2011 Water – Co-winner 2
Village of Victoria, Prince Edward Island and Engineering Technologies Canada
Water and Wastewater Pilot Project
Residents of the small seaside community of Victoria, P.E.I., had always relied on private holding tanks and septic systems to handle sewage but, by the 21st century, failing septic systems were discharging effluent not only into the soil, but also into the groundwater and into Victoria Harbour. No new building permits could be issued, economic expansion was impossible, and residents were starting to leave the village. Victoria needed an affordable, sustainable and environmentally responsible solution to its sewage problem.
With the unanimous support of its residents, the village developed an integrated water and wastewater plan. After extensive research and community consultation, the village selected a land-based effluent dispersal (LBED) system that makes use of new technologies for sewage collection, treatment, and effluent dispersal.
The village’s utility installed septic tanks on every lot and connected them to pods in a central packed-bed filter system where wastewater is treated before being sent to the land-based dispersal site outside of the village. To encourage water conservation, the utility introduced water meters and a pay-per-use billing system. It also offered a rebate to customers willing to install low-flow toilets.
- All phosphorus and fecal coliform discharges into Victoria Harbour have been entirely eliminated.
- Suspended solids have been reduced by 90 per cent and there has been a 58 per cent reduction in nitrate output to groundwater.
- CO2 emissions related to pumping out the holding and septic tanks have decreased by 54 per cent.
- The installation of low-flow toilets has reduced water consumption by six per cent.
- The new system has eliminated the public health hazard associated with failing septic systems and the cost of expensive holding tank pump-outs.
- The installed system has the lowest life-cycle cost of all of the systems the village and its engineer evaluated.
- At least five local businesses have expanded since the completion of the central sanitation system allowed them to acquire construction permits.