What is Wastewater Treatment?
Ever since the first community decided that sewers were needed, waterways have been used as the preferred location for disposal of sewage. However, as settlements grew, wastes inevitably overwhelmed the ability of the waterways to assimilate the decomposing organic matter, oxygen levels dropped and fish began to disappear. Sewage, or wastewater treatment, evolved to remove organic matter from the waste stream prior to discharge so that healthy oxygen levels could be maintained.
Two waste streams discharge from a wastewater treatment plant: the liquid stream that we call effluent, and the semi-solid slurry that we call sludge. Before discharge, the wastewater passes through a variety of steps to separate, filter, disinfect and "digest" both organic and inorganic components in the waste stream. These steps are divided up into stages, with preliminary treatment providing only screening but no treatment, primary providing some and secondary and tertiary providing the most advanced level of treatment.
The CRD and its government partners have the opportunity to create a model for sustainable wastewater management in North America.
The CRD, mandated by the province, has committed to secondary wastewater treatment for the Core Area, which includes the seven municipalities of Colwood, Esquimalt, Langford, Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria and View Royal.
Opportunities for advanced resource and energy recovery are also being explored. The health and safety of the region's communities and the vibrant ecosystems that surround us are of utmost importance. Take a look through the following pages for descriptions of wastewater technology, innovations and example treatment sites.