Nfld. & Labrador

Paradise spending $50K a day to truck sewage away from broken pump station

Eight trucks are continuously pumping and dumping sewage in Paradise after a major sewer system broke down.

At least 8 trucks are constantly in motion, pumping and dumping sewage

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

As one truck leaves a sewage station in Paradise, another comes in right behind it and attaches hoses to its tank. Another truck comes in behind that one and parks, waiting for its turn.

It's a major operation on the corner of St. Thomas Line and Topsail Road with at least eight trucks coming and going 24 hours a day since last Monday, when a vital piece of the busiest sewage station in Paradise failed.

Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett said the around-the-clock operation is costing taxpayers roughly $50,000 a day, and the town plans to ask the province's Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment for help.

"It's not a declared emergency, but it is emergency funding we are looking for because we obviously couldn't budget for something of this magnitude," Bobbett said.

Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett said the town will be looking for emergency funding to deal with its broken sewage lift station. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

It's been eight days since the lift station stopped pushing sewage from the bottom of St. Thomas Line to the top. At $50,000 per day, that's $400,000 by end of Tuesday.

In order to keep toilets flushing normally, Paradise had to hire pumper trucks 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.

The trucks are unable to empty the lift station enough for repair work to be done on the pumps and pipes underneath, meaning the town is no further ahead on fixing the problem than it was a week ago.

More pumps are being shipped in, which will replace the pumper trucks and cut down on the expense of having a large 24-hour crew.

A worker with Pardy's Waste Management attaches a hose to a pumper truck in Paradise. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Bobbett apologized to the residents of Paradise, especially those subjected to the constant noise of generators and pumping trucks at the bottom of St. Thomas Line.

The lift station uses two pumps, with a third pump as a backup. The mayor said there is a "complex problem" with the pipes beneath the pumps.

Until Tuesday, traffic was being diverted around the area. Those obstructions are no longer in place.

While vehicles can now go all the way down St. Thomas Line to Topsail Road, there are workers stopping traffic so trucks can come and go every few minutes.

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