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Displacement of 'rubber gasket' results in minor leakage in wastewater pipeline system — City of Nelson

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
April 4th, 2024

The City of Nelson issued a media release Thursday afternoon to inform the public about a leak in the three (3) kilometer wastewater pipeline system that runs along the bottom of Kootenay River to the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant that was spilling sewage into Kootenay River, beginning last week (March 27th).

The City said the issue was quickly identified by treatment plant operators and reported to the Province before a professional dive team was mobilized over the weekend to find and repair the problem.

The City said divers found that the issue was a displacement of a rubber gasket from a prior repair, resulting in a minor leakage.

Mayor Janice Morrison acknowledged the quick response of staff and commitment to maintaining our vital infrastructure.

“Our team’s ongoing rapid response in situations like these helps ensure our community remains safe,” Morrison said.

“We approach these matters with the seriousness they deserve. Remarkably, in this scenario, the solution was found in dilution. I am profoundly grateful for the patience and understanding of our community as we navigate these challenges together.”

The City said the displacement of the gasket resulted in an opening not much bigger than the size of a loonie.

“It is essential to clarify that there was no pipeline failure,” the City said.

“The rubber gasket naturally repositioned itself back into place, stopping the leak even before the divers arrived on site. The dive team successfully reinforced the gasket to ensure its stability and are now conducting a comprehensive secondary inspection of the entire pipeline to confirm its overall condition.”

The City said collaboration with an extensive provincial Coordination Team, it was determined that the seepage rate was negligible.

The Coordination Team includes the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV), Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness (EMCR), Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship (LWRS), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Interior Health, First Nation Health Authority (FNHA), Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), and the City of Nelson.

“Given the minor scale of the leakage and the rapid response, the team deemed it unnecessary to issue an immediate public advisory,” the City said.

During this event, which lasted approximately four days, the average leakage was estimated at approximately 1,000 cubic metres per day.

“For context, the Kootenay River flow in this location is 36 million cubic metres per day,” the City said.

“Even though the leak was minor, the City of Nelson, along with the Coordination Team, took this event very seriously.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment and Climate and Change confirmed Thursday in an emailed statement that Wednesday afternoon the divers were able to successfully locate the leak in the pipe and stopped the sewage release with a repair.

“Divers spent (Tuesday) and (Wednesday) carrying out a survey of the 3 km pipe to locate the source of the leak,” the Ministry of Environment and Climate and Change spokesperson said.

“The Province will work with the City of Nelson to review this incident and the next steps forward.”

The City of Nelson is dedicated to environmental stewardship and public safety.

“We are proactively prioritizing the replacement of the impacted pipeline as part of our long-term infrastructure planning,” the City said.

“This strategic approach aims to prevent future occurrences and maintain the highest standards of community service.

Click here to learn more about the City of Nelson’s work around Liquid Waste Management (LWM) and participate in our LWM survey.

“We extend our gratitude to the public for their patience and understanding,” the City said.

“The City values your feedback and encourages residents to reach out with any concerns or inquiries.”

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City of Nelson sewage leak ‘fixed’ says Ministry of Environment and Climate and Change

Categories: GeneralHealth

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