This page will be updated regularly with commonly asked questions about the Project. If you have a question that is not covered, let us know.

Overall Project

Why are you building a wastewater treatment plant?

The Capital Regional District (CRD) currently releases untreated sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and is the last major coastal community in North America discharging untreated sewage into the marine environment. The Wastewater Treatment Project is being built to comply with federal and provincial wastewater regulations by December 31, 2020.

The Wastewater Treatment Project will provide tertiary treatment for wastewater from the core area municipalities of Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich, Oak Bay, View Royal, Langford, and Colwood and the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.

Tertiary treatment will remove contaminants from the wastewater to meet provincial water reuse standards and will produce a high-quality effluent.

How much does the Wastewater Treatment Project cost?

The Project will cost $775 million. The Government of Canada is contributing $120 million through the Building Canada Fund, $50 million through the Green Infrastructure Fund and up to $41 million through the P3 Canada Fund. The Government of British Columbia is providing $248 million and the CRD will provide the remaining $316 million.

How will residents be notified of construction activities?

We have a communications and engagement plan for the communities and stakeholders that will be impacted during the construction of the Wastewater Treatment Project. The plan includes broad outreach to ensure that we reach as many residents as possible, as well as businesses, schools, day cares, recreational groups, transportation providers, tourism groups and other organizations that may be impacted by one or more of the components of the Project. Our communications tools will include email, social media, our project website, community updates, construction bulletins, traffic media updates and, where appropriate, door-to-door advisories.

What does "tertiary" mean?

The McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant is designed to provide tertiary treatment for all wastewater flows from the Core Area. Tertiary treatment is one of the highest levels of treatment and will remove more contaminants (organics, nutrients, pharmaceuticals, hormones, micro-plastics and viruses) from the wastewater than primary or secondary treatment. Primary treatment comprises the physical separation of solids from wastewater. Secondary treatment is the biological degradation of contaminants in the wastewater. The McLoughlin Point Wastewater Plant includes tertiary treatment through the use of disc filters to physically remove contaminants that remain after the secondary treatment process. These filters are designed to meet provincial water reuse standards and will produce a high quality effluent.

What will happen in the event of an earthquake?

The Wastewater Treatment Project’s treatment plant and pump stations are designed to meet stringent post-disaster design requirements. This means they must be designed to remain operational following a major earthquake. The new underground pipes and cross-harbour pipe are also designed to the same high standards.

Will I be able to insure my property if I live close to the construction zone?

The construction should not impact an individual's ability to purchase insurance that would typically be purchased by a homeowner. As is the case with all CRD or municipal engineering activities, contractors are required to have insurance in place to protect against damage to third party property due to construction activities. Specifically, the contractor is required to conduct a pre-construction survey to document the pre-construction condition of properties, structures and buildings prior to construction. Any claims of damage from property owners would be forwarded to the contractor's insurance company.

McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant

What is the capacity of the treatment plant?

The capacity of the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant is 108 megalitres/day and it was developed based on municipal requests which considered sewage and growth rates.

Will I be able to smell anything from the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant when it is up and running?

No – there will be no detectable odour in the surrounding community. The plant includes a state-of-the-art odour control and a 24-hour odour control monitoring system. You can find more information in our Odour Fact Sheet.

How loud will the noise be coming from the plant during operation and how will it impact Victoria?

As per the Township of Esquimalt's Zoning Bylaw, the operational noise level will not exceed 60 decibels (dBA) measured at the plant's property line. Predicted noise levels in James Bay, the closest location to the treatment plant in Victoria, will not exceed 35 dBA. This is 5 dBA below the most stringent limit in the City of Victoria's noise bylaw. You can find more information on our Fact sheet on Operational Noise for the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Macaulay Point Pump Station and Forcemain

What is happening at Macaulay Point?

A new pump station and forcemain is being built at Macaulay Point as part of the Wastewater Treatment Project. The new pump station will convey wastewater to the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant and will provide better operating efficiency than the current pump station, providing lower operating and maintenance costs. The pump station will continue to provide bypass pumping to the Macaulay outfall during heavy rain events.

The Macaulay Forcemain is the 1350mm diameter pipe that connects the Macaulay Point Pump Station to the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Construction began in late spring 2018. Pipe installation for the forcemain was completed in April 2020 and it is anticipated the pump station will be complete in summer 2020. The old pump station will be demolished in the fall.

Will the waterfront trail remain open?

Yes, the waterfront trail will remain open to the public during construction and operation of the Macaulay Point Pump Station and Forcemain.

In addition, a naturalized elevated pathway and a public viewing platform with views of the ocean will be created. The building will also be further back from the public pathway, creating a new open space for the public.

Will there be any noise from the pump station? Will there be any odour?

