Joint Utility Board Sewage Treatment Plant Outfall Relocation Project


The Joint Utility Board Sewage Treatment Plant is a hybrid secondary/tertiary treatment that treats wastewater from North Cowichan, Duncan, Cowichan Bay, Eagle Heights and Cowichan Tribes. The treatment plant is located on Cowichan Tribes’ lands near Duncan. The treatment plant is operated by North Cowichan and discharges highly treated sewage effluent into the Cowichan River. The Outfall Project proposes to relocate the outfall to a new location in Satellite Channel.

The current outfall more than meets provincial standards, but there are several reasons to relocate the outfall to Satellite Channel:

  • The treatment plant is on land leased from Cowichan Tribes. The lease agreement includes a commitment to make reasonable effort to move the outfall from the Cowichan River.
  • During periods of very low river flow there is not enough flow to provide the desired amount of effluent dilution. Low River flows are expected to become more frequent in the future.
  • The existing outfall infrastructure is at risk of damage from log jams and gravel accumulation.
  • Moving the outfall from the River is an important step toward re-opening shellfish harvesting in Cowichan Bay.

Potential Route

Work is underway to identify the best location for marine outfall, and the best route to get there.

In 2014 an environmental impact study was undertaken. In 2015 consultation with stakeholders, the public and Indigenous communities was undertaken. This led to the submission of a Liquid Waste Management Plan amendment to the Province. In 2017, $12 million of Provincial and Federal funding was secured (the total project cost is estimated to be $28 million).

Currently, a more detailed study environmental impact study is underway. The results will help to confirm the proposed outfall location with the intent of avoiding impacts to the marine environment and human health. The study is expected to be complete in 2019 and will be made public.

Potential routing is shown below. The pipeline routing and outfall terminus location are to be confirmed through further engagement with Cowichan Tribes, other Indigenous communities, stakeholder groups and the public.

Get Informed

  • Public engagement will take place in 2019, once we have additional information to share.
  • To be added to the notification list for information, click here.
  • If you have any comments or questions at this time, please email


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