Uplands Combined Sewer Separation Project - Update

March 18, 2015

The provincial government through its Municipal Wastewater Regulation has mandated that combined sewer and storm water sewers must be separated. This means that all communities in BC that still have single pipe infrastructure must take the appropriate action to separate storm water flow from sanitary sewage flow.    

Currently in Oak Bay, the Uplands neighbourhood has a one pipe system to accommodate both sanitary sewer and storm water flows. This system was installed more than 100 years ago.  To achieve its mandated objectives, last year The District of Oak Bay commissioned a detailed survey of the Uplands area to obtain the information necessary to identify and inform several project solutions.  To date, surveyors have collected pertinent elevations data throughout the Uplands and this completed work triggers the next step which is to explore in more detail, design options and their corresponding costs estimates for decision making purposes.

Council has asked staff to move ahead with a Request For Proposals (RFP) for consulting services to undertake a pre-design study to examine options for sewer separation in the Uplands. Options to be considered include:

  • the existing combined gravity sanitary sewer would only carry storm water;
  • the existing combined gravity sanitary sewer would only carry wastewater;
  • a low pressure sewer system for wastewater;
  • a low pressure sewer system for storm water;
  • a combination of gravity and low pressure systems, and
  • any other innovative approach envisaged by the Consultant to achieve the goal of separating the combined gravity sanitary sewer in the Uplands neighbourhood.

The RFP will request site specific geotechnical investigations to identify appropriate conditions for ground infiltration, either for rain-gardens or on-site ground disposal of rainwater. In addition, design concepts will reflect the desire to minimize trench construction and easements on private property which would potentially negatively impact fences, hedges, and, in particular, healthy, mature, trees.

The District of Oak Bay has engaged the services of an experienced consultant to lead this important project, and has committed to a fulsome communications and community engagement process to ensure that citizens have access to accurate information along with the opportunity to ask questions and provide input.  Council will be inviting the community to consider the social, economic and environmental benefits of all options presented.

Upon the conclusion of a comprehensive review with the community, Council will ask staff to proceed to detailed design for one option, and will seek government funding to advance this project to construction. Compliance with the Municipal Wastewater Regulation is mandatory.   

The pre-design study is expected to commence in early spring. Public consultation will begin on the identified options in the fall.

Regular updates will be provided on this site as we move forward.