The Cowhichan Valley Regional District has been doing Liquid Waste Management study of the South Sector, which includes Shawnigan Lake (also known as Area B). Liquid waste means sewers and septic fields; solid waste means garbage and recycling.
This current study will replace a study done in 1998. While dated and soon to be replaced by the new study, this older study does cover the basic problems we face.
In summary, the 1998 report recommends:
- A central sewer system should be installed to service:
- Shawnigan Village;
- Shawnigan Lake Shoreline;
- Mill Bay Core;
- Mill Bay Shoreline; and
- Cobble Hill Village.
- A common treatment plant should be located in Mill Bay with an outfall to Satellite Channel located north of Hatch Point.
- The wastewater converyance system should be essentially a conventional gravity system using low pressure mains and STEP systems as required.
There is no current document on the CVRD web site for the new Liquid Waste Management study.
With cutbacks in Provincial spending in the current downturn, this new study could well be delayed for some years.
The trailer park on South Shawnigan Lake Road has installed a waste water treament facility capable of handling 150 homes at a cost of less than $2 million. The treated water from this plant is released on crown land well away from the lake.
The option of using small facilities like this, with several located around the lake handling waste for all homes within 200 metres of the lake (homes that cannot locate their own septic field more than 200 metres from the lake), may be an alternative to the central facility in Mill Bay.
This would be particularly true for properties on the south east and wouth west sides of the lake. It may even make sense for all properties more than 1 to 2 kilometres from Shawnigan Village (the current sewage collection area).
The provision of a sewage system, even on of this limited size, would have side effects we must consider. Right now density is pretty well limited for all areas NOT served by a sewer system - all those on septic fields. If we install any type of sewer system the pressure for higher densities would increase. This would mean applications for lot subdivision would be much more common. Some might be approved, particularly if these applications were considered by the CVRD as whole rather than an incorporated Area B.