Work continues in the river valley to repair flooding damage to the City’s sewage infrastructure, roads, walking paths and bridges through the entirety of the 12 kilometre stretch to the Fraser River.
Temporary bridges have been installed, washed out roads are being reconstructed and widened, and a newly-installed temporary pump went into action last week that has effectively stopped the release of untreated sewage into the Fraser River.
Last Thursday, May 7, the City’s director of municipal services Gary Muraca said residents of Williams Lake can return to normal use of municipal water but not excessive use as the temporary pump is limited in its capacity.
“We have a tri-party agreement between the Williams Lake Indian Band, the City of Williams Lake and the Ministry of Environment where we are doing water sampling of various points down to the Fraser River to check water quality,” Muraca said during a tour of the river valley Thursday. “A pipe takes the treated sewage down to the Fraser River from the treatment system because we cannot discharge directly into the creek.”
He said the sampling is being done daily.
Near one of the main and newer bridges in the river valley that withstood the flooding, a helicopter touched down and Lungi Roberts got out and transferred several coolers filled with water samples to the back of a DWB Consulting Services Ltd. truck, an engineering, environmental and forestry services firm.
“We are monitoring all the different parameters to see how much it is being diluted, the turbidity of the water and impact on fish,” Roberts explained. “We have another team that is testing fish habitat, they are setting nets to catch fish and monitoring the stability.”
She had just returned from taking samples at the confluence of the Williams Lake Creek and the Fraser River and said they have been taking samples all the way along the creek.
The Fraser River is getting higher as the Williams Lake Creek levels are going down, she added.
Two of Sugar Cane Archaeology field supervisors — Trista Johnson and Brittany Cleminson — were adjacent to an area where the washed out road is being widened.
They had two stations at that point and were sifting through some dirt samples.
The evacuation alert for the Green Acres Mobile Home Park was lifted on Friday, May 8 but the evacuation order for 11 industrial properties on Frizzi Road is still in effect. The City also re-opened the boat launches at Dutch Point Road and Scout Island on Saturday, May 9.