Project Overview


Metro Vancouver is reviewing and updating the Liquid Waste Management Plan.

Our current Integrated Liquid Waste and Resource Management Plan, approved by the provincial government in 2011, established the coordinated approach for wastewater management in the Metro Vancouver region. It sets out goals, strategies, and actions for Metro Vancouver and our member jurisdictions that help ensure the protection of public health and the environment, while using wastewater as a resource and minimizing treatment costs.

Metro Vancouver is updating the plan to:

  • Continue protecting human health and the environment
  • Reflect current and emerging societal priorities
  • Maintain alignment with legislation
  • Align with a broad range of other critical wastewater management initiatives underway across the region
  • Incorporate improved technologies and new scientific developments

The review and update process started in 2021 and is expected to take three years. It will be supported by robust community engagement.

Liquid Waste Management Plan Update Overview

Public Engagement 

Your opinion counts

Metro Vancouver is committed to engaging individuals and organizations who may be impacted by or have an interest in the plan update. Metro Vancouver will invite the following people and organizations to provide feedback during all phases of engagement:

  • Indigenous Nations and peoples
  • Government and regulatory agencies, provincial and federal governments, member jurisdictions, adjacent regional districts, crown corporations, and health authorities
  • Commercial, institutional, and industrial wastewater generators, and owners/operators of private liquid waste collection, processing and treatment businesses
  • Industry and business associations, professional associations, and academic institutions
  • Community, environmental, and non-profit groups, NGOs, youth and students
  • Metro Vancouver residents
  • Phase 1 (Complete)

    The purpose of Phase 1 engagement was to:

    • Review the current liquid waste management plan and identify successes, opportunities for improvement, and gaps.
    • Develop a vision, goals and guiding principles for the updated liquid waste management plan.

     Watch the public webinar recording, November 9 & 16, 2021

  • Phase 1 What We Heard

    The first phase of public engagement took place between October 25 and November 30, 2021. During this time, we listened to ideas and gathered feedback on the direction for the next plan.

    Your feedback will inform Phase 2 engagement, which includes developing draft goals, strategies, and actions for the updated plan.

     Phase 1 Public Engagement Summary Report

    Based on your feedback so far, we’ve heard some key priorities for the next plan. We’re thinking about ways to achieve these priorities in the next plan, and working on them now as part of projects and improvements already underway.

    Priority What we’re doing

    Improve local ecosystem health for agricultural, recreational, and Indigenous uses

    We’re responding:

    In the next plan, we will continue to control sources of conventional contaminants — such as oils and heavy metals — while exploring ways to manage emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and microplastics. Recognizing that wastewater treatment plants are a potential pathway for pollutants to enter into the environment, but not the primary source of pollutants, we continue our efforts to reduce or eliminate hard to treat pollutants at their source. We will work with provincial and federal regulators on source management strategies, for example, advocating for further regulation of chemicals from industrial producers.

    We’re engaging with Indigenous Nations to understand their perspectives and priorities for the next plan, including those around water quality in our streams, rivers, and ocean.

    We’re working to reduce the amount of stormwater that enters the wastewater system through improperly connected home and business storm drains, and through cracks in sewage pipes and joints – which contributes to sanitary sewer overflows. Possible solutions include financial incentives for municipalities and the public to help manage stormwater and public education campaigns on homeowner responsibilities for the sewer pipes on their property.


    What else we’re doing:

    • Partnership with the Ocean Wise Conservation Association: We’re working to better understand the amount of microfibers in our aquatic environment and where they are coming from, both at our wastewater treatment plants and at a laundry machine testing facility.
    • Wastewater treatment plant upgrades: We’re making major improvements to our wastewater treatment plants to protect water quality and the marine environment to better achieve our vision of healthy waters, all while meeting the needs of our growing population.
    • Public education: We will continue to develop call-to-action public education campaigns about laundry as a major source of microplastics, what household items should never be flushed, and working to manage stormwater on residential property. More are being developed all the time to address emerging issues.
    • Innovation programs: We are testing the use of biorock to protect marine life and coastal infrastructure.

    Be resilient to climate change

    We’re responding:

    In the next plan, we’re looking at new ways to better manage stormwater, as the intensity and volume of storms continue to increase due to climate change. We will look at ways to better integrate green infrastructure into regional and municipal development planning. Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other approaches to retain and clean stormwater before it is released into groundwater, streams, and rivers — rather than overwhelming urban sewer infrastructure.


