Contractor breaches sewage pipe, spills into Battle River

Quick notice and corrective action by Cat Brothers Oilfield Construction may have just been what saved the company.

Quick notice and corrective action by Cat Brothers Oilfield Construction may have just been what saved the company.

The Alix-based company was undertaking excavation along the Battle River for the Town of Ponoka on 49 Street last month when an employee accidentally breached a sewage line with a digger. The break caused the pipe to be blocked and sewage slowly started to come out of a manhole nearby.

The manhole is approximately 150 metres from the river, said co-owner Henri Catellier. No-one noticed the break until town staff saw a drop in pumping levels of Lift Station A, explained CAO Brad Watson.

Staff checked the pasture to the south of the lift station and found water pooling on the land and some trickling into the Battle River, said Watson. “The foreman immediately came to the site.”

When the spill was noticed, Catellier said they contacted Alberta Environment right away. “We didn’t try to hide anything from anybody.”

He believes the water levels were higher than normal at the time of the breach from beaver dams that were recently removed. This may have helped the amount of sewage in the river to have less impact, he explained.

“So then we realized we could get it back online right away,” said Catellier.

Cat Brothers had to order a part that was broken from the excavation but removed the blockage to allow the product to flow through. The temporary fix bought them some time to prevent seepage into the river.

“The rest kind of collected into a pond, because it’s low there,” explained Catellier.

To ensure no more sewage did travel to the river, they also built up a berm with the help of a town staff and a loader. The spill appears to have caused little damage as Tagish Engineering inspected the site and noted little proof of sewage.

“Usually when you have sewage going into the river, there’s bubbling and it was noted there was no bubbling, so we were pleased with that,” explained Watson.

Although it is difficult to say how much sewage spilled into the river, there appears to be some filtering from the pasture land. Staff have discussed ways to ensure they can see telltale signs that there may be issues.

Some of the ideas suggested were for staff to check their surroundings and be aware of any discrepancies in pump flow. Watson said the waterworks department will hold monthly meetings to further town employees’ education.

“This whole contravention situation could have been avoided if all operators understand the importance of their job,” Watson read from the report.

The investigation from Alberta Environment appears to show Cat Brothers did their due diligence in notifying the province as well as working to solve the issue in a timely manner.

“It shouldn’t happen again because we left that little berm there,” said Catellier.

There were no fines for the breach.

 

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Ice racing at Mulhurst Bay at Pigeon Lake

Results of the ice racing event at Pigeon Lake

Maskwacis RCMP lay charges from home invasion

Four charged in alleged invasion using knives and gun on Samson Cree Nation - three injured

UPDATE: Highway 2 lanes were closed due to milk truck fire near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Ponoka Airport taxiway improvement costs overrun

The $328,000 project increased to $359,000, gravel cited as main reason for the increase

Ponoka County council looks at how it sees collaboration

County wants separate negotiations with Ponoka, Rimbey

WATCH: Ponoka residents enjoy first skate on ice path

A community initiative helped create a skate path for families in Ponoka.

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Canadian band to get top honours at 2018 JUNO Awards

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Heritage Minister wants zero tolerance for harassment in entertainment industry

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly had two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds

Most Read