City to monitor and mark Back Bay overflows

by Avery Zingel - March 7, 2018

Overflows onto Back Bay prompted the city to advise residents it has inspected its pump stations, and will be marking the overflow extent with pylons.

Between Feb. 19 and 23, city staff re-inspected City sewage life stations in Niven, and did not detect any evidence of leaks, stated a news release Monday.

The overflow led concerned residents living on Peace River Flats to inquire with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to make sure the overflows were not sewage, said resident Vincent BĂ©langer. Water samples from the overflows tested clean, he said.

“It’s good that the city put out cones, but you can see that something could happen and someone could fall through. It’s unclear how thin the ice is and nobody is going there anymore,” Belanger said.

The city is sending out crews once a week to conduct inspections and relocate the pylons to make residents aware of the extent of the overflow.

Residents are advised to stay off the overflows, he said, if only to avoid wet feet.

“For the second time in 16 years, significant overflow has spilled from Niven into Back Bay, said Dennis Kefalas, the city’s director of public works and engineering.

The city inspected areas that could have impacted Frame and Niven Lakes, but storm outflows from the Niven Lake subdivision are dry.

“Staff walked the drainage channel from Niven Lake to Back Bay and noticed pooling water at several places along the route,”stated the release.

“The last time it was getting close to this was 2002 when we noticed a lot of flow coming out of Niven Lake,” said Kefalas.

Every year, parts of Back Bay stay wet longer, and overflow earlier, said Belanger, adding the overflows are larger than usual.

“The main reason I’m concerned is how long it’s been,” said Belanger. “The smell started in Back Bay before Christmas. I know every year there is a bit of a smell, but there has been a stink around the area where there’s an underpass under the road.”

Several residents reached out to the city to get answers about the overflow, he said, adding that there were fears of sewage or a water main break, but answers were slow in coming.

“You can actually hear a river which sounds like it’s pouring from Niven,” said Belanger. “I’m a little bit shocked that it wasn’t fixed because it’s been so long. They keep putting up cones and making the area bigger every day.”

“It’s a lake within a lake,” he said.

“The advisory is to let people know that it’s happening,” Kefalas said. “Over time, it becomes a messy situation and if you’re walking through it you’re walking through slush.”