Residents gather for Family Fishing Day at Williamson's Lake in Revelstoke this June.

Water quality being tested in Williamson’s Lake after sewage spill

Interior Health testing water in Williamson's Lake after sewage spill; officials say risk of contamination is low, they're just being sure.

Update at bottom of story

The water around the beach in Williamson’s Lake is being tested for E-coli after a sewer line break on Camozzi Road, but officials say there isn’t a big reason to be concerned about water quality.

The situation arose at some point when a plugged sewer line on Camozzi Road burst, leading to a sewage leak into a trench just off the road, said Mike Thomas, the director of engineering for the City of Revelstoke.

He told the Times Review that Hard Hammer Construction plugged the sewer line while conducting repairs to a section of line that wasn’t installed properly during initial construction.

“At some point over the weekend the plug that was stopping the sewage from running towards the excavation failed,” he said. “An unknown amount of sewage did enter the trench.”

The fear is that the sewage seeped through an eight-metre berm and into a creek that flows into Williamson’s Lake.

“It is possible – and we’re not 100 per cent on this – it is possible some of the sewage did infiltrate through the fill material and did enter into the creek,” said Thomas.

The Provincial Emergency Preparedness program and Interior Health were both notified about the situation.

Water samples were taken from the lake near the beach and test results are expected by Thursday afternoon. The Williamson’s Lake beach will stay open in the meantime.

“Our expectation from Interior Health – what I understand their expectation is – there will be no reason to be concerned about the water quality there, we’re just making sure,” said Thomas.

He said Hard Hammer was taking the matter seriously and was “diligent in reacting to the situation.”

Update: Aug. 4

City of Revelstoke engineering director Mike Thomas said results from the water testing have come in at three E Coli per 100 ml. That’s well below the limit of 400 E Coli per 100 ml for a single sample at a recreational beach. For more info on testing, see this link.

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