Bamfield Marine Science Centre and Huu-ay-aht First Nations celebrate the grand opening of the Wastewater Treatment Plant

Bamfield Marine Science Centre (BMSC) and Huu-ay-aht First Nations marked the grand opening of the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) on Friday, April 22, 2022.

This is a project that has been in the works for over 10 years and marked a wonderful day to celebrate.  

In 2010, Huu-ay-aht First Nations first conducted feasibility studies to identify where they would construct the WWTP. During this time, BMSC was also looking for options to replace its sewage system. Eight years later, BMSC and Huu-ay-aht signed a memorandum of understanding on April 26, 2018 and chose BMSC lands as the new plant’s location.

Indigenous Services Canada committed $3.6 million, leaving the remaining $4.4 million needed to complete the project. With no other levels of government to help support the project, Huu-ay-aht invested the remaining amount to complete the project.

The $8 million project broke ground back in October 2020 and had its first test on March 17, 2022.

“What better day, then Earth Day, to celebrate the grand opening of the wastewater treatment plant” Said Huu-ay-aht Councillor, Brad Johnson, “Having this plant means less raw sewage being pumped into our local waters and will bring many benefits to the environment, for present and future generations in the Anacla and Bamfield Community.”

Councillor Brad Johnson explained that he recently joined Huu-ay-aht Executive Council and thanks everyone involved and all the hard work they contributed.

Members from the University of Victoria were in attendance, President Kevin Hall, Vice President Indigenous, Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas, and Associate Vice President Financial Planning & Operations, Kristi Simpson, to address the attendees.

“We are thankful to Huu-ay-aht First Nations and the community for the wonderful learning environment and everything you do for our students who attend BMSC” said UVIC President, Kevin Hall, “Education is a game changer, and our students always return from BMSC feeling fulfilled”

Kevin Hall explained that they would love to see Huu-ay-aht citizens come to UVIC to attend school and with that, they have a scholarship available to Huu-ay-aht First Nations. More details about the scholarship to come.

The plant goes through three phases to produce effluent that is suitable for discharge to the surrounding environment or an intended reuse application, thereby preventing water pollution from raw sewage discharges.

The outflow from BMSC was extended from 150 m to 350 m to service the new plant. This will effectively get the clean effluent discharged out into Trevor Channel rather than the mouth of Bamfield Inlet.

The Wastewater Treatment Plant currently services the subdivision on Nookemus Rd. There are plans to have BMSC connected next, very soon.

“On this Earth day, it is fitting to remember that oceans are a planetary life-support system, but only if there are healthy ecosystems” said BMSC Director, Sean Rogers, “A modern wastewater treatment plant will help clean the environment and keep our oceans healthy for generations to come. It feels amazing to have worked together for this common goal that will build a stronger, healthier community.”

Not only has the plant set a cleaner future for the Bamfield community, but it has also created two new jobs, a primary operator, and a backup operator. The position is yet to be filled.   

For more information:
Amanda-Lee Cunningham
Communications Manager, Huu-ay-aht First Nations | 250-720-7776

Background Story:

Huu-ay-aht and Bamfield Marine Science Centre Break ground for Wastewater Treatment Plant