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Untreated sewage flowing into ocean in Nanaimo due to rain and pipe capacity limits

Departure Bay forcemain work resulting in reduced capacity, says Regional District of Nanaimo
Due to heavy rains, untreated wastewater is being discharged at two sites in the Nanaimo area, says Regional District of Nanaimo. (Submitted photo)

Untreated sewage is overflowing into the ocean in Nanaimo due to the recent heavy rainfall combined with ongoing pipe construction work.

In a public notice issued Wednesday, Nov. 3, the Regional District of Nanaimo said work to upgrade sewage pipe in the Departure Bay area has led to “reduced pumping capacity due to the work that is presently underway,” and during heavy rain events, “a temporary overflow of untreated wastewater may occur when system capacity is exceeded.”

“This morning, the system’s capacity was exceeded due to sustained wet weather,” the notice said. “Untreated wastewater is being discharged into the ocean at the Brechin (off Zorkin Road) and Millstone (near Stewart Avenue) overflow locations. The notice will be updated when the overflow has ceased.”

The RDN has put response teams on 24-hour standby, closed the south Brechin boat ramp and installed a “lock block wall with a floating containment boom. Waste from the containment area will be collected and removed daily,” the regional district said.

Work on the Departure Bay forcemain project is currently happening in the Planta-Hammond Bay roads area and is estimated to be finished in December, at which time the system will return to full capacity, the RDN said.

According to Environment Canada, 10-15 millimetres of rain is forecast for tonight in Nanaimo.

RELATED: RDN to shell out unexpected $1.5M for forcemain replacement

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