In 2014 the Port Authority approved a controversial coal port at Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD), located on the bank of the Fraser River in Surrey, BC. FSD plans to ship 4 million metric tonnes of U.S. thermal coal annually with potential to increase shipments to 8 million metric tonnes in future.
FSD will need to process coal laden wastewater, primarily contaminated rain water, generated during the handling and export of this coal. FSD has applied to Metro Vancouver for a liquid waste permit to dispose of this contaminated rain water through Metro Vancouver’s sanitary sewage system. FSD has concluded that this is the cheapest and easiest way to get rid of its waste.
Metro’s Sewer Use Bylaw 299, (2007) limits how waste water can be discharged to the sanitary sewer system. More fundamentally, Metro Vancouver’s Liquid Waste Management Plan encourages reduction of pollution at source and discourages entry of rain water into the sanitary system. FSD should avoid contaminating rain water with coal dust in the first place and it should capture and treat any contaminated waste water on site rather than further burdening our sanitary sewer system. Read a detailed critique of the application in this submission to Metro Vancouver from Communities and Coal and Voters Taking Action on Change.
Given the overwhelming concern about this project, Metro Vancouver took the unprecedented step of asking for public comments on FSD’s liquid waste permit application. Real Port Hearings received and published 3013 comments that were sent to Metro. Metro’s Sewage Control Manager will consider all these comments when he decides whether or not to approve FSD’s liquid waste permit application. The Manager will consider whether the proposed coal waste water discharge poses a threat to human health and safety and the environment,and whether it threatens the efficient and cost-effective operation of our sanitary sewer system.
The official deadline for comments expired on April 9, 2015. However, you can still share your concerns here and we will publish them as a matter of public record.