The experts have decided: One giant sewage plant in Colwood is a great idea. Except of course, if you live in Colwood. Too bad one giant plant is a terrible idea for local land values, the environment and just about every other reason short of get-it-done-now-itis.
One giant plant is being sold as a way to save money, as the cost estimates* show that lots of little plants have almost double the cost of one big plant. Except of course, one big plant makes certains types of resource recovery such as neighbourhood hot water heating basically impossible. One big plant is also very attractive for a P3, something I know a lot of people are not very keen on, myself included. I wonder how many of those “experts” the CRD have found have worked for the big “environmental” (I use the term loosely) firms that would likely bid on any such project?
All in all, just another report. Sewage treatment studies in the CRD are the new transit studies. Lots of hot air and wasted paper without much done. Too bad small plants have already been proven to work and coexist with residential neighbourhoods right here in Oak Bay…
* A word about capital costs: don’t trust any capital cost estimate done before 2009. The price of materials and the cost of wages have fallen so sharply in the past 6 months that any and all estimates, especially those made around the middle of 2008 are totally suspect. For instance the bid for a piece of the University Link Light Rail in Seattle was 34% under estimates, a bid made in December 2008.