Strata says 'political constipation' blocking solution to septic issue

Students and staff at Heritage Woods Secondary School in Port Moody and Eagle Mountain Middle School in Anmore have been warned to stay out of marked areas nearby that are contaminated with E.Coli and fecal coliform.

Heritage Woods Secondary School and Eagle Mountain Middle School students told to stay away from area

Robert Boies, strata president for Anmore Green Estates, said the development's septic system isn't working properly. The only solution, he said, is to connect to Port Moody's sewage system. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Students and staff at Heritage Woods Secondary School in Port Moody and Eagle Mountain Middle School in Anmore have been warned to stay away from nearby marked areas because they are contaminated with E.Coli and fecal coliform.

The Ministry of Environment believes the source of the contamination is likely from the septic system belonging to Anmore Green Estates, which is home to 125 residents just up the hill

On Nov. 23, the ministry ordered the strata to fence off the area and erect warning signs as a cautionary measure. It also ordered the strata to fix the septic system.

Robert Boies, the strata president for Anmore Green Estates, says the only fix is to hook up to Port Moody's sewer system.

The septic system services 51 homes and the 125 residents at Anmore Green Estates, just up the hill from the school. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Boies said the development's septic system isn't operating properly, adding the construction of the two schools had a negative impact on it.

Right now, in the Village of Anmore, residents are responsible for their own septic system. 

Boies said one solution to the faulty septic problem would be for Anmore Green Estates to connect to the Port Moody sewage system. But in order to connect to that sewer line, the village must first join the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District.

But Anmore Mayor Jon McEwan noted it would cost the village roughly $150,000 a year for on-going maintenance if it connects to the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District. 

"When you become a member you also have to start paying for all the infrastructures that are being done through out the region," said McEwan, adding these are expenses the village can't afford.

On Nov. 23, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy issued a pollution abatement order to Anmore Green Estates., which included temporary fencing and warning signs. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Boies said in the past, Metro Vancouver has made exceptions allowing some buildings to hook up the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District without being a member.

For example, Eagle Mountain Middle School — the school affected by the contamination — is connected to Port Moody's sewer system even though it is in Anmore, and Anmore is not a member of the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District.

"I hate to say it, but they [the village] have political constipation when it comes to this issue," he said. 

McEwan says the contamination issue seems to come up whenever the real estate market heats up.

He claims in the fall, a subdivision application was made to develop 14 lots on the premise, which in order to be successful would require the development to be hooked up to the City of Port Moody's sewage system.