City crews repair major sewer line break

By James Peters/Doug Collins
December 12, 2016 - 4:56pm Updated: December 13, 2016 - 5:35pm

KAMLOOPS — The poop has been scooped. City officials say crews have successfully completed the sewer main break repairs on Lorne Street.

The repairs were completed about 11:00 PM last night, and the City then ran test cycles to make sure everything was in working order before backfilling the hole.

The damaged pipe will be examined to find out what might have caused the break. Public Works and Utilities boss Jen Fretz said yesterday the 20-foot section of pipe affected was below the frost line and shouldn't have been affected by the weather. 

The break created a level 1 Emergency Protocol in the City , and Environment Ministry officials were monitoring the site of the backup. Fortunately, the break was downstream from the water intakes of both the City and the Tk'emlups Indian Band.

The road closures have been lifted around the break site in the 800 block of Lorne Street, but because of the cold weather, the road can't be repaved until it warms up. Gravel will remain in place, and the road may be rough in spots. Crews will determine today what other cleanup work might have to be done.

Three properties were affected by the backup, and the City is working with those property owners as well to mitigate any problems. During the break, the City issued an appeal to all residents east of the downtown to conserve water.

EARLIER — The City of Kamloops is asking residents of east Kamloops to reduce their water use after a massive sewer main break along Lorne Street.

The main line takes raw sewage from Valleyview, Barnhartvale, Juniper Ridge and other neighbourhoods to the city's wastewater treatment plant near the Mission Flats landfill.

Public Works and Utilities Director Jen Fretz says crews won't be able to fix the break until they can keep up with the spill.

"With the amount of trucks we have out right now, which is six, we are not able to keep up with the flow," said Fretz. "We are in the process of getting some more trucks in from out of town. We are also in the process of getting some pipe that we can use to essentially pump the material from the east end of the break to the west end of the break."

"We have been digging down to find the pipe and also pumping the material from the east side, essentially up-gradient of the break, to the west side of the break. Taking all of that material out of the pipe, essentially, so we can get it fixed."

Fretz says some sewage has spilled into the South Thompson River, and the Ministry of Environment has been notified.

"Some of that material is getting into the river. At this point, it's very little, and we are plugging all the catch basins we can to reduce that as much as possible."

She adds the cause of the break is not obvious, because the pipe in question is buried below the frost line and is newer pipe made out of PVC plastic.

Fretz says residents can lend a big helping hand.

"We are asking people in the east end of Kamloops - so Rose Hill, Valleyview, Dallas, Barnhartvale, Campbell Creek and Juniper Ridge - to reduce their water usage as much as they possibly can. If people can avoid using their showers or using their laundry, for example, that would be definitely helpful for us."

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