VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – How will Metro Vancouver cover the cost of two major upgrades to sewer treatment plants? That’s the question local leaders are faced with and as those plants are quickly becoming outdated, part of the answer might be in your wallet.

The Lions Gate and Iona treatment centres both need an overhaul to include secondary sewage treatment systems at an estimated cost of 1.4 billion dollars. The North Shore facility is needed by 2020. Municipal leaders are studying how to pay for the projects without increasing taxes or water bills.

The deadline to try and get some Federal cash is 2014, and Metro Vancouver chair Greg Moore believes a design concept and funding model will be ready.

“Therefore we’ll have a very good package for the Federal and Provincial governments to say this is what it’s going to cost, here’s the design guidelines, and here’s the funding that needs to go with it,” he says.

“We’re also looking, as a region, about how major capital items within sewage districts are funded and we have a study with our CAOs from around the region looking at that as well,” Moore adds.

The Feds haven’t yet committed to the treatment plant projects but suggest they’re willing to help out. Ottawa was a partner in recently completed upgrades at the Annacis Island facility.

Moore hopes there’s more money for our province, after roughly three quarters of a billion dollars was announced last week for a secondary treatment centre in Victoria.  The Capital Regional District has been harshly criticized for pumping raw sewage into the ocean.
Ottawa says 75 per cent of Canada is equipped with updated sewage treatment regulations and facilities, but there are still 850 communities lagging behind.  A 2005 report, though, found 85 per cent of communities in B.C. meet requirements.

New wastewater system effluent regulations introduced today hope to improve the situation  across the country.  Local municipal leaders played a major role in their development.

Metro Vancouver currently treats about one billion litres of wastewater every day in its five plants, three of which provide secondary treatment.