Burfield sewer issues likely caused by grease

Grease from homes is seen narrowing a line. Photo Omar Butt, SPMRM

The sewer line on Burfield Dr. has been a concern for residents and Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) for many years.

Previously SPMRM councillors and staff discussed overbuilding on the street as the main cause of back ups. However, recent research into the issue by Omar Butt, new director of public works for the municipality, revealed installation issues and grease were likely to blame.

In a report presented to council Aug. 20, Butt said the pipe’s size has enough capacity for the number of homes, even during peak periods.

After flushing and using a camera to view the line, Butt said it was clear many sections of the line have sagged.

“There are two to three sections of pipe that have pooling around 40 to 60 per cent due to sags and those are the areas that I want to focus on repairing,” he reported. “In my mind we definitely don’t need to replace the whole sewer line.”

He added another issue with the line was visible grease.

“There were some service lines (to homes) that had 50 to 70 per cent grease clogged in the pipe to the main sewer line. Once that grease gets down to the main line it can cause a serious backup. Education on how to deal with grease for residents is really important so we don’t keep having these issues. It could be very costly for them if they plug up their service line as well.”

SPMRM chief administrative officer Rob Bremner explained grease leaving homes narrows the pipes, so although the line should have enough capacity it’s being blocked.

He said any thought of charging residents for repairs through an improvement district would only take place if issues persisted after repairs were made and flushing was complete.

Currently lines on the street are flushed annually. To manage issues, flushing can continue and lines can be cleared with sewer rods.

“The pipe should be big enough…a couple parts are sagging and we’re looking at fixing them then we’ll look again and see if that helps and will fix our problem.

“The backing up tells us that the system isn’t working…once we fix those we’ll see what it flows like.”