9A and 9B camps

Sewage smells from the District of Houston’s bulk waste station have returned

Coastal GasLink has committed itself again to ease the problem

Coastal GasLink has once again committed itself to easing the problem of odour-spreading sewage trucks from its work camps using the District of Houston’s bulk disposal facility in the industrial area during working hours.

Following complaints last fall from business owners in the industrial that the smell coming from trucks while the sewage was being pumped up was affecting their employees and customers, Coastal GasLink’s work camp provider, Civeo, adjusted delivery times to after normal business hours.

That apparently has worked for sewage disposal from one of Coastal GasLink’s three camps south of Houston along the route of the natural gas pipeline its building but not for the other two.

And once again business owners in the industrial area said smells were disrupting to their employees and customers.

“The other two camps cannot accommodate an alternative schedule due to safety concerns for the delivery drivers,” said District of Houston chief administrative officer Michael Dewar following contact with TC Energy, Coastal GasLink’s parent, about a renewed effort to reduce odour spreading.

That’s consistent with concerns raised by Coastal GasLink last fall regarding travel distances and weather conditions, especially during the winter, from camp locations to Houston.

And now Coastal GasLink has repeated commitments it made last fall to add odour-dampening additives to the tanks being taken to the bulk sewage facility.

“The additives will be added on site and equipment is in place to do such. It is anticipated that the additive product will be secured and ready for implementation in the coming weeks,” said Dewar of assurances made to him by Coastal GasLink.

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

“It was determined that it is unlikely 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.