minute video on the proposed project entitled “The Clear Choice for Colwood’s Wastewater.”

It can be found at Colwood.ca.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com