Heavy rains Wednesday night are being blamed for a leak in part of the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre’s land outfall pipe near Morningside Park.
The Regional District of Nanaimo is in the midst of upgrades to the pipe which discharges into the Strait of Georgia off the park of Hammond Bay Road. The land outfall section of the pipe has been completed and marine outfall work is being undertaken.
According to Sean De Pol, regional district wastewater services manager, there was more flow coming out of pump stations due to the storm.
“Our contractor was doing the work, doing some lining of the concrete and there was … a bolted down [manhole]. They bolted it down, they just didn’t put the appropriate level of torque on it. The event we had in terms of it surcharging that far up the pipe only happens with a storm of this magnitude I guess, so it wasn’t fully tightened and there was a small amount of treated effluent that leaked out of that [manhole],” said De Pol.
Although wastewater leaked out, De Pol said it was treated and not raw sewage. There is no threat to drinking water, he said.
In addition, De Pol said the heavy rains exposed storm pipe in the area as well. The pipe was in a temporary ditch, or swale, which was overwhelmed by the amount of rainfall from last night’s storm.
The leak was stopped around 9:45 a.m. [on March 10] and work is expected to be completed by the end of [March 10], said De Pol.
The exposed pipe will be addressed in the coming weeks, he said.