New South Country septage ponds work underway
Construction is underway on new septage receiving ponds in the South Country.
“This project has been a long time in the making and I’m pleased to see it moving forward,” explained Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Electoral Area B Director Stan Doehle. “A great deal of work and thought has gone into the design of these ponds to ensure they meet modern standards and provide an environmentally responsible option for dealing with the large volume of material generated in our area.”
The previous South Country septage ponds were closed in 2014 after the site conditions were deemed unsuitable for continued operations by the province and work began immediately to find a new location.
“Ten different potential sites were considered by our consultants and in 2016, the preferred site on Kikomun Road was identified and supported by the board due to a number of factors including: the suitability of soils, lack of surface water sources such as streams, limited recreation use in the area, distance from residences, access to onsite power.”
Once the preferred site was identified, the RDEK went through a lengthy approval process which included applying for a Crown land tenure, undertaking consultations with First Nations and the Plan Monitoring Advisory Committee, and public advertisement.
“We recognize the importance of ensuring the water sources in the region are protected and the ponds have been designed with strict standards and ongoing monitoring to ensure they are environmentally sound in their operations,” added Doehle. The ponds will be fully lined and four wells will be drilled on the property with quarterly testing to ensure there is no leakage. In addition, the site will be fully fenced for the safety of wildlife and cattle.
Most residences in Area B are on septic tanks and there is a high volume of septage from recreational use with 18 large campgrounds, most of which do not have on-site septic. Currently, septage haulers are having to haul the waste to Wasa, which has increased the costs for residents and business owners.
“We need a local solution to deal with septage in our area. These new ponds provide a safe, affordable and accessible option,” said Doehle.
Construction is expected to be complete in mid-October.