Trail’s sewage line leak leaves no lasting damage

The city will be clear in the wake of an accidental 4.5-million-litre dump of sewage into the Columbia River in late March.

The city will be clear in the wake of an accidental 4.5-million-litre dump of sewage into the Columbia River in late March, according to the City of Trail’s regional district director.

Robert Cacchioni said testing in the wake of the spill on the regional district’s main sewage line on the Old Trail Bridge on March 26 determined that the discharge was “non-deleterious” and posed no major risks to aquatic or terrestrial life down stream.

“There is no indication from Environment Canada or (Ministry of Environment) on potential penalties,” he said in his recent Regional District of Kootenay-Boundary (RDKB) report to city council.

In all, the spill cost the city $31,060, including $12,000 for the emergency work, an additional $16,000 for joint restraints, and a bill of $2,600 from the Ministry of Environment (MOE) for staff time. The city coughed up $460 for analysis of the waste discharge.

The RDKB is currently investigating the possibility of proceeding with a claim against Fortis B.C. for damages to the interceptor line on the bridge. However, the clamp’s failure is still unknown, considering there was no normal operation of a pressure main that would result in the separation of a coupling.

The regional interceptor pipe that services Rossland, Warfield, Rivervale, Oasis and West Trail is comprised of several sections of steel pipe, held together with a clamp, securing it to the piers of the bridge high above the river.

After the leak occurred liquid sewage was re-routed through a bypass valve into the river, while solid waste went into a holding tank. The city sampled the materials that had been going into the river, probably a half dozen times or so over the course of the day-long spill.

It was tested for the total suspended solids and biological oxygen demand according to the permit the regional district’s wastewater treatment facility had been given.

Alan Stanley, director of environmental services with the RDKB, said at the time the spill was “mostly liquid.”

The RDKB also made a motion for staff to contact Fortis B.C. for pre and post inspection documents and reports on the pipe.

Root intrusion

Problems with the regional interceptor line at Wellington and Watmough roads in Warfield have caused further sewage spills.

Tree roots intruding on the line caused spills of 150 litres at Wellington and 120,000 litres at Watmough in early spring.