Sewage spills from Hartland Landfill into Mount Work Regional Park

A sewage spill at Hartland Landfill that ran through a culvert into Mount Work Regional Park near Durrance Lake Tuesday is being blamed on the failure of a temporary pipe at the Capital Regional District’s new Residuals Treatment Facility.

A nearby resident who did not want to be identified said the sewage was noticeable and the smell made it “obvious.” The spill ran into the forest and along Willis Point Road beside Durrance Lake.

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In an emailed statement, Elizabeth Scott, deputy project director for the CRD’s wastewater treatment project, said assessments are underway.

“An environmental professional has assessed the affected area, and is overseeing the remediation activities and advising on the appropriate monitoring and testing protocols,” said Scott. “There is no indication of public health or long-term environmental impacts, including to Durrance Lake.”

The CRD said sewage did not spill into Durrance Lake.

About 130 cubic metres of sewage sludge was released, and affected an area within the site of the Residuals Treatment Facility and an area of about 600 square metres within Mount Work Regional Park, the CRD said. Photos from the nearby resident show the spill cut a large swath through the forest at Mount Work.

Scott said during commissioning of the Residuals Treatment Facility, a temporary pipe failed and resulted in the release of residual solids.

“Some of the residual solids were contained on-site [within Hartland Landfill] but some travelled through a culvert and collected in a nearby low area in the Mount Work Regional Park.”

The low area is being pumped out and signs have been installed advising park users not to enter the affected area.

Scott said the sewage release was reported to Emergency Management B.C., in accordance with spill reporting regulations.

“We are following the Hartland Landfill Good Neighbour Practices Policy, and will also be investigating the root cause of this incident to ensure that it does not happen again,” said Scott.

According to the CRD, the $127-million treatment facility is nearing completion and is currently in the commissioning phase. Residual solids from the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Plant are being piped to the Residuals Treatment Facility at Hartland, where they will be treated and turned into biosolids.

Testing is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

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