New Brunswick

Rothesay warns residents of toilet backups as sewage system 'overwhelmed' by flood

Rothesay is warning residents who live close to the Kennebecasis River they are at risk of toilet backup because of rising floodwaters and is asking them to use the portable toilets being distributed to "vulnerable neighbourhoods."

Town distributes portable toilets in floodzone, asks all residents to limit water use until further notice

Rothesay's sanitary system, pictured here during last year's flood, is flooded yet again. (Matthew Bingley/CBC)

Rothesay is warning residents who live close to the Kennebecasis River they are at risk of toilet backup because of rising floodwaters and is asking them to use the portable toilets being distributed to "vulnerable neighbourhoods."

"Our lagoons have flooded, and our entire sanitary system has been overwhelmed," Mayor Nancy Grant told CBC News in an email on Tuesday night.

"This is exactly the same situation as we had last year," said Grant.

The Southern New Brunswick mayor renewed her call for financial assistance from the federal and provincial governments for a new wastewater treatment plant.

Some of the town's sewage pumping stations have already stopped working, and as floodwaters continue to rise this week, raw sewage will flow directly into the Kennebecasis and St. John River system.

Water levels reached 4.8 metres on Tuesday and are projected to rise to 5.7 metres by Friday, matching last year's historic levels.

Flood stage in the region is 4.2 metres.

Seal toilets on lower levels

Residents in the flood zone, particularly those on Alexander Avenue and Rothesay Park Road, are being advised to seal the toilets on the lower levels of their homes.

All town residents are being encouraged to limit their water use until further notice.

Less flushing and less use of appliances with pressurized drainage, such as dishwashers and washing machines, means less pressure on the system.

"Folks were very co-operative in this regard last year, and we thank them for anticipated co-operation again," said Grant.

Rothesay Mayor Nancy Grant wants assistance from the other two levels of government to build a new wastewater treatment plant for the town. (CBC)

Rothesay has plans for a new wastewater treatment plant and has had an application in for "several years" for federal and provincial funding, she said.

"Municipalities have a duty to maintain and upgrade infrastructure, but projects such as a new wastewater treatment plant are very expensive, and cannot be done without participation by the other levels of government."

The town did complete a phase of the project in 2016 — new transmission lines in preparation for a new plant, Grant said.

With files from Steven Webb

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