Sewage is being pumped out at the District of Houston’s bulk waste facility during the off hours to ease complaints from nearby businesses about the smell. (Houston Today photo)

Sewage is being pumped out at the District of Houston’s bulk waste facility during the off hours to ease complaints from nearby businesses about the smell. (Houston Today photo)

Sewage dumping hours adjusted

Move aimed at easing complaints about the smell

Coastal GasLink’s work camp provider will only dump sewage at the District of Houston’s bulk waste facility in the industrial area after hours in an attempt to ease complaints that the smell wafting through the area when tankers are pumped out disturbs surrounding businesses.

The new schedule for dumping from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. came in effect Oct. 18 following discussions between Coastal GasLink, its work camp provider which is a company called Civeo and the District of Houston.

“Coastal GasLink was recently made aware of business owner complaints on liquid waste hauling to the District of Houston liquid waste management facility that may be related to our project,” said Coastal GasLink official Kiel Giddens on Oct. 18.

“The project immediately contacted District of Houston public works staff to discuss options and explore mitigations.”

The sewage is treated at the Coastal GasLink camp prior to shipment and the prospect of additional treatment is being explored to further dampen the prospects of smells during transport and when the tankers are being emptied.

Following complaints about the smell, the District contacted Urban Systems, its long-term consultanting company, to investigate the situation.

“It was determined that it is unlikel that the volume of wastewater being discharged from commercial users can be attributed to reports of smells of effluent in the area,” a subsequent memo from District corporate services officer Holly Brown to council indicated.

“Rather, it is more likely that because the sewage is being hauled long distances that it has been sitting in a tank for more than two hours, which allows the sewage to become septic and produce effluent gases responsible for strong odours in the area.”

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre long natural gas pipeline from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada liquefied natural gas plant now under construction at Kitimat and has a network of work camps along the pipeline construction route.

The company several years ago negotiated a deal with the District of Houston to help pay to replace a much smaller bulk waste facility with a much larger one capable of handling the kind of outflow from its camps south of Houston.

The idea is that the District will have the ongoing benefit of this larger facility once the pipeline construction is finished. A user fee is also being paid to the District.

District staffers will continue to monitor the situation, checking that the new dumping schedule is working well.

Coastal GasLink’s largest camp south of the community is called Huckleberry and has the capacity to hold 800 people. As of two weeks ago the population stood at 255.

The company also has two other work camps, ones which are farther away, that use the bulk waste facility. Camp 9A as a capacity for 120 people with 115 there now while 380 people are at Camp P2 which has a capacity of 380 people.

Given the distance of 9A and P2 from Houston, Coastal GasLink did say there are challenges in transporting sewage in line with the new schedule of 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.