Water quality experts are split on which wastewater system is the best choice for treating sewage and making sure it is safe to drink.
A sewage smell sensor on the water treatment plant at the City of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia.
It has been installed in the city to detect and monitor sewage odours, but experts say it is not yet used as much as they hope.
“It is not something that the public is very comfortable with,” said Dr. Michael Bouchard, an environmental scientist with the University of Victoria’s School of Public Health.
Bouchards study found that people in Victoria and other jurisdictions had higher levels of bacteria in their bodies compared to people in other parts of Canada.
The study found the average person in Victoria has 10 times the amount of bacteria than in the United States.
That study was published in the Journal of Environmental Health.
“We really need to understand what’s driving the differences,” said Bouchars co-author, Dr. Scott J. Brown, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the University in Victoria.
Broughton said the city of Victoria has installed a system with the most sensors and the least chemicals in place.
It uses a combination of wastewater treatment and treatment with chlorine, which can disinfect the water.
But he said it was not enough.
“The thing that we’re really focusing on is the microbial environment of the water,” Broughons study found.
He said in Victoria the average number of bacteria per cubic meter of water is around 25.
Boughons team found that about 10 per cent of the wastewater system had bacteria in it, and about half the wastewater treatment systems did not.
He estimated that the majority of the bacteria were in the sewage treatment plants.
But Broughs study also found that the sewage system was not safe to use.
It found bacteria in some samples from the sewage plant and in some from the water supply, but not in all of them.
Brought up in the 1950s, Broughts mother, a nurse, raised him on her family farm.
“She was very clean,” he said.
“And we would do laundry at night.
In 2009, Boughs and his team started testing water samples from around the city and the surrounding area. “
I would go into the house, and she would wash the laundry and I would have to go back in there.”
In 2009, Boughs and his team started testing water samples from around the city and the surrounding area.
They were looking at whether people in the area had any bacteria in them.
“There was a large number of samples that were negative for all three bacteria and that indicated that there was a high level of bacterial contamination,” he told CBC News.
“So we began a series of tests and found that that was the case.
And we then got the test results, and it was quite a big number.”
The testing also showed that people were not being treated properly.
About half of the samples were negative, and Broughson’s team found it was due to the amount and type of bacteria present.
The team said in general, the level of bacteria was very low.
The water from the treatment plant was a significant source of bacteria.
“They were not taking any precautions, and so we were starting to see a high rate of contamination in the community,” he explained.
“One of the reasons why is that the wastewater has been treated in a way that is not going to allow that to happen.”
He said it is also not being reused.
“People are taking it out and putting it into the sewer system,” he added.
The city of Vancouver has been working to get the city’s sewage treatment system up and running, but Brought said the public has been slow to embrace the new technology.
“This is the first public sewage system in the world that is actually designed to handle sewage and it is actually quite sophisticated and well designed,” he continued.
“But it is still a really slow rollout.”
Brough is also concerned about how well the system is being monitored.
The public was not told about the new sewage system until late last year, and he says the city has not released any information about it yet.
He also said there are issues with the system itself, which is not a public service.
“What they need to do is get it up and working as fast as they can and see if it’s really worth the effort and cost,” he suggested.
Bougys team is now working with the city, the B.C. government, the provincial government, and the federal government to develop the plan.
He says that is why the public needs to be educated about the importance of sewage in a sustainable way.
“You don’t want a waste system where you have a huge amount of waste and you have no idea how much of it is coming in,” he concluded.