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Williams Lake contractors armour sewer lagoon, averting potential large sewer breach

City’s municipal director confident work will hold, restoring power to lagoons next effort
Williams Lake crews and contractors continue to try and gain access to repair a broken sewer line in the river valley as seen here Tuesday. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Crews worked late into the night to armour the slope of a sewer lagoon in the Williams Lake river valley Tuesday.

“At this time it appears we have successfully avoided a potentially large sewer breach,” the City’s director of of municipal services Gary Muraca said Wednesday.

He also said the water levels of Williams Lake have gone down three inches in the last 24 hours which is good news.

Amouring the lagoon was a big worry.

“We could have had 160 million litres of water fall into the river but we are confident at this time that is not going to be an issue at that location,” Muraca told the Tribune.

Read more: Williams Lake River Valley system still compromised, crews will attempt to access sewer lagoons Tuesday

Now that’s taken care of, the next effort will be to restore power to the lagoons.

A power pole is leaning into the creek so the power has been shut off as well as to the line that extends up to the landfill.

“We are going to try to get an assessment on that to see how we can get that stabilized.”

Another priority is to get the repair to the broken sewer line which is presently discharging pretreated sewage into the river.”

Up until now crews have not been able to access the broken sewer line.

“Usually there is a 30-day cycle for raw sewage to go through the lagoons and back out. Where it’s coming out now is through the first stage so it’s treated a bit, but not to the point where you want to be discharging it into the river.”

City trucks continue to haul loads of rip-rap into the valley from the Onward gravel pit.

They drive on the road up above which is being repaired daily.

“When we started coming over from the Moore Mountain side we saw that the road was all flooded out and there were washouts, our sanitary line was lying out there for everyone to see it and they started making repairs to the road and working there way back,” Muraca said.

Read more: VIDEO: Aerial tour of flooding in Williams Lake area

In areas where they could not making it through crews started making a cat trail through a different route.

“We are still landlocked on the one side near the lagoon so we’ve either got to put in a bridge or a causeway because that’s where we need to get in to make that repair.”

Muraca said it will be an ongoing full-on effort and hopefully there are no further washouts and some more progress can be made on repairs.

One of Atlantic Power’s outfall lines has breached on the upper bank above the lagoons, and is the company’s responsibility while being City infrastructure.

However, Muraca said the power plant has another or ‘redundancy’ line.

“Atlantic Power is not running right now anyways, but if we fired up our lagoons, they could be discharging back into our lagoons and we would just make that repair at a later date.”

Eleven industrial properties above the river valley remain on evacuation alert until river levels go down and the area can be reassessed with a geotechnical engineer.

Green Acres Mobile Home Park also remains under evacuation alert.

The City issued a news statement Tuesday confirming municipal water quality has not been impacted by the flooding.

Read more: Flooding has not impacted Williams Lake’s municipal water quality

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Williams Lake’s manager of water and sewer has been without his truck since Friday after he had to be flown out of the river valley when the road was washed out. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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