2019-10-16

Lunenburg wastewater plant fix exceeds $130,000

by Keith Corcoran

It's cost over six-figures so far to get Lunenburg's wastewater treatment plant back to sorts and the work isn't finished yet.

Only the ultraviolet (UV) disinfection process isn't at 100 per cent yet at the Starr Street facility. The replacement UV gear is expected to be installed this week, according to an update the town provided.

Mayor Rachel Bailey said the plant, damaged by a hurricane-related storm surge in early September, is on the verge of being fully operational. She credited the effort of town workers.

"They worked very hard over the past few weeks to get parts in and to get experts on site and to get things back in place," she said in a recent interview with LighthouseNOW.

The cost to fix the issues exceeded $130,000, she said, noting some of the cost will go through insurance. "There's potential emergency funding from the province that may help mitigate that pressure on us," Bailey added.

The unique combination of strong winds, heavy rainfall, and a storm surge thanks to Hurricane Dorian, caused the process room at the plant to flood with seawater on September 7. With key electrical equipment at risk, and given water is a terrific conductor of electricity, it was decided to shut down the plant until it was safe to resume operations.

Given the facility was no option for treatment of what was flushed, it meant days-worth of raw sewage gushing into Lunenburg's harbour.

Electricity was restored September 9, but several more days would pass before operations would resume. Solids removal and disinfection processes were damaged.

As of now, all wastewater is now being pumped to the facility for treatment and treated wastewater is being discharged at the normal outfall at the inshore Fishermen's Wharf.

Lunenburg advised the public "to avoid contact with water in the inner front harbour, given the unknown health risk," and thanked the community "for your patience while we have worked diligently to restore this very important piece of infrastructure."

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