Lowdown on connecting to the new sewer system

As The Mayor Sees It With District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

Well, summer has finally started and it was hot for at least the first day. The mosquitoes and other bugs certainly like this weather and have returned in the kind of numbers that remind long time residents of years past.

There is a program that the District subscribes to through the TNRD to help out with keeping the mosquito population down, and it has been started for this year.

The planes that some have seen spraying mostly to the south of the District are spraying for the spruce bud worm problem. They are spraying Foray 48B, a biological insecticide widely used in B.C. and registered with the Organic Materials Review Institute. Its active ingredient is a naturally occurring bacterium.

I mention this for two reasons. Firstly The District does have a program in place to control annoying mosquitoes, and secondly the work that the Ministry of Forests is undertaking to control the infestation of various woodland pests is based on up to date science. The use of things like DDT is long gone from our environment.

I want to thank those residents that attended the recent roundtable meeting around the possible Community Benefits program proposed by Kinder Morgan. From feedback I received it appears the agenda for the meeting may not have been clear.

As the representatives from Kinder Morgan explained to the District councillors and staff that attended a previous meeting, the benefits would be implemented after project approval (and subject to approval) and before the pipeline would be in operation in 2018. The timing depends on the type of request – anything related to construction / equipment / workforce would be timed with construction activities in the Barriere area. The general time frame is 2016/2017.

If this information was not communicated clearly to area residents prior to the meeting I apologize. Everyone’s time is valuable and if some folks attended the meeting hoping for help in a much shorter time frame it could have been very frustrating.

Speaking of frustration a number of residents have mentioned that they have no information as to their role in connecting to the new sewer system. They see the trenches being dug along the roads, pipes being placed, and want to know how the whole system will roll out.

First off, nobody can use the system until the wastewater remediation centre is complete and has been commissioned. This is the building being built behind the fire hall. Once this building that houses all the controls and the filters that process the sewer is complete, and the greenhouse with the solar wastewater treatment tanks are in operation and proven to be able to handle sewage, then residential homes can be connected to send their sewage to the system. Best case scenario is that this will be later this fall. Note that I have said “best case scenario”.

There is a concern that winter weather will interfere with the private property connection work. Frozen ground can certainly present some problems. It is my understanding that once residents have the connection point to the sewer line placed at their property line, they can then do the work to place the pipe on their property to connect to the system.

Once the private property pipe is placed from the house to the sewer line connection point, and prior to filling in the trench, the homeowner will need to contact the District to have the work checked. All of these connection pipes need to follow standard accepted plumbing code rules.

It is very, very important to remember that the sewer connection pipe cannot be connected to the outlet from the home until the sewer system is working.

Going forward District staff will be happy to help guide residents through the process.

In addition to the work of placing the new connection pipe, it will be required, once the sewage outflow from the home is not going to the septic tank, that the septic tank be pumped and decommissioned by filling with suitable material. This is important to remember when homeowners are budgeting for the work to be done.

Property owners can contact the District office should they have concerns around the hookup process, or where their connection is located.