In the June 30 edition of Beefs and Bouquets a reader writes to bemoan the “practically doubling” cost of septage disposal and invites the Regional District to deliver “a totally bogus spiel” explaining why they are ripping off users of septic tanks.
|June 30 septic beef|
I am retired now, but back in the day I was the chief operator of the sewage treatment plant and the co-author of the first septage disposal fee bylaw. Here is the “crap” on how the tipping fee is calculated.
But first, let’s get some hard numbers out of the way.
The rate for disposing of septage has increased by 11.7 per cent over the past three years which is a long way from doubling. When you look all the way back to 1998 when the original rate was $0.035 per litre, the Regional District still hasn’t doubled the rate even though 23 years have passed.
So, how was the rate devised, what is the “spiel”?
I used a model for calculating septage treatment and disposal costs presented in the Water Environment Federation’s Manual of Practice #24 Septage Handling and the US EPA document Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Manual. These documents provided a method to fairly recover costs of debt servicing, labour, power, maintenance and disposal / reuse for both the liquid and solid streams generated while co-treating septage and municipal wastewater. Although I do not know for it for certain, I assume that the same data points (updated to the present time) are in use today.
Readers of a certain age will recall when former Area C Director, Harold Macy, equated the annual cost to the taxpayer of acquiring Tsolum Spirit Park as being equivalent to the cost of 2 beers and a pizza. I’m not sure what beer or pizza goes for these days but the annualized cost of disposing of a household’s septage is about the same as a full tank of gas.
General Manager of Operational Service (retired)