The Regional District of Nanaimo has completed repair work on a sewage pipe damaged during a Dec. 10 rain storm.
Two leaks were discovered on effluent line located at Morningside Park and while the first leak was repaired with a neoprene-coated clamp on Dec. 11, a second was not repaired until Dec. 16 due to slope stability and safety concerns.
The second leak’s location on a bend in the pipe meant that a clamp couldn’t be added. It was also within feet of a nearby house, according to Sean De Pol, regional district manager of wastewater services.
The excavation involved was in excess of six metres, leading to geotechnical concerns. De Pol said a geo-technician was brought on site and he asked that excavation stop for safety concerns and to avoid further damage to the property.
A plan was created to address concerns and it was determined the only option was to use fast-setting concrete around the bottom of the pipe. Once work was completed, the flow was turned back on at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 16, said De Pol.
“We’ve patched those two leaks, we’ve tested it with fluorescein dye. We don’t see any other leaks in the area, however with other future, heavy rainfall events, that put stress on the system, there will be concern for that,” he said.
De Pol said the heavy rains led to increased water flow which, coupled with high tides, put pressure in the pipe. He estimates 30 or 40 pounds of pressure per square inch on the pipe, which rarely happens.
As a precaution, signs were put up at Morningside Park recommending against swimming, wading or harvesting shellfish until the pipe was repaired.
Being that it’s winter, restoration of the park and the adjacent property will take some months and will include vegetating and seed planting.
De Pol said the cost of repairs isn’t currently known but the regional district will be seeking disaster financial assistance from the provincial government.