Sewage Commission Releases Spill Response Plan for Comox Valley Sewage System

The Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) 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.” Explained 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.”

CN2 Balmoral Beach work
Work to protect the aging sewer forcemain along Balmoral Beach (below the Willemar Bluffs) progressed as scheduled in December 2016. In October, the CVRD’s sewage commission supported the reallocation of funds to ensure the pipe – which is at risk due to high-energy wave action on the beach – be properly protected. Crews worked late at night in order to access the area at low tide and the repair work was successfully completed.

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 now 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.

The Comox Valley Regional District is a federation of three electoral areas and three municipalities providing sustainable services for residents and visitors to the area. The members of the regional district work collaboratively on services for the benefit of the diverse urban and rural areas of the Comox Valley.

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Media Contact:
Kris La Rose
Senior Manager of Water and Wastewater Services