Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dr. Gerald Graham's Sewage Treatment Expertise

Part of Dr. Gerald Graham's interest in the Victoria sewage treatment issue stems from his involvement over twenty years ago in the World Bank's Urban Environment Project in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia. Dr. Graham participated in two short-term consulting missions to this West African coastal country, which at the time was flushing raw, untreated sewage into, among other places, the Tourist Development Zone on the outskirts of the capital.

The Urban Environment Project included a component to install sewage pipes throughout the capital, as well as a facility to treat the sewage so that it would no longer end up on the beaches, tourism being one of the country's principal sources of economic activity.

Dr. Graham participated in the feasibility study phase of this World Bank-financed Gambian initiative.

It is Dr. Graham's fervent hope that his adopted city of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, which also depends heavily upon tourism, will now follow the lead of this poor West African nation and treat its sewage.

To be fair, at least we have sewage pipes that collect our sewage before dumping it into the sea. In the case of The Gambia, most of the downtown area at least had open trenches where raw sewage collected.

In 2006 Dr. Graham was commissioned to write a report entitled "Is Victoria Sewage Contaminating Southern Resident Killer Whales?", which was submitted to the SETAC panel tasked with reviewing the issue of Victoria sewage.

In 2012 Dr. Graham was part of a team representing the pro-treatment side in a public forum on sewage treatment that took place in Oak Bay, a suburb of Victoria.

In 2013 Dr. Graham made a presentation on sewage treatment before the Capital Regional District Board in Victoria.

Dr. Graham has a keen personal interest in sewage treatment as well. In both Ottawa and Central Saanich, for instance, he and his wife toured the local sewage treatment plants, to get a better feel for what sewage looks and smells like, to see how it is treated and what the end product is. This first hand exposure to sewage treatment is more than can be said for most of the opponents of sewage treatment in Victoria, who probably have never set foot inside such a facility, even though one exists right in their own backyard, so to speak.

Finally, Dr. Graham has visited the site of the proposed secondary treatment facility at McLoughlin Pt. in Esquimalt.

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