City extends Wastewater Transfer Station hours

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Currently, it’s open 24/7, 365 days a year, but citing issues with disallowed types of waste being brought in hurting the system, City Council decided to shorten its operating hours before closing it completely. Garry Brimacombe of Nor-Vac Industrial Services says the extra hours are “workable”, and at least an improvement over what was originally decided. 

“8 to 5 wasn’t going to work, as far as I was concerned, especially only five days a week because we didn’t have our Saturday to catch up,” he says. “Most of the truck drivers you talk to in this country don’t work 35 to 40 hours a week, and with the hours shut down to that, that’s what would happen; you’d lose your drivers.” 

He adds that customers will have to keep a better track of the level of their sewer tanks to avoid the need for service outside of those hours. 

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Some other changes have been included in an amendment to the City’s sewer bylaw, which will come into effect in 2014, pending final reading on October 28. Among them are a $200 fee for emergency callouts outside of operation hours, and an increase in the rate for receiving domestic wastewater from $4.50 to $7 per cubic metre. 

Users will also have to enter into a new agreement with the City for November, that will include a truck inspection and $5 million in liability insurance payable to the City. However, Brimacombe points out that all those stipulations come with a cost, and customers will likely be seeing a bigger increase on the bills in the new year. 

“The cost of [liability] will probably be $500 or $600 a month. It’ll have to get passed down to customers,” he admits. “If you only get $100 for dumping a load of sewer, you can’t really eat a $70 dump charge.” 

Whether the change in November will spell trouble for Nor-Vac and other affected companies should be evident within a month. In the meantime, all eyes are on the Peace River Regional District as it looks into whether it can come up with a viable solution in time for the Fort St. John station closure.

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