Nfld. & Labrador

New equipment will relieve Paradise's sewage issue, but won't yet solve it

Two weeks into the Paradise sewage conundrum, Mayor Dan Bobbett said the town has acquired new equipment to tackle the problem.

Equipment will allow for fewer pump trucks

Mayor of Paradise Dan Bobbett said the town isn't quite there yet in knowing the cause of, or solution for, the damage to one of its largest sewer lifts. (Danny Arsenault/CBC)

Two weeks into the Paradise sewage conundrum caused by the failure of a vital piece of its busiest sewage station, Mayor Dan Bobbett says the town has acquired new equipment in order to reduce the levels in the storage tanks of one of the town's largest sewage lifts. 

The town had been using eight trucks, 24 hours a day, to pump the sewage storage tanks of a sewage line connected to about 60 per cent of the town, Bobbett said at a price tag to the town of about $50,000 a day.

"That's going to allow us to lower the levels to where staff and our consultants can evaluate the issues that we do have down below, because we haven't been able to get down to the levels to see what's going on there," Bobbett told CBC News. 

Earlier in August, the lift station stopped pushing sewage from the bottom of St. Thomas Line to the top. The eight pumper trucks are needed in order to empty out the waste that's in the ground and move it down the line, to a point where gravity can take it to the treatment facility, so toilets can continue to flush normally.

The sewage problem had become so drastic that the town, unable to take any more money from its own budget for the problem, had to look to the province's Department of Municipal Affairs for emergency funding on Aug. 20. That process is still ongoing, the mayor said.

A sewage lift in Paradise has been broken down for nearly two weeks, meaning the storage tanks must be pumped by trucks and moved down the line. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Bobbett said once the new equipment is in place it will offset the use of the eight pump trucks. 

"We do regular maintenance, but sometimes you still have breakdowns," Bobbett said, adding that hiccups in infrastructure are expected in a young and growing town like Paradise. The key, he said, is figuring out how to prevent further issues down the road.

"We don't want this to happen again, so once we assess what we have there we'll get the repairs done and look at what we can do to avert this situation in the future."

Bobbett said there is no ballpark figure of how much the eventual solution to the problem will cost the taxpayers, but once things are reduced to a level where the damage can be assessed he'll know more about what the town's plan is moving forward. 

He added this time around there will be some redundancy in the plans to ensure something like this doesn't happen again.  

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Cec Haire

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