Noise from the new pump station will not exceed the current level of noise from the existing pump station. Noise levels will not exceed 35 dBA, which is similar to the sound level in a quiet rural area.

There will be no discernible odour in the community. The pump station will be designed with state-of-the-art odour control systems to contain and suppress odour.

What kind of sustainable design features does the pump station have?

The pump station will use durable materials including an above-grade structure made of wood which will store 40,000 kg of CO2. There will be a green roof, rainwater run-off control using a rain garden and storm management system, and native plants to reduce future maintenance and irrigation. Erosion and sediment control plans will be implemented during construction with an increase of bio-diversity and habitat on-site, including eliminating fatal bird attraction.

The site will also reduce waste and truck traffic to minimize impacts to the community by relocating all excavated materials on-site and using it to fill in the old pump station and to create a naturalized elevated pathway with views of the ocean.

What is happening to the old pump station?

Once the new pump station is operational, the old pump station will be decommissioned, torn down and filled in with excavated materials from on-site.

Why do you still need an outfall at the Macaulay Point and Clover Point pump stations?

The outfalls at both Macaulay Point Pump Station and Clover Point Pump Station will continue to provide bypass pumping to their existing outfalls for storm flows associated with heavy rain events.

Clover Point Pump Station

What are you doing at Clover Point Pump Station?

The Clover Point Pump Station will be upgraded and expanded as part of the Wastewater Treatment Project. The current pump station pumps sewage directly into the ocean. The expanded pump station will pump wastewater to the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant for tertiary treatment and provide bypass pumping to the existing outfall during storm events.

The Clover Point Pump Station expansion will be below the grade of the adjacent section of Dallas Road. Similar materials to those on the current pump station will be used to blend the expanded facility with the existing facility and surrounding area.

The expansion will increase the internal pump station area from approximately 500m2 to approximately 1500m2. As part of the pump station expansion, the existing split rock wall facing the waterfront will be extended to enable access to the pump station and maintain the seaside walkway.

Noise from the expanded pump station will not exceed the current level of noise from the existing pump station. The pump station will also be designed with state-of-the-art odour control systems so that it will not exceed the current level of odour from the pump station and there will be no discernible odour in the community.

When can we expect the construction to start on the Clover Point Pump Station and what is planned?

Construction of the Clover Point Pump Station expansion has begun and will be complete by mid 2020.

The contractor, Kenaidan Contracting Ltd., has installed temporary chain link construction fencing and screening around the work areas at Clover Point that include the pump station and a laydown area. The laydown area has been constructed and is located southwest of the current pump station. It will be returned to its pre-construction state upon completion of the Project.

There will be minimal traffic impacts on Dallas Road associated with the upgrade and expansion of the Clover Point Pump Station. There may be temporary closures on Clover Point Road.

Work to be completed under this Project includes:

  • Concrete works to expand the existing underground structure.
  • Upgrades to process mechanical equipment in the pump station.
  • Excavation for the foundation of the pump station.
  • Connection to the new Clover Forcemain (pipe) which will convey wastewater to the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant.
  • Public space improvements, including a new public washroom, bike and pedestrian amenities, public viewing plaza and improved green space.

A key consideration during construction will be managing potential impacts on the surrounding community. All construction activity will comply with City of Victoria bylaws regarding hours of work and noise levels.

Will access to the waterfront pathway and parking lot remain open?

A closure of the Dallas Road Waterfront Trail between Clover Point and the crosswalk near the Ross Bay Cemetery is anticipated from September 2019 – Fall 2020. Pedestrians can access Clover Point Park by following a detour along Dallas Road.

There will also be a temporary closure of Clover Point Road and the parking lot at Clover Point.

Clover Forcemain (Pipe from Ogden Point to Clover Point

What is happening on Dallas Road?

The Wastewater Treatment Project includes the construction of a pipe, known as the Clover Forcemain, which will transport wastewater from the Clover Point Pump Station to the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant for tertiary treatment. This pipe runs along Dallas Road from Clover Point to Ogden Point where it connects to the cross-harbour undersea pipe completed in April 2018.

Construction of the Clover Forcemain began in October 2018. As part of the Project, public space improvements are being built including a cycle path from Dock Street to Clover Point, benches, bike racks, four new crosswalks (at Linden, Government, Boyd and Montreal streets), and a bike dismount area at the entrance to Clover Point. Pipe installation was completed ahead of schedule in August 2019 and work continues along Dallas Road with construction of the cycle path and road restoration. Construction is anticipated to be complete in fall 2020.

Why was the Clover Forcemain built along Dallas Road rather than offshore?

