The regional district board has endorsed a plan to evaluate odour issues at the Comox Valley water pollution control centre on Brent Road in Area B (Lazo North).
The CVRD has received odour-related complaints since the facility was constructed in 1984. However, a policy adopted in 2006 directs against further spending unless staff become of aware of new control technology or operating procedures that could result in odour reduction or when odour levels increase.
Contingent on budget approval in March, staff will evaluate equipment and practices at the centre by way of performance testing, auditing operational and maintenance practices, reviewing technologies and developing a monitoring system to ensure odour control performance. In addition, a tracking system will be implemented to ensure complaints are consistently managed and monitored.
The allocated budget amount for these programs is about $50,000 for the 2014 fiscal year.
“Although the CVRD does an excellent job of operating and maintaining the odour control equipment, these new measures such as the monitoring system will help to ensure that the equipment continuously meets its performance objectives,” Comox director Tom Grant, who chairs the CVRD’s sewage commission, said in a news release.
The CVRD says it has taken “significant measures” to investigate and implement programs to improve odour-related issues at the plant and in the surrounding community. Programs include a wet chemical scrubber system to capture and treat odorous gases from process equipment. In addition, the compost facility has been relocated to a remote, off-site location.
Curtis Road resident Jenny Steel says the district has done nothing over the past decade except ignore complaints and hide behind its policy. She questions how Grant can say the CVRD does an excellent job of operating and maintaining equipment while approving an evaluation to ensure it works properly.
“It’s certainly obvious to everyone in our neighbourhood that it’s not working properly,” Steel said. “I’m very concerned that the CVRD has not committed to fix this problem.
“The plant capacity is to double in the next decade and we’re worried that the expansion will cause even more problems for us. They can’t even tell us what it is that we’re smelling let alone what it may be doing to our health. This is not acceptable.”
She questions if the CVRD is fully committed to conduct an evaluation since it depends on budget approval in March.
“We’ve asked for them to complete certain parts of the evaluation sooner but, as yet, we have received no response to that request,” Steel said.
To review the report on odour-related issues at the CVWPCC and programs recommended under the 2014 proposed budget, visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/cvwpcc.