District crews are urgently working to create a bypass for failed Queens Way Lift Station to avoid major impacts to public or environment as some sanitary wastewater has entered the Squamish Estuary.
The public is advised to stay clear of the Estuary and the Cattermole Slough waterways, and residents and businesses are asked to reduce water use to help minimize impact. At issue is a failed manhole at the Queens Way lift station (at the corner of Queens Way and Pioneer Way), through which all sanitary wastewater from neighbourhoods south of the lift station and Northyards flows through. The lift station was scheduled for upgrades this coming spring and a tender is currently out on BC Bid, District says.
District has had to intermittently and temporarily divert wastewater into the Estuary to avoid sewage backups in homes and businesses in Downtown Squamish. District says this diversion is expected to be minimal and short-lived while emergency crews work to create a bypass line around the Queens Way lift station continues.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has been informed of the situation, and District environment staff are also monitoring impacts. The wastewater outflow point is just west of the Aqua community at the west end of Main Street.
Several sewer vacuum trucks are now in Squamish and are transporting wastewater from the Main Street lift station to other lift stations in the community. Crews are hopeful that the trucks can keep up with the volume to minimize impacts to the Estuary until the sewer bypass line is in place for the Queens Way station.
Residents and businesses can help by reducing their use of water temporarily by reducing dishwasher use, laundry, long showers or baths, and frequent toilet flushing. This is required of residents in all neighbourhoods south of the Mamquam River, on the east and west side of Highway 99. This is an evolving situation and District crews are in full emergency response mode.
“I know that our crews are doing everything they can to prevent a major emergency to the environment, or to homes and businesses, and we appreciate residents’ cooperation to help reduce water use right now while this bypass line is set up,” says District of Squamish Mayor Armand Hurford. “We will keep the community informed over the coming hours and days.”