The Project Team evaluated an offshore route that has been suggested and it is not feasible for a number of reasons:

  • it would be significantly more costly than the land-based route;
  • the pipe would be difficult to access for maintenance or repair;
  • there could be significant environmental impacts from installation of a seabed pipe, including the potential for disturbing of contaminated materials on the seabed, and a pipe installed along the foreshore would have to be protected and anchored against wave action;
  • the pipe would be subject to damage from cruise ships and other boats which are known to drop anchor in the area; and
  • a full environmental impact assessment would be required which would take 18-24 months to complete. This means the Project would not be completed by the end of 2020, and we would not be complying with federal regulations to treat wastewater by the end of 2020.

This technical memo outlines the reasons an offshore route is not feasible.

How large is the pipe and how deep will the pipe be buried?

The pipe will be approximately 1.2 meters (4 feet) in diameter. The top of the pipe will be approximately 1.2 meters below ground. This may vary slightly along the route.

Will construction on the Clover Forcemain impact the bluffs along Dallas Road?

In developing the detailed design, the Project Team retained the design engineering team, who reviewed previous studies and technical reports, and completed a geotechnical assessment.

The assessment concluded that the Dallas Road alignment is suitable from a geotechnical perspective and that the forcemain can be constructed and operated without having an adverse environmental or geotechnical impact on the Dallas Road bluffs.

A preliminary report detailing the results of the geotechnical investigations was complete in the fall of 2017. The report is posted on the Project website.

Will there be a vibration impact on nearby houses? Will vibration impact the recently constructed sea wall?

Construction of the Clover Forcemain involves digging a trench along Dallas Road, putting in a pipe, and then restoring the surface above. This is similar to work the CRD and City of Victoria do as part of regular operations to build and maintain the city's water and sewer infrastructure. We do not anticipate damage to properties as a result of this work. There is a public information phone line available for residents to call with questions or to report any concerns: 1.844.815.6132.

Will there be any impacts to parking?

During construction, parking restrictions will occur only within the active work area and as many on-street parking stalls will be kept open as possible.

Once construction is completed, 94% of parking will be retained along Dallas Road. There will be some reduction in on-street parking in order to accommodate pedestrian and bike infrastructure and minimize loss of green space between Dock Street and Clover Point.

There are currently 598 parking stalls along the Dallas Road corridor and this will be reduced by 38 parking stalls. Based on public consultation and City of Victoria council approval, the design and alignment balances parking retention with increased and improved pedestrian connections in the community.

Angle parking will be retained along the seawall and lines will be painted to delineate parking stalls to improve parking efficiency.

How many trees were removed on Dallas Road?

The alignment of the pipe and cycle path was developed in collaboration with City of Victoria staff and considered protection of the bluffs and the location of mature trees and sensitive vegetation. An arborist surveyed the alignment along Dallas Road and determined the areas that require tree removal.

Forty-four trees were removed along the alignment. As part of the Project’s commitment to replace any tree removed at a two to one ratio, eighty-eight trees have been planted in Beacon Hill Park in locations determined by the City of Victoria.

Trent Forcemain

What is the Trent Forcemain?

The Trent Forcemain is 1.9 km of pipe being installed in the Fairfield neighbourhood of Victoria from the intersection of Chandler Ave and St Charles Street to the Clover Point Pump Station.

The eastern branch of the Capital Regional District’s core area conveyance system collects wastewater from Saanich, Oak Bay, and Victoria, directing it to the Clover Point Pump Station. The Trent Forcemain construction will increase the capacity of this system and reduce wet weather overflows.

How will construction proceed?

Work began in February 2020 and is expected to take approximately 10 months to complete. The pipe will be installed in sections. A trench will be excavated, the pipe will be installed, and the trench will be backfilled. The surface will be temporarily restored at the end of each work day. Final restoration will take place once the pipe has been installed and tested.

Will there be a vibration impact on nearby houses?

Construction of the Trent Forcemain involves digging a trench, installing a pipe, and then restoring the surface above. This is similar to work municipalities do as part of regular operations to build and maintain their water and sewer infrastructure. No damage to property is anticipated as a result of this work. There is a public information phone line available for residents to call with questions or to report any concerns: 1.844.815.6132.

Arbutus Attenuation Tank

Where is the Arbutus Attenuation Tank?

The Arbutus Attenuation Tank will be located on Arbutus Road, across the street from Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Saanich.

In July 2013, Saanich Council approved the rezoning and subdivision of two properties on Arbutus Road. This enabled a land exchange agreement with the CRD, which allows the Arbutus Attenuation Tank to be installed on lands that are already partially cleared and have been previously disturbed during the construction of existing sewers.

Once construction is complete, the site will be planted with vegetation appropriate for the local woodland setting.

What is the Arbutus Attenuation Tank?

The Arbutus Attenuation Tank will be a 5,000m3 buried underground concrete tank that will temporarily store wastewater flows during high volume storm events, to reduce the number of sewer overflows.

