Less hours at Wastewater Transfer Station could mean reduced service, increased costs

Carol Kube and Garry Brimacombe of Nor-Vac Industrial Services, which hauls sewer waste for approximately 300 customers in the North Peace, say the closing date of December 31, 2014 should be enough time for another option to be set up. However, they worry about the repercussions of cutting the available hours from 24 hours a day to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday starting October 1, 2013. 

“We’re not objecting to them closing it in 2014,” says Kube. “We understand why they’re doing it, but they should have given somebody some heads up so that another option could have been sought.” 

They believe the change in hours will lead to increased waiting times for trucks, which means reduced service, with an estimated drop from 14 loads a day to two for Nor-Vac. Based on the approximately 58,000 cubic metres that are dumped at the station annually, Kube is predicting major wait times for those fewer loads. 

“We anticipate 26 and a half trucks have to dump in that nine hour period in order to keep the same amount of sewer going in there,” she says. “I can see at 8:00 in the morning this big lineup of six hours if everybody does perfectly and just lines it up.”

Kube argues that unless a significant number of new companies pop up to share the load, residences and businesses won’t be able to get their sewers taken care of in a timely manner. 

“If we’re able to do one quarter of the sewers, that means the other three quarters of them are running all over lawns, they’ll be going in ditches, they’ll be going down into the streets, they’ll be running into Charlie Lake,” she maintains. “People aren’t going to stop flushing their toilet, or having showers, so it has to go somewhere and at 40 below it’s going to freeze in their pipes and it’s going to cost all sorts.” 

The problem of freezing also becomes an issue with the reduced hours, as pick up after 4 p.m. or on weekends and holidays would be difficult as the trucks would freeze in minus 40 degree weather before they’d be able to dump their load. 

Based on conversations with other companies in the industry, Brimacombe predicts the costs to customers will also more than double to cover the wait times. 

“They’ll have to or the trucking company will go broke,” he argues, adding when it comes to drivers, “If you can’t get paid for it you might as well park the truck. If you came to work and you had an hour of work to do and you had to sit in the waiting room for six hours to do that hour’s work and get paid for that hour, would you come to work?” 

Both Kube and Brimacombe say they would be willing to pay another $1.00, in addition to the $4.50 per cubic metre they’re already charged, to pay for the station to be manned by an employee 24/7 to catch those dumping improperly, or institute a two-tiered systems for companies with a good track record. 

A meeting is being held at the North Peace Cultural Centre tonight at 7 p.m. for companies that use the Wastewater Transfer Station to discuss the changes, and representatives from Northern Health, the Peace River Regional District and the City of Fort St. John are expected to be in attendance.

About Erica Fisher 4010 Articles

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.