Sewage commission releases spill response plan

The Comox Valley Regional District’s Sewage Commission has received a Spill Response Plan for the Comox Valley sewage system, which includes the forcemain (pipe) that moves wastewater from Courtenay and Comox to the sewage treatment plant located on Brent Road.

The work was authorized following a Risk Analysis in 2016 that identified a serious risk of failure of the forcemain located along Willemar Bluffs (Balmoral Beach). In response, $1 million was committed to conduct a highly specialized forcemain assessment, repair the protective barriers installed along a section of affected pipe, and complete a detailed spill response plan that is being released today.

“Even with the protective work that was completed on the aging sewer pipe at Willemar Bluffs, we know that a risk of a spill exists until we are able to remove the pipe from the beach,” said Barbara Price, chair of the Sewage Commission. “In the event of a spill, minimizing response time will be crucial to mitigating impacts. This spill response plan identifies the most probable spill scenarios and helps us plan our response accordingly.”

The forcemain carries wastewater from the Courtenay Pump Station and the Jane Street Pump Station in Comox, past Willemar Bluffs to the Comox Valley Water Pollution Control Centre on Brent Road. The plan provides the CVRD with the necessary tools to respond to a failure in the forcemain, whether it is a minor leak or a significant break.

The CVRD will move ahead to train all personnel on the Spill Response Plan and purchase repair materials to have on hand should a leak or break occur. The sewage commission is also moving forward with plans which will allow decommissioning of the Willemar Bluffs section of forcemain by conveying the wastewater overland to the treatment plant.

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