Nov 13 2010

Dr.Lavigne coming to Lumby – update

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Lumby’s economic development meeting was a really positive experience.  Throughout the evening there was talk about strengthening our connection to salmon.

That memorable event became part of Michelle Nickerson’s testimony to the Cohen Commission in Kamloops.  She said that her vision for the sustainability of Sockeye Salmon came from a meeting in Lumby where she witnessed community commitment to salmon.

She listed the Lumby Salmon Trails, the Wild Salmon Music Festival, Lumby Salmon Queen (emessary and educator)  Salmon art, Salmon songs, Wilsey Dam, a fish ladder, Vegetated Sand Beds to clean up the sewage and Salmon tourism.  She said Lumby wants to be a salmon stronghold.

After the last voice spoke to the Cohen Commission, Michelle left for Hope to canoe the Fraser with Alexandra Morton. She intends to come back to Lumby, find a job here as we move from resource extraction into resource celebration and a truly “simply the best” place to live.

I began my submission to the Cohen Commission by describing the Duteau fish trap where we count salmon, the tragedy of low returns and the hope for 30 Coho this year – a big return for our endangered run. I ended my submission by asking the Commission to help us gain access to Regulatory Agencies for permission to clean up salmon habitat with natural affordable vegetated sand beds – I left them a brochure.

Vegetated sand beds are a natural underground wetland – dry on top without smell or mosquitoes. This patented system uses plants that change heavy metals, pesticides, drugs and hormone disrupters into a non toxic compost type substance while clean water is returned to nature.  VSBs are versatile. They can deal with community sewage, parking lot runoff, shoreline developments, dump leachate, farm waste,  industrial waste and private property septic.

In case you didn’t hear my 2 minute presentation at the development meeting, here is an e-mail from Dr.Ronald Lavigne, President of New England Waste Systems about helping Lumby.

Dear Priscilla,
My name is Ron Lavigne…

For the past 35 years I have been working with a “green vision” to develop Artificial Wetlands Treatment Systems (Vegetated Sand Beds). A few years ago while working with the Secoya
Indians in the Amazon Rain Forest of Ecuador, their elders expressed a similar vision of building VSBs as an economic enterprise that could offset the damage done to their land and water by big oil companies. They are slowly moving in that direction as I write. An associate (past student) is also helping them build fish ponds where they sell their fish to local markets.

Your idea of developing a green and sustainable economic base for Lumby by constructing
wastewater treatment facilities seems to be an excellent one. Logically, there needs to be a demand, and a population base large enough to support your proposed industry. How big is Lumby and the surrounding communities of Armstrong, Vernon, and Coldstream?

Yes, VSBs are an excellent way to solve  lakeside contamination problems. Do you have a large lake based community? Are septic systems in failure? VSBs can be designed to produce forage for animals, landscaping resources, forest seedlings, etc. Would there be an economic market
for these things? We also build exceptional treatment units for landfill leachate that almost take care of themselves.

Typical construction materials usually include sand, gravel, some PVC pipe, and wetland plants. VSBs usually do not require pumps, chemicals, electricity, or other costly materials. As such,
they are quite inexpensive to build and operate.

I’ve spent some time on the Olympic Peninsula and have visited Vancouver several times.
Several years ago I almost ended up teaching at La Push, a Quillute Indian village. My son and his wife live in Olympia, WA, where he works as Assistant Attorney General for Ecology. Visits to the Pacific Northwest are always enjoyable! As Lumby deliberates perhaps we can continue to keep in touch.

Ronald L. Lavigne, PhD, MPH
Environmental Engineer/Soil Scientist

Dr.Lavigne’s offer to help us be lumbygreen is amazingly generous – consider his busy life cleaning up the third world after oil extraction and tourism – wow!  Check out his credentials and check out his website http://www.newswet.com

Preparing to install a VSB in the Galapogos.

NEWS - VSB instalation in the Galapogos

NEWS - VSB instalation in the Galapogos

Dr.Lavigne is planning a trip to Lumby in November 2011.

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