The District of Squamish says its Public Works staff have met with Council to discuss emergency repairs required at the community’s Waste Water Treatment Plant.

The District says a piece of equipment has suffered a serious mechanical failure, rendering the unit out of commission. Currently the plant has continued seamless operations by switching over to its backup system and continues to operate as normal, but there is concern that heavy rainfall could overwhelm the backup system.

Repairs are expected to cost a minimum of $110,500, although a worst-case scenario could put the costs at three-to-four times that amount. Costs will likely be pulled from the Sewer Reserve Fund, in place for instances such as this. According to a District press release ‘The rotating steel structure in the circular clarifier tank has suffered a serious mechanical failure, rendering the tank out of commission.’

The BC Ministry of Environment has been notified of the mechanical failure in order to ensure the treated waste water that flows into the Squamish River is closely monitored and remains within acceptable levels of bacteria. District staff are concerned that if the backup system were to be overwhelmed it could mean the volume of waste water running through the system is too great and the normal bacteriological process might not fully occur.

“District crews are doing everything in their power to prevent or minimize any environmental impacts while this repair work is undertaken,” says Gary Buxton, General Manger of Community Planning and Infrastructure. Buxton says a number of safeguards have been put in place to ensure the backup tank’s capacity is not exceeded.

Safeguards include:

  • The now-empty holding tank that is out of commission is available to help reduce the flow to the backup tank, in order to avoid exceeding capacity;
  • The Ultra Violet disinfection system that was added in 2017 has been increased in level in order to further disinfect the treated waste water prior to it entering the river.
  • Constant monitoring of the treated waste water is underway, and the Ministry of Environment is also engaged and monitoring.

The full cost and a timeline for repairs will be finalized once the extent of the damage is understood. The cause of the failure is also being investigated.


Filed under: District of Squamish, Sea to Sky, Squamish, Waste Water Treatment Plant