Liquid Waste Management Plan (Rainwater)
The District of Sooke has recently completed construction of sewage collection and treatment facilities under a provincially mandated Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP). The Liquid Waste Management Plan (Rainwater) has been developed with significant input from the municipal development services department, First Nations, the community and the LWMP Advisory Committee.
The LWMP process required the development of planning strategies for the long-term management of rainwater. Enhanced rainwater management will have direct effects on the environment (watercourses and watersheds), public health and well-being and the ways in which municipal infrastructure and private land is developed.
The LWMP provides clear direction to the District of Sooke as it implements the plan over the next decade to ensure that:
- Municipal rainwater infrastructure is developed in a manner that will result in healthy watercourses and a healthy near shore marine environment;
- Watershed based management approaches implemented to protect the District of Sooke’s watersheds;
- Low impact development techniques are employed to maintain, and where possible restore the pre-development hydrologic regime of urbanized and developing watersheds;
- Biological and chemical contaminants do not enter rainwater flows in the first place (rainwater source control);
- A green infrastructure approach to rainwater management is taken to provide for cleaner air through well treed riparian zones and streetscapes;
- Education and training activities are undertaken and community involvement is supported;
- Rainwater, on-site sewage treatment and groundwater recharge are not viewed in isolation;
- Spills are prevented and response and reporting protocols are in place;
- Annual monitoring and reporting of rainwater flows is undertaken;
- Methods to fund rainwater activities are investigated; and
- Regulatory policies, guidelines and options are discussed on an ongoing basis.
The Minister of Environment approved Stage 2 & 3 (Rainwater) LWMP in May, 2011. The District of Sooke is the first community in British Columbia to integrate both Sanitary and Rainwater LWMP’s.
Innovative Rainwater Management
Sooke has many beautiful streams and creeks. They are part of the reason many of us choose to live here. However, traditional land clearing and construction practices, and many conventional ways we dealt with the rainwater that falls on a building lot, have caused damage to streams and the creatures that live in them. In Sooke we can still manage to accommodate growth and change if we do it wisely and prevent damage to our streams from new construction and redevelopment.
The kinds of problems caused by simply putting rainwater into a pipe and discharging it quickly to a nearby stream or the ocean shoreline can include:
- toxic pollutants from our roadways, homes, businesses and fields
- high flow erosion of stream-beds and sediments smothering fish spawning beds
- lack of groundwater recharge, and
- depleted summer low flows in streams.
The good news is that there are environmentally friendly ways to manage rainwater. So, whether you are a builder, developer, building manager, or are just interested in the health of our streams and riparian areas, please take a look at the innovative examples profiled in our list below. There you will find descriptions of actual built projects in the Region which manage most rainwater on-site, instead of sending it straight into our streams and ocean environments. The examples include rain gardens, green roofs, water reuse, reduced building footprints, narrow roads and underground storage with slow release.