Revelstoke council approves sewer lift station replacement

Front & Wales sewer lift station to be replaced at cost of $833,000, whether grant funding is received or not.

The Fornt & Wales lift station is tucked away in a stand of trees next to the River's Edge Apartments on Front Street.

The Fornt & Wales lift station is tucked away in a stand of trees next to the River's Edge Apartments on Front Street.

A key piece of sewer infrastructure will be replaced whether the City of Revelstoke receives grant funding or not.

Council gave the engineering department the go ahead to proceed with the replacement of the Front & Wales Street lift station, regardless of whether or not a grant for $703,000 in funding is successful or not.

“It would be great to get this project funded through that grant,” said Mike Thomas, the city’s director of engineering. “What we’re asking for here is approval to proceed with or without the grant.”

The lift station is a key cog in the city’s sewer network. It takes all the sewage from Columbia Park and Farwell and pumps it uphill so it can continue on its voyage to the sewer treatment plant near the industrial park.

A report by Thomas to council says the new lift station will have increased capacity, remove an overflow line that discharges into the Columbia River, and be safer for workers.

The estimated cost of the project, with 90 per cent of the design complete, is $833,000. The city applied for funding from the joint provincial and federal Clean Water & Waste Water Fund that would cover up to 83 per cent of the project cost.

At the previous week’s council budget meeting, Thomas said replacing the lift station was a priority for the city. He said if it failed, it would mean the city would need to transport sewage from the lift station to the sewage treatment plant 24 hours a day until it was fixed.

“It would take four vacuum trucks to keep up in continuous rotation until we fix the problem,” he said.

At last Tuesday’s council meeting, he once again stressed the urgency of completing the project.

“Not only would there be sewer back ups, but we’d have flooding into the Columbia River and would be liable for any environmental damage we’d do,” he told council.

If grant funding doesn’t come through, the city would pay for the entire project out of the sewer reserve fund.

Council approved the replacement unanimously.

“I think it’s really important staff have all their ducks in a row so they don’t miss out on any building season time,” said councillor Linda Nixon. “I think this is really important with new hotels going in that area of town and it’s a priority.”

The cost of the upgrade is substantially more than first proposed. When it was first budgeted in the 2015-19 Financial Plan, the cost was pegged at $300,000. In the 2016 budget, the cost was pegged at $600,000 and it was later revised upwards to $785,000. The expected cost is now $833,000.