Replacing a broken discharge pipe at the Snug Cove Wastewater Treatment Plant will cost seven figures.
The job of the drain pipe is to dispose of the wastewater after it has been treated in the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The wastewater is then discharged into deep water behind Dorman Point.
However, last summer several problems arose with the pipe that prevented it from completing this task. Two ruptures required diving teams to be sent underwater to repair the pipe and clean the shoreline. Finally, in August, the pipe twisted so badly that it stopped discharging wastewater at all. About a third of the pipe had to be cut to allow further wastewater discharge, meaning the wastewater is currently discharged into Snug Cove waters rather than the sea.
Due to the current situation, the municipality is in violation of the British Columbia Environmental Management Act regarding its discharge permit. In order to get back up to date, the project was brought forward in this year's budget negotiations. The total cost to replace the pipe is approximately $1.2 million.
Part of the problem is that the current drain pipe is 75 millimeters in diameter, which worked at the time of installation, but has now become far too small for the increased number of users at Snug Cove. Technical director Patrick Graham said the replacement pipe should be at least 200mm long and went even further by suggesting a 250mm pipe to accommodate growth over the next 40 years.
The larger pipes are also operated by gravity discharge, unlike the current pipe which requires a pump to move wastewater through the pipe.
Nearly the entire cost of the replacement will be borne by the existing users of the Snug Cove Local Service Area (LSA), which equates to an annual parcel tax of approximately $533 per year for the approximately 135 properties in the area, based on a 30- annual loan. The amount to convert from a 200mm to a 250mm pipe, approximately $100,000, will be funded through latecomer agreements and future developments around the island.
This new parcel tax is in addition to what Snug Cove LSA users already pay for septic system upgrades approved in 2022. This tax amounts to about $713 per year and still needs to be paid back for about five years.
Since the Snug Cove LSA currently has no reserves, the money will have to be borrowed to replace the outlet pipe. A local utility district petition must be filed against the borrowing, which would require 50 percent of the property worth 50 percent of the property's total assessed value to be set aside. Otherwise, the loan will be approved. The plan was approved by the council by a vote of 6-1, with the council. Judith Gedye in the opposition.
Mayor Andrew Leonard asked about the future prospects of the Snug Cove LSA as property owners now face the reality of two parcel taxes and the upcoming Phase 2 upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant, estimated to cost approximately $6 million.
“I am very concerned about the long-term financial impact this sewer system will have on this local service area and whether it will be financially viable for property owners,” Leonard told council last week.
Graham said he shared the mayor's concerns. “At this point we have a service that is set up for a certain number of users and we are essentially trying to get that up and running… It's definitely a concern that we're looking at a significant parcel tax for one.” Part of it has to be taken into account.” the system. It would be unwise to create the expectation that this is the end of the line when it comes to what we have to pay to keep the service area running,” said the technical director.
Both Graham and chief administrator Liam Edwards added that they do not believe the sewage smell detected in the area in recent months was coming from the sewage itself, saying it had already been treated at the wastewater treatment plant before being discharged to eliminate the smell to eliminate .
However, they suspected that the smell could be due to the broken pipe, as it could have disturbed the seafloor when it burst, exposing sediment or anaerobic digestion. Graham added that the smell could also come from waste generated by boats or animals.