On Monday, September 25, 2023 Colwood Council endorsed a Sewer Master Plan Update for planning purposes.
Council directed staff to provide options for how sewer service could be expanded throughout Colwood, detailing a phased approach that considers the cost, geology, existing infrastructure and growth expected for each area of the City.
The majority of Colwood households are currently served by septic systems (about 55% of the 2021 population per the current study). Many of these private systems are aging and may require repair or replacement over the coming years. Colwood residents on septic systems can request to pay for a new connection to the municipal sewer system only if there is an existing sewer line adjacent to their property. New developments are required to extend and connect to municipal sewers.
The Sewer Master Plan Update advances our community's understanding of the many complex factors that would be involved if the City were to consider a phased expansion of sewer service throughout Colwood.
Consider areas where septic systems are less effective and more likely to need repair or replacement. Many areas of Colwood have excellent soil percability, meaning fluids are absorbed and filtered effectively, making septic systems an effective, affordable and environmentally friendly option. Other areas are rocky and offer lower absorption and drainage.
Consider areas of the City that are adjacent to existing sewer lines, pump stations and other sewer infrastructure, making it feasible and cost effective to create new connections.
Consider areas the community has identified for intended growth in the Official Community Plan, where new developments will be required to add sewer service. This creates opportunities for the City to consider further expansion at the same time in a cost effective way.
The Sewer Master Plan estimates the cost for the municipality to sewer the entire community at $103 million (2022 estimate), which would be phased over the next 20 or more years. This is likely to have a significant impact on taxpayers as well as on the City's borrowing capacity for other infrastructure projects. The City would work to create a funding model that considers property owners who have already invested in sewer upgrades.
The cost estimates provided in this study are of Class ‘D’ accuracy. This means they are approximate and provide order of magnitude costs based on broad requirements such as pipe size and material. They do not include the cost of many possible site specific considerations such as relocating existing infrastructure such as water or hydro, environmental permitting, or geotechnical issues.
Understanding the costs and creating a potential phased approach to sewer expansion positions the City to apply for infrastructure grants that may become available.
To give a sense of how a phased expansion could look, the Sewer Master Plan Update includes a map showing one approach the City could consider to phase conversion from septic service to sewer service throughout Colwood over the next 20 years. Red indicates areas that could be considered for an earlier phase of conversion, orange indicates medium phase, and yellow areas would be considered in the longer term.
Review the full Sewer Master Plan Update.
Contact the Colwood Engineering team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-478-5999 if you have questions about sewer service in Colwood.