Liquid waste can be produced by all sectors of society, and includes community sewage as well as wastewater from industrial processes such as food and agricultural processing, manufacturing and stormwater runoff from distributed sources such as roads, residential and commercial lots.
The CVRD is working with project partners to develop a South Sector Liquid Waste Management Plan to guide efforts for future infrastructure improvements to help reduce impacts of liquid waste from current and projected population growth. The provincial guidance documents for this process can be found here.
Our Current Focus
With the support of the province who is the regulator, and a recognition that the process is a complicated and expensive process the province has approved the current focus on sewage management and the necessary infrastructure to meet current and future needs. Once this has been accomplished it is anticipated that the issue of stormwater management will be addressed. Our current program is following a 3 stage process and is utilizing both Gas Tax grant funds for the necessary engineering and consulting work as well as local taxation support to cover necessary staff time and public consultation.
How is this liquid waste and sewage currently managed?
Two types of systems are relied upon to manage liquid waste in the South Cowichan:
1. Septic Systems - provide on site household treatment and disposal of wastewater where sewers are either unavailable or too expensive. Septic systems serve approximately 65% of households in the plan area.
2. Community Sewer Systems - provide shared treatment of wastewater at a centralized facility. Community sewer systems serve about 35% of households in the plan area.
Both systems work in similar ways. Micro-organisms filter out bacteria, viruses and other pollutants before releasing treated water back into the environment. The key difference between a community sewer system and a septic system is that the homeowner is completely responsible for operation and maintenance of their septic system.