The closure will come into effect January 1, 2015 and is a result of improper dumping and other issues that had left Fort St. John vulnerable in their compliance with Federal Waste Water Regulations.
Chief Administrative Officer of the PRRD, Chris Cvik calls the proposed partnership with Dawson Creek “Plan B”, as they’re also preparing to potentially build their own multi-million dollar sewage system, with facilities in the South Peace and Charlie Lake.
The PRRD estimates 60,000 cubic metres of raw sewage comes from the North Peace each year, and if approved, the district hopes to have their own sewage system operating by the spring of 2016.
“We are exploring different options with respect to what if [the public disapproves a new sewage system], and one of those was to contact member of municipalities,” Cvik goes on to say. “We’re also looking to see if the Charlie Lake site can be used as a temporary facility as well. So we are trying to look at some different options – one of them was to partner with Dawson Creek.”
When asked how much the excess distance of transferring waste would cost and where the money would come from, Cvik said, “That’s an important question,” but struggled to give a specific number, attributing the unknown price tag to the uncertainty of Dawson Creek’s final decision.
In a report presented to Dawson Creek City Council on Monday, Deputy Director of Infrastructure and Sustainable Development, Shawn Dahlen concedes “many rural residents in the South and North Peace depend on sewage handling facilities to take their domestic sewer,” but concludes “at this time the City of Dawson Creek will not be accepting new customers until… the Peace River Regional District has mitigated the City of Dawson Creek’s risks.”
Mayor of Dawson Creek, Dale Bumstead said the city and council should wait on making a formal decision about the district’s proposal until the Regional District has decided if they are building their own treatment facility in the North Peace.
That decision could be made by the end of January 2015. The PRRD will ask residents using the alternate approval process if they can borrow funds to build a treatment facility.
As it stands today, North Peace rural residents will not have a place to dispose of raw sewage after December 31, 2014 and it could be several months before a solution is in place.