The Seaterra Program Challenges Opposition Group’s Polling

Apr 22, 2014


VICTORIA – A telephone poll is currently being conducted by groups opposed to the CRD’s sewage treatment program that misinforms participants and utilizes loaded questions which will result in an inaccurate portrayal of public opinion.

“Developing an effective poll which leads to honest results is a well-developed expertise that must be conducted by an unbiased professional firm,” said Seaterra Program Director Albert Sweetnam. “Either it is a skill that the opposition groups are not familiar with or they are purposefully attempting to manipulate the public with this poll.”

Loaded questions are misleading, emotionally charged questions that push respondents towards a specific answer choice. In this case it pushes respondents towards a fear based answer by creating a distrust of secondary treatment, which is the federal standard of treatment for marine discharge and is currently in place in most major cities around the world.

The calls are robo-calls and the questions or statement is the following: “…we were calling to ask your opinion on your concerns about the CRD’s sewage project that will continue to flush toxic chemicals and pharmaceuticals into the ocean, even after secondary treatment.”

“This poll misrepresents the concerns about trace chemical contaminants such as pharmaceuticals in secondary treated wastewater effluent,” said Sweetnam. “It fails to note the levels of the many thousands of contaminants in wastewater are measured in the parts per billion or parts per trillion — significantly lower numbers than can be found in the dust around your home today, or in the products you use on your body every day.”

“Not to mention, the treated water is much safer and cleaner than the raw sewage that we continue to pump into the ocean every day.”

Secondary treatment removes a large percentage of these trace contaminants and the proposed Treatment Plant design includes provision for UV and advanced oxidation which would further decrease the level of trace contaminants in the future providing a greater level of treatment than a tertiary treatment plant.

The tertiary treatment plan the opposition group espouses will not eliminate all trace contaminants and the capital, operations and maintenance costs are greater than those of the approved secondary treatment plant. Source control continues to be the most effective way to reduce trace contaminants and the CRD has an extremely effective source control program.

The Seaterra Program will provide cost- effective wastewater treatment for the Core Area that meets all regulatory requirements and is flexible to adapt to new technologies and higher levels of treatment in the future.  The practice of dumping raw sewage into the ocean is no longer acceptable and by 2018, Greater Victoria will no longer be releasing untreated wastewater into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.


For media inquiries, please contact:
Kim Van Bruggen, APR
Communications Manager, CRD Seaterra Program