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Wakefield Road sewage spill

Wakefield Road sewage spill

Sechelt’s 27-year-old Wakefield Road sewer lift station has been repaired following a mechanical breakdown that caused an effluent spill on March 18. Christine Miller, supervisor of Sechelt’s Water Resource Centre, said the problem was the result of “a chain of mechanical events” at the site.
During periods of dry weather, like that leading up to March 18, the station handles 330 cubic metres of wastewater daily. The spill was reported at 7:35am. Staff contained the spill within 35 minutes of the report. Given that amount of station downtime and the site assessment, staff estimate the volume of the spill at just over five cubic metres.
The impacted area was cleaned and disinfected on the day of the spill, but remained closed to the public for several days. Miller noted that the extended closure allowed for continued exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which helps eliminate any organisms from the spill from being transferred to the surrounding environment or the public.
A malfunction and spill at this station also happened in mid-2019. Staff reports provided to council in 2019 recommended replacing the station, as a number of its components have corroded to a point where repairs are difficult to make.
The District has made two applications to two senior government funding programs for station upgrade projects, but does not know the outcome. The district’s 2020 draft budget includes $870,750 for upgrading at the site, with or without grant assistance.
To help avoid further problems with this and other components of the sewer system, Sechelt is reminding the public not to dispose of cleaning wipes or grease via the sewer system. This reminder is especially important during the current COVID-19 pandemic, when use of cleaning wipes in local homes and places of business is likely
Said Miller: “Once flushed down a toilet, wipes travel through the drain and gather in the piping. Wipes clump together and trap other substances like grease. These solid masses plug lines and interfere with equipment operation resulting in sewer backups. Fats, oils and grease can build up in sewer lines. When grease is washed down the drain or toilet, it coats and sticks to the inside of sewer pipes and infrastructure control elements such as floats and level sensors in sewer lift stations. Sewer pipes become clogged and control elements are unable to function resulting in sewer backups.”
Connie Jordison

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