Nova Scotia

Chéticamp residents raise stink about sewage treatment plant

People in Inverness County, N.S., are once again raising a stink about a foul odour emanating from the local sewage treatment plant, but this time it's in a different location.

Municipal official says repair work couldn't be done before winter, so work planned for spring

The problem with the sewage system in Chéticamp, N.S., is a sewage outflow pipe that runs from the plant out into the ocean has been severely damaged by waves and needs to be extended. (Google Maps)

People in Inverness County, N.S., are once again raising a stink about a foul odour emanating from the local sewage treatment plant, but this time it's in a different location.

Over the summer, more than 200 people in the village of Inverness rallied to demand that the county take action to address that community's aging and over-burdened sewage system.

Since then, people in Chéticamp have also been complaining about a stench that smells like feces.

Claude Bourgeois, owner of The Doryman Pub and Grill, which is located just north of the Chéticamp sewage treatment plant, said he and other tourism operators along the half-kilometre stretch of Cabot Trail near the plant are hoping to get the issue fixed before the weather warms up and the smell and tourists return.

"There's Airbnbs, there's some chalets, there's motels ... People come out of their cars to go get an ice cream at Mr. Chicken and they would smell this sewer," he said.

According to Inverness County CAO Keith MacDonald, the solution to the stench in Chéticamp is simpler than the one in the village of Inverness, which needs a new treatment plant.

Keith MacDonald is the chief administrative officer of Inverness County. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

The problem in Chéticamp is a sewage outflow pipe that runs from the plant out into the ocean has been severely damaged by waves and needs to be extended.

"Right now it is much closer to land than it has been in the past, where the material is emitted out of the pipe," said MacDonald.

He said though the material flowing out of the outfall pipe is treated and the sewage treatment plant is functioning properly, the treated material can still have sewage odour, especially when the weather is warm.

The county sought out and has received information from provincial and federal officials as to the steps needed to complete the repair work safely.

MacDonald said they hoped to get the work done before winter conditions took hold, but were unable to do so. The project is now set for the spring.

Meanwhile, efforts to build a new treatment plant in the village of Inverness are proceeding.

MacDonald said a request for proposals for a system assessment and the design of a new treatment plant will be issued soon.

About the Author

Holly Conners is a reporter and current affairs producer who has been with CBC Cape Breton since 1998. Contact her at holly.conners@cbc.ca.

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