Ucluelet has been pumping raw sewage into the ocean since Jan. 6 and will continue to do so until the middle of March.
As was reported by the Westerly News on Nov. 3, the district is upgrading its sewage lagoons and received a permit from the Ministry of Environment that allows the community to discharge raw sewage for a maximum of six weeks while the upgrade is ongoing.
Work was expected to kick off on Nov. 1, but was pushed back and the six-week clock didn’t begin ticking until Jan. 6.
The project is expected to be completed by March 10, according to the district’s superintendent of public works Warren Cannon.
“There is a quick timeline to it because we’re wanting to make sure we want this thing up and functional as soon as possible,” Cannon told the Westerly.
Back in June, the district discovered a leak at one of the lagoon’s four cells and immediately budgeted roughly $150,000 from its emergency coffers for repairs.
After district staff looked at the leak, the plan changed to a roughly $1.2 million upgrade at the facility, Cannon said.
“The repairing of the leak created this whole process,” he said. “We’re looking at an overall improvement process.”
He said the upgrade would improve the facility and add 20 years to its lifespan.
“It’s going to be an increase in capacity, which will help with community growth and it’s also going to give a better treatment process so the receiving environmental waters will have a decrease on any impacts,” he said.
He said the district’s website will be kept up to date on the project’s progress and assured diligent testing of Ucluelet’s harbour will be ongoing.
“As part of our permit requirement, we do have monitoring stations out in the open waters,” he said. “We’ve increased our testing, especially during this time, to ensure there’s no impacts.”
Ucluelet’s shellfishery remains closed as a result of the raw sewage discharge.