City: Expensive sewer lift station upgrade needed to avert big problems

The City of Revelstoke to spend an estimated $833,800 to upgrade its aging Wales Street sewer lift station.

The Wales Street Lift Station. Photo: Melissa Jameson/Revelstoke Mountaineer

You can drive past it every day and not even notice it’s there. Tucked in a small, nondescript shed next to the Columbia River in the Farwell neighbourhood is the Wales Street sewer lift station. What it does is pump sewage uphill en route to the sewage treatment plant.

If the facility were to fail, it would strand sewage in Lower Town, leading to huge headaches as crews scrambled to install a new one on the fly.

The current facility is getting very old, so Revelstoke City Council has approved an estimated $833,800 in upgrades to be completed by the end of this year. The city has applied for a federal/provincial grant that could cover 83% of the costs, but the results of that application won’t be known until spring.

“The existing one is quite old,” said Allan Chabot, Revelstoke Chief Administration Officer. “It has older technology which is difficult to maintain and it’s not serviced by back-up power. If the pumps go down then effluent [wastewater] could overflow into the Columbia River.”

Chabot said the city wants to prevent that from happening. The plan is to issue a tender document as soon as possible so the lift station can be upgraded.

A November 2016 report prepared by city engineering director Mike Thomas notes the existing lift station will be removed and a wetwell lift station with two submersible pumps will be constructed. The report also notes the design will include installing a backup generator, improving operator safety, and increasing sewer capacity to meet the demands of development in the sewer catchment.

“It serves a large catchment area, so it has a large impact,” said Chabot.

For more, see the City of Revelstoke report here.