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Colwood looks to developers for sewage-system savings

Aug 01 2012
Developers of Capital City Centre in Colwood plan to recover heat and water from sewage wastewater, cutting its water and energy costs. 

Developers of Capital City Centre in Colwood plan to recover heat and water from sewage wastewater, cutting its water and energy costs.

Photograph by: DEC Engineering

Colwood city council wants to reduce sewage costs for its residents by supporting a wastewater treatment system included in the design of one of the city's largest developments.

League Financial Partners, the company behind the $1-billion Capital City Centre project at the site known as Colwood Corners, plans to reduce water use and energy needs for the massive development by recovering heat and water from sewage and wastewater.

The first part of the two-phase plan would recover heat from a nearby sewer line operated by the Capital Regional District.

The second phase would involve creating an on-site wastewater treatment plant that would recover treated water to use for flushing toilets and irrigation.

The overall plan is expected to reduce the site's requirements for water by 40 per cent and reduce its energy requirements by 60 per cent, according DEC Engineering, which is working with League.

"We're integrating both district energy and water from wastewater, so by doing that, we're sharing the cost of energy and water and reducing the overall cost to the ratepayer," said Erik Lindquist, DEC's principal of alternative energy. "We plan to start with Capital City Centre and expand it into the community."

Considering the scope of the project, the savings would be significant. In the next 20 years, League Financial plans to build 12 residential highrise towers, four office towers, four-storey residential buildings, two-storey town-homes, multi-storey office buildings and a public plaza with various amenities.

Coun. Judith Cullington said the system could also save Colwood residents money when it comes time to pay for the Capital Regional District's portion of the $783-million secondary sewage system.

The CRD's portion of the secondary sewage treatment is expected to cost up to $281 million, with estimates for each resident's share ranging between $100 to $800 a year.

In established and densely populated communities like Victoria, that cost can be borne by a larger number of residents. But because Colwood is growing so rapidly, the politicians have to decide how they want to spread the sewage costs around.

With significant developments on the way, the politicians say they could plan for their current needs as well as their future sewage requirements by working with major developers to provide their own sewage system.

"It puts the cost of new development on the new residents, not on the current ones, who don't need to pay for someone else's sewage," Cullington said.

Colwood engineering director Michael Baxter said the city and the developer need to work with the CRD to come up with changes to the liquid waste management plan.

League Financial Partners is submitting a proposal to the CRD asking permission to recover heat from a main sewage line near the property along the Galloping Goose trail.

The regional district does not have a policy for this type of system yet, according to Dan Telford, senior manager of the CRD's environmental engineering. "The talks are very preliminary. We know what's going on, but we're just waiting," he said.

dspalding@timescolonist.com

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