Help shape the future of our Sewer Service

TIME TO ‘PLUNGE IN’ ON SEWER PLANNING

The Comox Valley Sewer Service treats wastewater, or raw sewage, from homes and businesses in Courtenay, Comox and K’ómoks First Nation. More than 14,000 cubic metres of raw sewage from these communities flows daily through a pipe located along the Willemar Bluffs. This is an exposed section of beach that is vulnerable to damage by waves, rocks and logs and poses an environmental risk to our local beaches and ocean. A long-term plan that will accommodate the community’s growth and enable this at-risk pipe to be relocated is required.

The CVRD has completed the community engagement process on a shortlist of options for upgrading the service’s conveyance system, including the pipes and pump stations that move wastewater to the sewage treatment plant.

Information about the options are still available on this page, along with the link to a webinar providing an overview of the options here.

Next Steps:

  • Results of the public consultation will be summarized and shared with the public and technical advisory committee and Sewage Commission, for consideration in next steps.
  • The preferred option will be shared with the community when selected.
  • An Alternative Approval Process (AAP) will likely be held in 2021 to approve borrowing so that work can begin as soon as possible on a new conveyance system. Construction is currently estimated to begin in 2022 and last two years.

Costs: Implementation of any of these options will be significant for Courtenay and Comox taxpayers - ranging from $160 to $240 per year, per household. All potential routes will pass along Comox (Dyke) Road and through downtown Comox and the Lazo Hill area, which means an added burden of construction impacts for those moving through and living in these areas. Cost estimates are at a class C level, which means the project is at a preliminary design phase. Cost estimates at this stage are based on current market conditions. When a preferred option is chosen, the project will enter the detailed design phase, at which point costs will be further refined.

Groundwater Assessment: Over the summer, the CVRD conducted geotechnical and hydrogeological assessments in the areas of Lazo Road and Comox Hill. The data gathered will determine if ground conditions can support the directional drilling that would be required for construction. This includes ensuring that groundwater levels and groundwater quality would not be negatively impacted. Once data from this work is analyzed, reports will be made available to the public. Looking for more information? Please read our information sheet on sewer planning and groundwater or view the video of our groundwater webinar responding to questions from Lazo Area residents.

TIME TO ‘PLUNGE IN’ ON SEWER PLANNING

The Comox Valley Sewer Service treats wastewater, or raw sewage, from homes and businesses in Courtenay, Comox and K’ómoks First Nation. More than 14,000 cubic metres of raw sewage from these communities flows daily through a pipe located along the Willemar Bluffs. This is an exposed section of beach that is vulnerable to damage by waves, rocks and logs and poses an environmental risk to our local beaches and ocean. A long-term plan that will accommodate the community’s growth and enable this at-risk pipe to be relocated is required.

The CVRD has completed the community engagement process on a shortlist of options for upgrading the service’s conveyance system, including the pipes and pump stations that move wastewater to the sewage treatment plant.

Information about the options are still available on this page, along with the link to a webinar providing an overview of the options here.

Next Steps:

  • Results of the public consultation will be summarized and shared with the public and technical advisory committee and Sewage Commission, for consideration in next steps.
  • The preferred option will be shared with the community when selected.
  • An Alternative Approval Process (AAP) will likely be held in 2021 to approve borrowing so that work can begin as soon as possible on a new conveyance system. Construction is currently estimated to begin in 2022 and last two years.

Costs: Implementation of any of these options will be significant for Courtenay and Comox taxpayers - ranging from $160 to $240 per year, per household. All potential routes will pass along Comox (Dyke) Road and through downtown Comox and the Lazo Hill area, which means an added burden of construction impacts for those moving through and living in these areas. Cost estimates are at a class C level, which means the project is at a preliminary design phase. Cost estimates at this stage are based on current market conditions. When a preferred option is chosen, the project will enter the detailed design phase, at which point costs will be further refined.

Groundwater Assessment: Over the summer, the CVRD conducted geotechnical and hydrogeological assessments in the areas of Lazo Road and Comox Hill. The data gathered will determine if ground conditions can support the directional drilling that would be required for construction. This includes ensuring that groundwater levels and groundwater quality would not be negatively impacted. Once data from this work is analyzed, reports will be made available to the public. Looking for more information? Please read our information sheet on sewer planning and groundwater or view the video of our groundwater webinar responding to questions from Lazo Area residents.

Have a question about the sewer service in Courtenay or Comox? Go ahead and ask us. We love talking about this stuff! 

Who likes sewage? We do!

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  • why weren't we asked in the survey what our 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices would be...

    gogoboots asked about 2 months ago

    Hello gogoboots: The preferred option will be selected by the Sewage Commission based on the input from the technical and public advisory committee, project team, consulting engineers and the community. Because of the technical nature of these options, we were seeking comment/concerns about each one so that those can be considered in light of whichever option was chosen.

  • During the September 30th webinar, Kris La Rose said that the current forcemain that runs through the foreshore at the foot of the Willemar Bluffs has to be removed. He said that the forcemain “pops up to the Plant near Curtis Road” from the beach. The 4-ft.-in-diameter forcemain infrastructure does not ‘pop up’. It leaves the foreshore underground: through a beach access, crosses underneath Curtis Road and runs through the entire length of private property on Curtis Road, before it reaches publicly-owned CVRD land. In 1982, the Regional District of Comox Strathcona forced the incursion upon the private owner and stripped a swath of second growth trees (“large and valued”), with no replanting being permitted. Mr. La Rose also stated that the CVRD was committed to minimizing the impacts of the proposed changes into the Curtis Road neighbourhood. Does the CVRD’s commitment extend to the removal of the forcemain from the private property on Curtis Road once the current forcemain is decommissioned/abandoned? If not, why not, since the machinery will have to be down in the area anyway to remove the forcemain from the foreshore?

    greendog asked about 2 months ago

    The CVRD would be happy to meet with the landowner in question to discuss options for decommissioning or potentially removing the existing forcemain once it is taken out of commission.

