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January 28, 2010

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Sewage treatment should include public resource recovery

VICTORIA—CRD directors heard a strong message of support for pushing forward with resource recovery technology as part of publicly operated sewage treatment.

Pointing to a number of successful and innovative programs that are publicly operated, CUPE National research representative Blair Redlin strongly encouraged the CRD not to assume that this element of sewage treatment should be privatized.

Redlin, who presented to the CRD’s Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee (CALWMC) yesterday, strongly supported sewage treatment that includes things like the use of reclaimed water and production of energy and heat.

Redlin reviewed a number of examples of public sector resource recovery, including the new Whistler Wastewater Treatment plant, the new Neighborhood Energy Utility at Southeast False Creek in Vancouver, and the Point Loma plant in San Diego.

“The inclusion of resource recovery programs is very important and should be among the many benefits of developing sewage treatment. We believe that there is strong evidence from B.C. and elsewhere that these technologies are most effective when they are part of a public system,” said Redlin.

“Given the many strong public examples, we are very concerned that the Ernst & Young procurement options paper, tabled earlier in January, emphasizes public-private partnership or P3 models for resource recovery.”

Noting that the provincial government has its heart set on a P3, Redlin said that CRD citizens have expressed very strong support for public operation on a number of occasions. “Citizens do not want private corporations operating or managing sewage treatment.”

Redlin encouraged CALWMC to listen to the public and to move forward with high quality, publicly operated sewage treatment and resource recovery.

A background note on public resource recovery projects is available at keepwaterpublic.ca/reports and research.

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