NOTICE of Repair and Upgrade to Ucluelet's Wastewater Treatment System
The District of Ucluelet (DOU) operates wastewater treatment lagoons located on the southern tip of Hyphocus Island in Ucluelet Harbour. The lagoons treat domestic wastewater from the District of Ucluelet and the Yuutu?it?ath (Ucluelet) First Nation. The DOU recently discovered that the containment system of the municipal wastewater treatment lagoons is failing, which is causing some partially treated wastewater to leak onto the foreshore of Spring Cove in Ucluelet Harbour. The leak presents a potential risk to human health and the environment. The structural integrity of the wastewater treatment lagoons is also at risk.
The DOU has taken several immediate actions to address this high priority situation:
- The Ministry of Environment, Environment Canada, and Vancouver Island Health Authority have been notified;
- Water quality sampling near the leak was initiated. To date, results near the leak and nearby Ucluelet harbour have been within recreational and shellfish harvesting guidelines;
- The DOU have initiated emergency repairs and upgrades to the wastewater treatment lagoons. The repairs will involve installing HOPE liners in the lagoon cells;
- A temporary bypass of the treatment lagoons is required during the installation of the liners. The DOU has applied for an authorization for bypass from the Ministry of Environment and Environment Canada. This will result in the discharge of untreated sewage wastewaters from the deep water marine outfall located near the entrance to Ucluelet Harbour for approximately 6 weeks;
- The DOU has completed an environmental assessment of the proposed bypass using water quality modelling. During the bypass, water quality guidelines for the protection of aquatic life were predicted to be satisfied at the edge of the dilution zone (100m from the discharge) and beyond. Water quality guidelines for the protection of human health (shellfish harvesting and swimming) may be exceeded within 2 km of the discharge. The DOU will be conducting comprehensive water quality sampling during the bypass to monitor the environment.
Following the consideration of alternatives, a bypass of the lagoons was determined to be the only economical and technically feasible option to expediently carry out the emergency repairs. Temporary treatment or storage options are not feasible at the capacity required to handle the large volume of wastewater generated by the DOU and Yuutu?it?ath First Nation communities.
What is Happening and When?
The proposed schedule for the repair works and bypass works are as follows:
October 3rd to 31st
Construction of the pipes and connections required for the bypass. The bypass will not begin until the construction contractor is prepared to begin work on the lagoons.
October 15th - November 1st
The District will award the contract for the installation of the lagoon liners. Anticipated earliest start date of the bypass, to be confirmed by the construction contractor following contract award.
4 to 5 Weeks
Expected duration the bypass will be active (untreated effluent discharge).
The existing shellfish harvesting closure for Ucluelet Harbour is expected to be temporarily expanded during the bypass event. Please visit Environment Canada's Marine Biotoxin and Sanitary Contamination Closures - Pacific Region webpage for up to date information relating to shellfish harvesting closures.