by Rosalyn Roy
PORT AUX BASQUES – A green pipe raised some eyebrows and caused some pinched nostrils when it was spotted early last week near High Street. Many towns in this province lack proper treatment plants and continue to dump untreated sewage into the storm sewers, waterways and the Atlantic Ocean, including this pipe in Grand Bay Bottom.
The federal Wastewater System Effluent Regulations means Port aux Basques is actively preparing for upgrades that will provide required primary and secondary treatment of sanitary effluent, confirms town manager Leon MacIsaac.
“The sanitary (green) piping currently exposed will be connected to this new system in the coming weeks,” advised MacIsaac via email. “The Grand Bay Bottom Sanitary Sewer System project, which currently has Phase I approved and awarded, extends from the BCJ/Rowe Street area to the Irving/Tim Hortons area of High Street. Work on this project is expected to start in the coming weeks.”
MacIsaac clarified that work in the area thus far was undertaken by town staff to separate the sanitary line connections from the storm sewer system in preparation for the project.
Responding to further inquiries, MacIsaac noted that provincial staff observed taking photographs in the area were doing so on behalf of the town, and not to report the sewage outflow to the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Municipalities.
“The Provincial staff were in the area to take pictures of the existing culvert system as part of a request from the town to utilize existing stormwater structure to complement the installation of the sanitary system. The town has not received correspondence from any Provincial or Federal departments expressing concern of the work being completed in the area,” wrote MacIsaac.
Mayor John Spencer also responded to inquiries via email, stating that, “Before town initiated change to include sanitary sewer and storm sewer, all sewers on upper side were going into storm. Now, with partnership between Federal/Provincial/Town sanitary will be collectively contained similar to other locations around town.”
The mayor also observed that separation of storm water from sanitary effluent will also provide a more realistic measurement of exactly how much municipalities will be expected to treat when the second phase gets implemented, and that the expense means the town does not want rainwater going through the treatment. But that’s still a little while away yet.
Wrote Spencer, “The municipality is a long ways from the treatment stage.”