Power to be restored to sewage lagoons in Williams Lake river valley

Crews are making headway in the Williams Lake River Valley to make repairs as seen here Thursday, April 30 after the area received significant damage due to flooding. (Wayne Peterson photo)
A view of the same area on Tuesday, April 28. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
A view of what crews are dealing with in the river valley. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
vCrews work to repair the road in the river valley on Tuesday, April 28. You can see part of the main discharge line where it is exposed. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
An aerial view of Williams Lake’s sewage treatment infrastructure in the river valley on Tuesday, April 28. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Eagle eyes monitoring the progress. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

A compromised power pole that normally supplies electricity to Williams Lake’s sewage treatment lagoons in the river valley is being repaired, in anticipation of restoring power to the area.

“That’s our good news for today,” Milo MacDonald, the City’s chief administrative officer (CAO) told the Tribune Thursday.

The power line, which extends from the top of the escarpment down into the valley, provides power to the grit removal plant which also provides all of the aeration for the lagoons, an important part of managing the stream, MacDonald said.

“There is substantial damage around the infrastructure and pipes around the grit removal building and we are assessing what impacts that damage is having.”

Crews continue to haul rip-rap into the site, but the severed sewer pipe has not been repaired yet.

“We’ve got access to it, but will require the water in the creek to subside quite a bit before we can repair that pipe,” MacDonald said, noting an engineering assessment is also being done to give the City a road map on what work will be required going forward.

Initially the breach was much smaller and the culvert was still intact, but now the area has blown open 60 to 70 feet wide and it’s a ‘completely different’ situation, he added.

Read more: Williams Lake contractors armour sewer lagoon, averting potential large sewer breach

Overnight Wednesday, the lake’s water level dropped another two and a half inches and when MacDonald took a helicopter ride Wednesday he noticed it was obvious the flow rates were lower.

While there was still erosion taking place in the river valley it wasn’t as aggressive as when the flow was at its peak.

The City has confirmed the flow rate reached a one-in-two hundred year level earlier this week.

Efforts in the river valley are gaining more traction as crews work ‘feverishly’ to make sure that vulnerable areas are armoured and protected as much as possible and no more infrastructure is lost.

“One of the things that was obvious in our flyover yesterday is just how much of that main discharge line is exposed and will have to be reburied, relocated and inspected,” MacDonald said.

It will be a long process, he added, noting 14 of 17 bridges are damaged in one way or another.

“The main reason we are continuing to ask residents to restrict water use is to reduce the amount of untreated sewage going into the system. We understand that some use is inevitable, we are just hoping people will moderate their use a bit.”

He said he’s heard of some residents being innovative and pouring dishwater or bathwater into their gardens.

“People have really been very understanding,” he added.

MacDonald said he spoke with Williams Lake Indian Band CAO Aaron Mannella Wednesday and the city’s director of municipal services, Gary Muraca, has invited Manella and Chief Willie Sellars to tour the area Friday so that WLIB can start doing its own assessment.

WLIB has a nine-acre parcel of reserve land — Tillion IR4 – where the Williams Lake Creek enters the Fraser River.

The seven-day state of local emergency implemented last Friday, April 24 expires on Friday, May 1 at noon, but the City intends to extend it for another seven days.

Evacuation orders for 11 properties in the industrial area along Frizzi Road remain in place and as well as evacuation alerts for residents in Green Acres Mobile Home Park.

Read more: Historic flooding tests City infrastructure


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

Williams Lake city council to approve whale mural

Through e-mail poll of council mural was accepted, it will be ratified at a regular meeting

Culture Days showcases diversity of talent in Quesnel

The Quesnel Downtown Art Walk kicked off Sept. 26

PHOTOS: Barkerville planning for Halloween events and virtual field trips

This year’s Halloween events will focus on traditional trick or treating, and tickets are limited

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

Orange Shirt Day lessons of past in today’s classrooms

Phyllis Webstad, who attended St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia, is credited for creating the movement

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Most Read