Assess sewage plant's environmental impact

Dear Editor:

I write regarding your Feb. 29 website story Metro to North Shore residents: What should we do with your sewage?

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North Vancouver residents should be aware that under the B.C. municipal sewage regulations, there is no requirement for Metro Vancouver to provide any public consultation at all. Neither do they need to provide any evidence that an expensive additional sewage treatment will actually provide any net environmental benefit.

Residents should demand that Metro Vancouver officials and the B.C. government bring this massive project under the oversight of the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act so that there is proper public consultation, cost-benefit analyses, and most importantly, a comparison of environmental attributes of the current system with the proposed system.

Bigger and more costly sewage plants do not necessarily improve the actual net environmental impact of sewage effluent, especially when there is additional production of thousands of tons of greenhouse gases and sewage sludge, together with higher consumption of electricity.

New federal sewage effluent standards are created without any reference to the unique receiving environments of sewage plants - its a "one size fits all" legal strategy that must be challenged. Otherwise, an expensive sewage plant will be nothing more than a tax-guzzling white elephant that our children won't thank us for.

John Newcomb


Editor's note: The story referenced in this letter appears on page 11 of this issue, headlined Metro Plans Sewage Plant.

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