  • How many statutory rights of way are anticipated to have to be negotiated with private landowners under the three options?

    greendog asked about 2 months ago

    Option 1 is not expected to require any SRW with private landowners. Options 2 and 3 will require SRW for some sections of the tunnelled alignments. Exactly how many and with whom will be determined in the next phase of design to be initiated once a preferred conveyance solution is selected by the sewage commission in late 2020 or early 2021.

  • In the TAC/PAC Minutes, there was mention of the CVRD’s openness to the possibility of water services being provided to property owners in the Lazo Road to Curtis Road areas, if wells might be detrimentally impacted by the conveyance project. What more has come of that query since it was discussed?

    greendog asked about 2 months ago

    The CVRD is committed to taking all possible steps to mitigate the risk of groundwater contamination in the area. In the highly unlikely event that a leak were to occur, the CVRD would work with any effected property owners to ensure a safe, reliable source of drinking water. Extension of water services is just one possible approach.

  • Option 3 of the current shortlisted proposals indicates 2 phases. The second phase that replaces the existing line from Courtenay to Jane Place would be deferred and scheduled 15 to 20 years into the future. During the on-line presentation on September 30, 2020 it was indicated that the existing pipe along the foreshore in Comox leading to Jane Place will handle community needs for the foreseeable future. Also the objective of this LWM program is to eliminate the environmental risk along the Willemar bluffs. Should this be this case why would Options 1 and 2 even be considered at this time as both options contemplate replacing an existing suitable line (base on information presented by CVRD) at a substantially higher current capital cost?

    Bill asked about 2 months ago

    Hello Bill -  The objective of the LWMP is to create a long-term plan for the Comox Valley Sewer Service. The removal of the at-risk forcemain at the Willemar Bluffs is the portion of the service in most urgent need of addressing, and is a key driver behind the development of the LWMP, but it is not the only objective. 

    For Option 1 (the overland forcemain using traditional cut and cover methods), a phased approach is not possible because it would result in significantly higher requirements for pumping which could put infrastructure that isn’t upgraded at risk. 

    Option 2 is also presented as a single-phase option for a few reasons: there has been expressed interest to remove the foreshore pipe in Comox Harbour, regardless of its current good condition, to avoid the potential for risk, and because – while there’s a higher cost now we do not know what construction costs will be in 15-20 years.

    Let us know if you need any more information,

  • Your uploaded material indicates that the Project is estimated to last two years from the start of construction. If the Phased Option is selected as the preferred option, will it still take two years for completion of the Willemar Bluffs Phase?

    greendog asked 2 months ago

    Hello Greendog. No - the phased approach would mean two, shorter construction phases separated by 15-20 years.

  • When one considers the 40-years of 'disruption' that Curtis Road-area residents have had to put up with since the current system went in, isn't the temporary traffic and noise disruption a temporary drop-in-the-bucket, none of which will impact any one neighbourhood throughout the entire duration of the project, no matter which of the three route options is eventually selected? Even each the phased-option separate projects will be phased, in terms of traffic and noise, correct? And the phased option may mean 15-20 years between the disruptions caused by the two projects, correct?

    greendog asked 2 months ago

    Hello Greendog: Yes, generally construction will move as the work progresses, particularly in areas/options using cut-and-cover techniques, which is why they’ve been marked as ‘medium’ impact. For the tunneling options/areas, there are areas where the disruption will be longer due to laydown area requirements (the pipe has to be assembled before being fed underground). To reflect the extended length of this disruption those areas are marked as ‘high’ impact in the maps. Yes, the phased option would mean 15-20 years before phases of construction. We encourage you to attend a virtual or in-person open house, or call us to speak with a project team member to ensure we can answer all of your questions about the specific impacts to your community.

  • Does the CVRD have unassailable buy-in from KFN for the route proposed through its lands? Is there any risk of a route alteration around KFN's lands in the future should the phasing option be selected?

    greendog asked 2 months ago

    Hello Greendog:  K’ómoks First Nation (KFN) is a valued partner of the CVRD and there has been extensive discussions about these options, as they relate to crossing of Indian Reserve No. 1 (IR1). A memorandum of understanding between the CVRD and KFN regarding sewer has been approved by both parties, and the KFN supports proceeding to the next phase in conveyance public consultation. With KFN approval, staff recommended to the Sewage Commission in March that Option 4a (a route that avoided IR1) not be considered for further study as it involves significantly higher costs and no discernable benefits compared to the options now on the shortlist

  • CVRD has already used the Horizontal Directional Drilling process in the past, has it not? Was the experience favourable? It's been used successfully elsewhere in BC on much larger undertakings, has it not?

    greendog asked 2 months ago

    Hello Greendog: Yes, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) was used to replace the forcemain connecting HMCS Quadra, along Goose Spit Road. That project was successfully completed though unexpected ground conditions did delay the completion. And yes, this technology has been used successfully nationally on projects large and small.

  • I am assuming that the CVRD would not be considering the tunneling options if the added risk (over the trenching option) was assessed to be of sufficient magnitude to make those options not viable even if an occasional boulder was encountered? Please confirm.

    greendog asked 2 months ago

    Hello Greendog: Yes, the tunneling option would not be presented it routine conditions would significantly alter the risk assessment. Preliminary geotechnical results indicate high likelihood of minimal cobbles, and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) can handle some cobbles.