Monday 26 November 2012

Battery oil wastewater plant - more information

Councillor Sheilagh O'Leary has copied us on the following letter outlining her concerns.  Information from the proponent can be seen here, which says "there will be a series of containers for the water treatment equipment, office and material storage units. There will also be a series of tanks (up to 6) to contain both wastewater and treated water. The hours of operation are scheduled during normal business hours. Extra hours and weekend work may be required depending on the schedule of the supply vessels.".  There is no information given about how much noise this will create.  We understand that Port Authority may be enthusiastic about sticking this plant here in the Battery. Anyone concerned should make their views known now.  December 7th is the deadline for comments to Minister Hedderson's office (see O'Leary letter below) Some issues may be:  noise, smell, eyesore, negative effect on B&B and tourism operations, etc.  Feel free to copy comments to this blog.

Honourable Minister Hedderson.
Department of Environment and Conservation
Confederation Building.
P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s, NL
A1B 4J6
November 9th, 2012
To the Honourable Minister Hedderson,
Hope this finds you well and that your transition to the Environment & Conservation portfolio is going smooth.
As a St. John’s City Councillor and as Chair of the newly re-instated Environmental Advisory Committee for the City of St. John’s, I am writing to voice my clear concern and opposition to the proposal for a wastewater treatment facility that would process petroleum hydrocarbons, total suspended solids, solids, metals typically associated with hydrocarbons, and free oil on Pier 17 right under Battery Road on the City of St. John’s harbourfront.

I have great reservations about a potential wastewater treatment facility releasing this oil by-product "to the City’s storm or sanitary sewer". I have been having discussions with environmental engineers regarding the potential risks/ill-effects resulting from such a close proximity to residents of the Battery as well as to the hundreds of impending residents in the downtown condominium developments and anxiety on this application is growing. I have also been receiving letters of great concern from downtown business owners.

As you are aware, the City of St. John’s has received no application to date and via our Development Committee, has advised against this proposal due to a lack of substantial information on impacts. How much noise with this facility make? My understanding is that this residue/sludge requires vacuum removal and existing facilities are known to cause a great deal of noise. The facility would also be at the mercy of ship scheduling as opposed to a pre-scheduled daytime function. Oil smells are another concern. There are many regulatory issues to address, but the appropriate location is the utmost concern I have on behalf of residents.

The City’s planning department has been actively engaging the residents of St. John’s through our City's municipal plan review process and residents have voiced a strong desire for a more revitalized, livable harbourfront. Though I am completely cognizant of the need for such an oil waste production facility and certainly support good environmental stewardship regarding the safe disposal of oil waste, it does not need be based in the heart of our Battery/ downtown area. This area is one of our City’s biggest assets in regards to provincial and city tourism and would be in direct conflict with the Provincial tourism’s heavily invested, promotional efforts.
Your government challenges us all to take an active role in promoting our environment. Clean air, water and land are priceless natural endowments and protection of these resources and our historic areas such as the Battery bring a wealth of tourism and that as individuals, groups and businesses, and government, it is our responsibility to protect and sustain this environment.

Other options for such a facility must be found and I look forward to your response. Thank you for your time and attention to this serious environment issue.

Councillor O’Leary

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Battery offshore wastewater plant proposed

!City Council (and the Province) is apparently considering a proposal to put an offshore wastewater plant at Pier 17.   It should be of serious concern to Outer Battery residents.  Will there be a smell?  Noise? Will the waste water discharge flow past our front doors?  What will this mean for small boats?  For tourism?  How will it affect us?

We've asked our Ward Councillor, Frank Galgay, to give us information about this.

Meanwhile,  this information is from Councillor Sheilagh O'Leary's facebook page:  PLEASE read the following Provincial Environment and Conservation bulletin and if you agree with me, write or call Minister Hedderson and tell him you DO NOT want this wastewater facility for offshore drilling to be developed at Pier 17, right under Battery Road in historic downtown St. John's. During our City of St. John's Municipal plan review process, citizens who shared the common desire for a revitalized harbourfront (that is people friendly and engages pedestrian traffic and amenities) spoke loud and clear. 

This proposition is completely inappropriate and dangerous to our environment & unique heritage area and defies the input we have received from the public. 

***   The Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Environment and Conservation, has announced the following events relative to Part 10 Environmental Assessment of the Environmental Protection Act.

Environment and ConservationNovember 2, 2012
Environmental Assessment Bulletin:The Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister of Environment and Conservation, has announced the following events relative to Part 10 Environmental Assessment of the Environmental Protection Act.
Encanex Wastewater Treatment Operation (Reg. 1679)Proponent: ENCANEX Environmental Oil & Gas Corp.
The proponent has submitted a proposal to establish and operate a wastewater treatment facility at Pier 17 on the north side of St. Johns Harbour.
The proposed 5000 square foot existing infill site at Pier 17 is located on the harbour front just east of the existing MI SWACO site and south of the Battery Road and residential area. This facility will receive wastewater from offshore drilling operations that may contain total petroleum hydrocarbons, total suspended solids, solids (90 per cent > 50 microns), metals typically associated with hydrocarbons, and free oil. The wastewater will be received from ship via piping on the existing infrastructure. Wastewater will be treated at a maximum rate of 50 gallons per minute and discharge water will meet Schedule A or B of the Newfoundland and Labrador Treatment Control Water and Sewer Regulations. With the necessary permits in place, treated water within these schedules will be released to storm or sanitary sewer.
The proposed facility will provide up to five new jobs and treatment operations are scheduled to commence as early as January 1, 2013.
The undertaking was registered on November 1, 2012; the deadline for public comments is December 7, 2012; and the Ministers decision is due by December 16, 2012.
Contact:Minister Tom (709) 729-2577Fax: (709) 729-0112Toll Free: 1-877-787-0707