Residents in Sooke are concerned about the imminent tax hikes to pay for the new sewer system.
Frequently Asked Questions
It will cost Sooke millions of dollars, directly and indirectly. The total estimated costs for hard equipment is almost $24 million dollars as of March 2001, which is significantly higher than the original estimated $14 million dollars. This doesn't include the costs to purchase land or annual operating costs.
In addition, individual residents will be required to hook up to the system. You don't have a choice. There are also additional costs to trench in new pipes, deactivate your previous system, replant your property, annual operating costs that will far exceed the cost of a septic tank check up.
Identifying the extent of faulty septic systems has not been done. When asked how many systems are failing, both Mayor Ed Macgregor and CRD officials are quoted as saying "they have no idea".Anne Poole, engineer with Stantec Consulting claims that 20% of the septic systems are failing in the Sooke Core. We investigated this figure and found out that in fact it is less than 1% per year over the last 20 years and that includes minor and repeat service visits to the same property.
Based on their experience, the Ministry of Health estimates 5 to 10 percent of septic systems n any area can be categorized as faulty. This level does not justify the high costs of a $16 million dollar sewer system.
There are many other sources of fecal coliforms in the harbour and basin that are not related to septic tanks, such as marinas, resident and migratory birds, and runoff from local hobby farms. The fecal coliforms will still be in the harbour and basin if they install the sewer system.
There is a case example where the council of a small community thought that they needed a sophisticated sewer collection and treatment plant, and they discovered that 99% of the fecal coliform was attributable to non-human sources.
Those who wish to develop large properties at higher densities than now allowed, want sewers. The average homeowner has no interest in paying for a sewer system.
Apply a Septic System Maintenance Bylaw as a first step. Fixing faulty septic systems is the least costly, most logical first step if the Town Council is really concerned about the Harbour and Basin water quality. More alternatives can be found at the Saanich Community Website.
WRATH has submitted a sewer system counter proposal to the grant review committee. Click here to view the executive summary of the counter proposal.