Nfld. & Labrador

Paradise sewage lift station operational again, with $1.5M bill

The cost of the work, including external contractors and vendors, totalled more than $1.52 million.

Equipment first malfunctioned in August

Workers, seen here in August, had to pump sewage with trucks to move it down the line while the lift station was on the fritz. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

The sewage lift station in Paradise that caused major headaches this summer is operational again, at a cost to the town of $1.527 million.

An update on the lift station and the cost associated with it was presented during a council meeting on Tuesday. 

A piece of equipment malfunctioned at the town's largest lift station on the corner of Topsail Road and St. Thomas Line on Aug. 12. The lift station had stopped pushing sewage from the bottom of St. Thomas Line to the top, forcing the town to use trucks to move the sewage down the line, to a point where gravity could take it on to the treatment facility.

Crews worked to keep the essential service operating for residents while repair work was completed, the town said. More than 80 per cent of the final bill was related to keeping the station operational, such as renting pumper trucks and other equipment.

Additionally, the town paid $94,500 in staff overtime. 

The unexpected costs were difficult for the town, said Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Laurie, but they have been able to absorb the expense within the existing 2019 budget. 

"Through prudent and careful fiscal management along with being able to defer a couple of projects to next year, we are able to accommodate these costs," she said in a statement.

Town mum on affected property

Jim Clarke's property on St. Thomas Line was covered in sewage after the malfunction.

While his property has been flooded by raw sewage several times since he bought the property in 2004, the spewing sewage spraying him, his family, and his home this time was the worst yet. 

Clarke wanted the town to pay for his family to be put up in a rental property, as well as buy him out of his land.

As of September, the town council was paying the rent and utilities at a rental for him, as well as footing the bill for the cost of the move, since Clarke still had to pay the mortgage on his property.

At the time, an appraisal was underway at his own property.

Jim Clarke lives right behind the sewage lift station, and wants the town to buy him out so he can get away from the constant sewage problems. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

"As we have stated, out of respect for the privacy of the resident, Council will not speak publicly to the specifics of the issue until the process is completed," said Laurie, who is also chair of the town's corporate services committee.

"Once it is is finalized, we will certainly speak publicly to the matter, and provide that financial update."

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