Residents who live near Greater Victoria’s $775-million dollar wastewater treatment plant say the Capital Regional District is not keeping its promise to keep the smells at bay.
While West Bay residents Lori McAuley and Ross Messenger walk their dog, Seeker, to see for themselves what the stink is about at the McLoughlin Point wastewater treatment plant.
“We had noticed a crane or something. So we wondered if they were doing more work in this area,” McAuley said.
In 2020, Greater Victoria’s wastewater treatment plant started operations.
And complaints about the smell started coming in at about the same time, according to Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins.
“With every whiff of odour, two years ago I had residents meeting with me, and concerned,” Desjardins said.
Some days, the odours reach homes hundreds of metres away in West Bay, and Vic West.
Before construction began, the Capital Regional District promised residents an odour-free plant, it’s designed to treat odour laden air before it’s released.
But the CRD admits that there are times during maintenance when odours escape.
“It does seem to me since the project has all happened, that it’s been more often on, that I smell that there more often than I used to,” McAuley said.
The CRD tells CHEK News in a statement that all air the comes out of the plant is intended to have a maximum odour concentration of less than five odour units per cubic metre, which most people would not be able to smell, and the the district is committed to achieving that standard.
“At the Plant, the wastewater treatment processes are covered and enclosed during normal operation which allows the foul air to be captured, scrubbed, and continuously monitored by an odour control monitoring system,” the statement says.
“Back-up odour control equipment and power generators have also been installed to reduce the possibility of odour escaping the facility in the event of an equipment failure. It’s working with other stakeholders to identify other potential sources of odour in the two areas where the majority of the complaints are originating from.”
But the smell remains a concern to the community.
“This odour, the distance it is from the plant, the concerns they are speaking of where people can’t have their windows open, where they feel at times nauseated. That is not acceptable,” Desjardins said.
Local residents, just want some fresh air, again.
“All year long, since its inception, the bouquet has been with us,” said Messenger.