February 11, 2020

The Comox Valley Sewage Commission has approved additional odour upgrades at the Comox Valley Water Pollution Control Centre, which treats sewage from the City of Courtenay, Town of Comox and CFB Comox.

Following study work, analysis and consultation with the community, the sewage commission has approved $7 million in odour upgrades at the treatment plant, including the covering of bioreactors and treatment of the additional odorous air through a new, larger wet chemical scrubber. Odour dispersion modelling shows these measures will bring odours down to a minimally detectable level for residents living near the treatment plant.

“I would like to thank our neighbours for their patience while we arrived at this decision. Balancing the demands on our services is not easy and it was important to take the time to conduct a fulsome study and analysis before making such a significant investment.” said David Frisch, Chair of the Sewage Commission. “We are confident this is the right decision, both for the sewage service and for the neighbours whose quality of life has been negatively impacted by the treatment plant.”

Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2021. The sewage commission also directed staff to consider implementing interim measures to minimize facility odours while the system is under construction.

In addition to the upgrades, a two tier odour standard will be implemented that is in line with other jurisdictions in the province including the Capital Regional District and Metro Vancouver. An upper “design” limit will be set at five Odour Units at the treatment plant property line, with a decision to be made on a lower “operational” limit once upgrades are in place and follow-up odour sampling and dispersion modelling is complete.

History of Odour Complaints
A legal settlement in the 1990s led to the implementation of $7 million in improvements at the sewage treatment plant, including covering of odorous tanks, a new wet chemical scrubber and the removal of biosolids to the landfill. However, some odours continued to persist and in 2013 the Sewage Commission directed staff to undertake further study work and recommend additional mitigation measures. In 2018, $2 million was invested to cover the primary clarifier and install an activated carbon polisher at the plant. Following continued complaints from the neighbours, additional modelling and analysis was completed in 2019 which resulted in today’s decision. 

For more information about the sewage treatment plant and these upgrades visit:  www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/upgrades

The Comox Valley Regional District is a federation of three electoral areas and three municipalities providing sustainable services for residents and visitors to the area. The members of the regional district work collaboratively on services for the benefit of the diverse urban and rural areas of the Comox Valley.

Media Contact:

Kris La Rose
Senior Manager of Water and Wastewater Services
Comox Valley Regional District