When the group from Sidney visited Niimi four years ago they were given a tour of the municipal waste treatment facility. They said it was really interesting. When we were given a sample itinerary for our trip the facility was not on the agenda. We sent a message back to Sayuri-san, our guide, asking if we could please pay a visit. Being far too polite to refuse a direct request she made the arrangements, probably thinking all the while ‘crazy Canadians!’ Being a most excellent guide she spent some time with Google to make sure she was up on her terminology and away we went.
Of course Sayuri-san has no way of knowing that this is a subject of abiding interest to people in the Victoria area as we continue with the hand wringing and endless discussion involved in solving our local waste treatment issues.
This plant is located in the community, between a business road and a sports park. Most of the facility is underground. This one serves about 4,300 people of the city population of 33,000 and manages about 4,000 m3 of through put a day, producing water that has had 98% of solid material removed. The output is not potable, but is safe to return to the river. The street side of the facility has a fountain, cascade and garden area, complete with a stream with small fish.
Of course we had a tour – here they are proving that what goes in is sewage – lifting the manhole cover in the street provided definite olfactory evidence!
Sample from the settling tanks. The clear water on top is diverted to the river. Beneficial microbes in the sludge are removed and reused and the remaining sludge is dried, packaged and sold as fertilizer at local garden centres.
So, how ’bout it, Victoria?
We were accompanied all day long by still and video cameramen – Bob got to do an interview at the waste treatment plant.
The field in the background is the underground part of the plant.