Say goodbye to Mr. Floatie. Canadian leaders are making welcome progress on a sewage-treatment plant for the Victoria, B.C., area.
OVERCOMING political differences, our friends north of the U.S. border are finally addressing the problem of the raw sewage they discharge into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
New local and federal leaders reached an agreement in September to build a sewage-treatment plant for Victoria, B.C., and surrounding communities.
This is a welcome change after decades of squabbling over a project critically needed to protect water quality.
The Victoria region emits more than 70,000 cubic meters of raw sewage daily into the strait between the northwest corner of the United States and the southwest corner of Canada.
Washington leaders have pleaded with Canadian officials for years to address the problem. When Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, met with U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, the first topic was untreated sewage released across the water from Kilmer’s hometown of Port Angeles.
The messages were heard, said Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton, during a recent visit to The Seattle Times’ editorial board. Before arriving, MacNaughton conferred with Trudeau’s office on the issue.
“It’s indefensible, there’s no excuse for it,” MacNaughton told this editorial board. “It’ll get fixed sooner rather than later.”
The Trudeau administration affirmed in April that the sewage is a risk, and there’s a December 2020 deadline for the sewage to receive advanced treatment before it’s discharged.
Federal funding will cover about a third of the $765 million treatment plan, including a waterfront plant and separate biosolids-treatment facility. Construction could begin in 2017.
This is a significant commitment by local, regional and federal governments and by Victoria-area households facing yearly wastewater costs ranging from $146 to $344 Canadian.
Washingtonians appreciate the progress and commitment to protecting our shared waters.