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Originally published Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 5:30 AM

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Hey, B.C.: Time to stop loafing on Victoria sewage treatment

The Wrap by Ron Judd


Seattle Times staff columnist

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"... the thoughtless daily dumping of 34 million gallons of fresh human waste..." Hey Ron, I think it should probably... MORE
Uh...Lee, It's Vancouver Island. Victoria is a city. MORE
Johnny, the toxins in the waste stream, and the medicinal chemicals (prescription drugs) are just a few examples of the... MORE

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The Canadians are so cute when they get angry.

Seattle last week felt the wrath of British Columbians, dozens of whom went all Crazy Canuck after The Seattle Times, in an editorial, dared chastise Victoria, B.C. for flushing yet another plan to stop spewing raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The public rebuke sparked a barrage of backflow from B.C., the tenor of which makes clear that many of our neighbors to the north still are not totally down with the concept of secondary sewage treatment, which most of the civilized world adopted decades ago.

Out came the old, out-of-sight-out-of-mind canard that the giant flushing action of the Strait means the thoughtless daily dumping of 34 million gallons of fresh human waste has nary an impact on water quality. B.C. residents, reminding that human waste is “organic in nature,” once again described raw-sewage dumping as “the perfect natural solution” in newspaper comments.

Splendid logic, that. Think of its potential application: If Victoria’s substantial excremental output — which also contains, it should be noted, untold amounts of toxic chemicals, discarded drugs and other foul, flushed matter — has zero impact on our shared Salish Sea, why aren’t we all dumping there? And imagine, if you will, the waste-disposal potential for the infinitely more heavily flushed Pacific Ocean!

As for Victoria’s ongoing bleating about cost and plant-siting: Washingtonians, frankly, aren’t interested in another century’s worth of excuses for failure. How about employing, for once, the common sense God gave a goat and just getting it done, eh?

More brown-trout-derby emergency rule changes:

Seriously, People: We know the B.C. government says it’s sticking to a drop-dead deadline to join the 19th century by 2020. But if this foul stuff continues to flow in our direction, America might have to take extreme measures. All options — including the forced return of Justin Bieber — are on the table.

We’re Not Kidding: It might be time to dust off signage from that BOYCOTT VICTORIA movement from the ’90s, which gathered enough steam to get B.C. to finally pledge to stem the flow. If that doesn’t work, the nuclear option awaits: A three-bucks-a-gallon tax on foreign purchases of milk at the Bellingham Costco.

Looking at the Bright Side: It’s heartwarming to see the renewed spat bring one of B.C.’s most colorful characters, the excrement-themed superhero “Mr. Floatie” (former would-be Victoria mayoral candidate James Skwarok), out of retirement for what he has termed a “second movement.” Numerous B.C. premiers have risen to the top with far less civic achievement than that of “The Garden City’s” beloved turd bandit.

Possible New Victoria Tourism Slogan: “Flushed With Excitement!”

Speaking of Leaders: Nice to see Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Roto Rooter, wade into the murky depths of this by asking B.C. to live up to its pledges. Fortunately, Gov. Jay has extensive experience deflecting streams of untreated offal after his recent negotiations with executives from Boeing.

And Finally: We kid the Canadians, but really, we hope they get this all sorted out. It’s actually quite sad to see the acting-out of people exhibiting the classic behavioral symptoms of a nation that can never, ever seem to win the Stanley Cup.

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at rjudd@seattletimes.com or 206-464-8280.



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