It’s time to tell you another story of water, soil, sealing wax, cabbages, kings, oil, chemicals, and other stuff. You will remember that about one year ago you were reading about how the water and sewer systems operated and some of the challenges the operators faced every day.
A year ago the District was planning for some major servicing of the sewer system and funds were allocated to the project. Engineering reports indicated that spring 2013 would be the target date for completing the major renovation work.
It is more than water that ends, or should end, in the sewer lagoons. Though mostly water, over the years tons of solids have settled to the bottom of the ponds. Slowly the ponds have accumulated a build-up of sludge with a progressive reduction in the efficiency of the purification of the sewage. District staff have been watching the ponds closely and monitoring the flows. Hence, the allocation of funds to restore the ponds to their pristine condition.
It is unfortunate that our sewer lagoons have been abused over time by having to accept materials that should never be sent down a sewer. Everything not water that goes down the drain becomes part of the accretion of sludge but it also does a number on the working bacteria. In fact, some of the toxic effluent surreptitiously dumped into the system has rendered the bacteria less than fully effective. Some of these sludge-eating bacteria have died and this condition shows up in the regular testing of the end product.
New regulations and new standards of control are being legislated as you read this column. The District is in full agreement with the higher standards for discharge into our beautiful Pine River. The result, of course, is that higher standards will have to be imposed on the front-end users of the system. We do not think that there will be changes in what is officially allowed into the system because these toxic substances have never been allowed, but there could very well be changes in how compliance to new and existing rules is monitored and how these rules are enforced.
The Ministry of Environment is fully aware of the situation with the Chetwynd sewer and is following the District’s efforts to bring the discharge from the lagoons into compliance with regulations. What can you do to assist in reducing the level of toxins and increasing the level of oxygen in the effluent flowing into the river? The answer is almost obvious: Use the sewer for its intended purpose and take your used oil and other toxins to the recycle depot and dispose of them in approved ways. I know that the huge majority of users do exactly that. I am appealing to the minority who think that the easy way out is the best way to go. It isn’t. All of us share responsibility to each and each to all in what we call community. Let’s be fully responsible.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor