On August 21, 2014 the Port Authority approved a controversial coal-loading facility at Fraser Surrey Docks, which is located on the edge of the Fraser River in Surrey, BC. They intend to ship 4 million metric tonnes of U.S. thermal coal annually, with the potential to increase the annual shipments to 8 million metric tonnes.
At their facility, they will need to discharge coal laden wastewater, which comes from the collection of water used for things such as dust suppression systems, washing down of equipment/facility, and rainwater. Some of the water will be recycled on site, to be used again, but there will be an excess of dirty water, which needs to be dealt with. There are 3 options for the disposal of this wastewater, but Fraser Surrey Docks has chosen to apply to Metro Vancouver for a liquid waste permit to dispose of the contaminated water into the Metro Vancouver sewage system.
There are of course, regulations and guidelines under the Sewer Use Bylaw 299, 2007, which will dictate to a certain extent the ability and manner by which this coal-laden water can be disposed (i.e. pre-treating the wastewater onsite to an “acceptable” suspended solid concentration before it can be disposed of into the sewer system). But even still, there are potential concerns with their application and with what they are proposing.
Below is a copy of the submission (and supporting documents) Communities and Coal sent to Metro Vancouver on July 7, 2014 before we had a copy of Fraser Surrey Docks’ liquid waste permit. Information contained within was drawn from their Environmental Assessment documents (November 2013).
Here is the letter sent to Metro Vancouver from Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, and Communities and Coal on July 21, 2014, after receiving a copy of their liquid waste permit application, highlighting some discrepancies with their data:
Grant McGillivray, Metro’s Sewage Control Manager, will be looking at Fraser Surrey Docks’ application, as well as public comments as he considers whether or not the proposed liquid waste application poses a threat to not only human health and safety but also the environment, among other things. After carefully considering both sides, a decision on the permit will be made.
Because of the overwhelming community outcry over the Fraser Surrey Docks project, Metro Vancouver has taken the unprecedented step of asking for public comments on the liquid waste permit application. They have not, however, given a clear idea as to the length of the comment period, and because of this, it is important you take the time now to weigh in on this application and voice your opinion while there is still time.
If you would like to send a comment to Metro Vancouver, we have set up a site with other concerned groups, whereby you can submit your concerns, all the while keeping the comments transparent. CLICK HERE to connect to Realporthearings.org and send your thoughts now.