Once the high storm flow has passed, the tank will empty back into the existing sewer system which directs wastewater to the Clover Point Pump Station and then to the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Residual Solids Conveyance Line

What is the specific material that will be making its way through the Residual Solids Conveyance Line?

The Residual Solids Conveyance Line includes two pipes and four pumping stations. The first pipe will transport residual solids from the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Residuals Treatment Facility. The second pipe will return the liquid removed from the residual solids during the treatment process to the Marigold Pump Station, from where it will be returned to the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant through the existing conveyance system.

What are the operation and monitoring features of the Residual Solids Conveyance System?

All of the Wastewater Treatment Project’s facilities, including the treatment plant, residuals treatment facility, pump stations and conveyance system, are designed to meet stringent post-disaster design requirements. This means they must be designed to remain operational following a major earthquake.

The conveyance pipes will be made of a highly durable material proven to perform well in earthquake prone areas. The system will be controlled 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Pipe operation would be automatically halted in the event of an alarm, based on change in flow or pressure, and incident response procedures would be immediately initiated. Pipe operation would only be resumed following investigation.

The CRD and core area municipalities operate over 175 pump stations and 110km of existing sanitary sewer pipe in the core area similar to the RSCL pipe. The CRD has a thorough ongoing operations and maintenance program, as well as a robust spill response plan.

The CRD has a 24/7 operations line that residents can call to report a concern: 250.474.9630.

What factors were considered in the route selection process for the Residual Solids Conveyance Line?

In 2014, alignment options were developed based on technical, environmental, social and economic considerations. The options were evaluated by the CRD with input from the District of Saanich, and Township of Esquimalt, and a preferred alignment was selected. The alignment has since been reviewed and validated by the Wastewater Treatment Project team in consultation with the municipalities of Saanich, Esquimalt and Victoria.

Favourable considerations for the route include the following:

  • Shortest of all alignments
  • Power available at pump station locations
  • Good maintenance access
  • No impact on wildlife habitat
  • Lowest capital, operating and maintenance costs

Residuals Treatment Facility

What is the Residuals Treatment Facility?

The Residuals Treatment Facility will process residual solids produced by the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant into Class A biosolids. The facility will use an anaerobic digestion process followed by a dryer process to produce a dried Class A biosolid. The dryer will be fueled by biogas generated during the digestion process. The facility will have the capacity to treat more than 14,000 dry tonnes of residuals per year.

How was the Hartland Landfill site chosen as the site for the Residuals Treatment Facility?

The Hartland Landfill site was selected for the facility in 2013 after an assessment of potential sites that included technical, environmental, social and economic considerations.

Key benefits of the Hartland Landfill location include:

  • locating the Residuals Treatment Facility next to the existing, active landfill and within the footprint of the landfill allows for future integration between the region’s solid waste and liquid waste management plans
  • the land is owned by the CRD
  • the land is not part of the Agricultural Land Reserve, park or ecological land reserve
  • distance from residential neighbours

The Hartland Landfill site was reconfirmed through the Wastewater Treatment Project Board’s review in 2016 and approved as part of the Wastewater Treatment Project by the CRD Board in 2016.

Why was this location chosen?

Locating the Residuals Treatment Facility within the existing footprint of the Hartland Landfill allows for future integration between the region’s solid waste and liquid waste management systems. Other factors include the fact that the land is owned by the CRD, it’s not part of the Agricultural Land Reserve, Park or Ecological Land Reserve, and because of its distance from residential neighbours.

What are the operation and monitoring features of the current Hartland Landfill site and Residuals Treatment Facility?

The Residuals Treatment Facility will be completely enclosed and all treatment processes will be completed within closed containers, designed to required earthquake standards.

Water quality is monitored by the CRD as part of the environmental compliance program for the Hartland Landfill - onsite, near the property line in addition to an annual sampling of residential wells in close proximity to Hartland.

A stringent containment and spill planning and response plan will also be prepared specifically for the Residuals Treatment Facility that will meet Federal and Provincial requirements for environmental protection and operator protection.

What are you doing with the residual solids?

Residual solids from the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant will be piped to the Residuals Treatment Facility located at Hartland Landfill, where they will be treated and turned into what are known as Class A biosolids. These biosolids are a high-quality by-product treated such that it is safe for further use.

The beneficial use of those biosolids was determined by a separate planning process. For the next five years, the majority of the biosolids will be used as an alternative fuel for a cement manufacturing facility in the Lower Mainland once the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant begins operating. During the annual cement plant shut-down periods, they will be used at the landfill (potentially one month per year).

More information on the Biosolids Beneficial Use Strategy can be found here.

What is a biosolid?

A biosolid is organic matter recycled from wastewater. The Residuals Treatment Facility will produce Class A biosolids, which are the highest quality product suitable for beneficial use. An information sheet on biosolids can be found here.