    What else we’re doing:

    • Wastewater treatment plant improvements: We are improving our wastewater treatment plants to adapt to sea level rise from climate change and better manage our wastewater system during wet weather and storms.
    • Stormwater management: Current and future work to better manage stormwater and inflow and infiltration through green infrastructure and other approaches helps to free up sewer system capacity and protect our wastewater system during wet weather and storms.
    • Water and energy reduction: We are reducing water and energy use at our wastewater treatment plants to minimize our impact on climate change.
    • Wastewater as a resource: Four of Metro Vancouver’s wastewater treatment plants use wastewater to generate heat, electricity, or renewable natural gas.

    Ensure everyone has access to clean waterways, including future generations

    We’re responding:

    The next plan is being framed around the vision: Healthy Waters. For All. Forever. We know that collaboration is key to the success of the plan. We are engaging Indigenous Nations, community, environmental, and non-profit groups, youth and students, industry, as well as residents and businesses to make sure we understand the needs and concerns of all the communities that depend on our local waterways.


    What else we’re doing:

    • Environmental management and monitoring: Metro Vancouver regularly tests and monitors treated wastewater, areas where treated wastewater enters local waterways, the overall health of the aquatic environment, and recreational beaches.
    • Wastewater treatment plant upgrades: Three of Metro Vancouver’s five wastewater treatment plants have planned upgrades to tertiary treatment, which goes above and beyond regulatory requirements and will improve the quality of treated wastewater that goes into our rivers and ocean.
    • Real-time sewer overflow map: We provide real-time information about sewer overflows so that people can make informed decisions about their activities near the areas where these events occur.

    Keep rates affordable and fair

    We’re responding:

    In the next plan, we will implement approaches to make sure that actions are cost-effective. We will begin to develop a long-term plan for upgrading and improving the wastewater system so that improvements are achievable and affordable in the long-term.


    What else we’re doing:

    • Cost-effectiveness is considered when planning and developing new projects and improvements, to ensure that we are making the most efficient use of available funding.
    • Wet weather pricing: We are implementing new initiatives where members with higher wet weather contributions will pay more, and, as a result, those with lower wet weather contributions pay less, incentivizing action on inflow and infiltration management.
  • Phase 2 Engagement (Underway)

    Work on Phase 2 engagement is underway.

    During this phase, we will engage with all affected communities to develop goals, strategies, and actions for the next plan.

    We are working closely with Indigenous Nations to ensure that Indigenous perspectives and priorities are incorporated into the new plan.

    We are engaging with technical and public advisory committees, and member jurisdictions to understand their challenges, opportunities, and priorities.

    Once this is complete, the draft plan content will be shared with the public for input. Your feedback will inform the new draft Liquid Waste Management Plan to be considered by the Metro Vancouver Board.

    Phase 2 public engagement is currently planned for winter 2022. More details on how to provide your feedback will be provided here before engagement begins.

  • Public Advisory Committee

    The Liquid Waste Management Plan Public Advisory Committee will provide expert knowledge and relevant experience to inform the review and update of the plan. The committee will report out to Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Committee after the second engagement phase. Potential topics for engagement with the advisory committee include managing rainwater and stormwater, managing and treating wastewater, managing assets and risk, innovation, affordability, and collaboration and engagement.

    Terms of Reference

    • Deborah Carlson, Co-Chair
    • Stephanie Chang
    • Lauren Brown Hornor
    • Lucero Gonzalez Ruiz
    • Deborah Jones
    • Jacek Redlinski
    • Peter Ross, Co-Chair
    • Chi Ho Sham
    • Graham With

    Meeting Summaries and Presentations

    Kick-Off Meeting, November 5, 2021:

     Summary

     Presentation

    Meeting #2, December 14, 2021:

     Summary

     Presentation

    Meeting #3, May 2, 2022:

     Summary

     Presentation

  • Project Documents



Timeline

 

 

Phase 1 – 2021 False1Phase 1 – 2021 <div class="ExternalClass6E3EB9D950744903A9E578432D3A221D"><p>Vision and Guiding Principles</p></div>
Phase 2 - 2022True2Phase 2 - 2022<div class="ExternalClass69C72E3EC1AF4F67AB6E55754A093263"><p>Goals, Strategies, and Actions<br></p></div>
Phase 3 - 2023False3Phase 3 - 2023<div class="ExternalClass64608A9984724E32A243B1FF930AD3C2"><p>Draft Plan<br></p></div>
2023 - 2024False42023 - 2024<div class="ExternalClassDEB4FB0951FE4BA5A8C64B34C620B28F"><p>Plan Approvals</p></div>


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