City of Williams Lake officials face challenges in the week ahead as extremely high water levels ravage the river valley. (Scott Nelson photo)

‘Out of control’: Cariboo flooding pushing partially-treated sewage into Fraser River

City asks residents to moderate water usage as broken line spills partially treated effluent

The situation in the Williams Lake River Valley will likely get worse before it gets better.

That’s the reality facing the city’s chief administrative officer, Milo MacDonald, and Gary Muraca, director of municipal services, who were headed back into the river valley early Monday morning, April 27, to inspect the state of Williams Lake’s infrastructure, where a sewer main broke Sunday and continues to spill the city’s partially treated effluent into the creek, and eventually the Fraser River.

Read More: State of emergency declared in Williams Lake due to flooding, erosion in River Valley

The river valley is currently seeing a one-in-two-hundred-year flow rate in the creek, he said.

“Nothing can withstand that kind of sustained pressure,” MacDonald said. “It’s raging out of control.”

Officials, including municipal workers as well as provincial and federal experts, are monitoring the situation and trying to determine next steps to preserve Williams Lake’s infrastructure and limit the environmental impacts in the face of the record levels of water.

Read More: Rose Lake ranchers don hip waders to work in flooded fields

“Everyone’s been very understanding. This isn’t anyone’s fault,” he said, noting they’ve received a lot of support from the Provincial Emergency Management team out of Prince George.

“If we would have had a little good luck we would have been fine,” he said.

In fact on Sunday, workers had planned to repair the broken line, exposed by erosion, and asked Williams Lake residents to significantly reduce water usage while they did so. However, as equipment was mobilized into the area another section of road was swept away by the strong currents, forcing an excavator operator to evacuate and other workers to be removed by helicopter.

Read More: Work to fix broken sewage line in Williams Lake River Valley Sunday unsuccessful

MacDonald said everyone is safe and city equipment is not damaged, but it speaks to the evolving situation they are dealing with, and it’s not over yet.

City officials are bracing themselves for at least a week more of high water volume before it lets up, depending on the how warm the temperature gets every day.

“It’s not clear at this point where we’re going to end up.”

In the meantime, MacDonald asked Williams Lake residents to help them by moderating their use of water as much as possible.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

floodingWilliams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay SAR crews rescue injured mountain biker near Rossland

Crews were called in to help after the biker seriously injured himself at around noon Saturday

Suspected fentanyl and cocaine seized during RCMP search in Castlegar

Two men were taken into police custody during the search warrant

Castlegar and Creston skate parks opening May 27

The RDCK is asking skateboarders to take physical distancing protocols to combat spread of COVID-19

Morning start: This is the fastest growing city in the Kootenays

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Monday, May 25

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Most Read