The city does not have explanation as to how five million litres of untreated sewage spilled into the Red River over a nine day period.
Officials were notified on Tuesday from residents complaining about a nasty smell near St. John’s Park off of Main Street. Crews determined an opening of a diversion chamber was blocked by some wood planks back on January 10th. The city says the chamber directs the sewage to a treatment plant and at the same time diverts rain into the river. In this case, the block caused the sewage to go into the river.
“We don’t know how the boards got there,” said Chris Carroll, Manager of Waste/Water Service. “Unfortunately, things do end up in the sewer system from time to time, and we do our best to remove these items when we find them.”
Carroll adds the blockage did not trigger any alarms, because there are no devices set up for such a purpose at the location.
At this point it’s also impossible to clean it up.
“The water that went into the river has obviously been transferred down with the river system,” Carroll said. “We have been out to the site and had looked at the bank and the surrounding area, we didn’t see any physical debris or anything of that nature.”
The city is now conducting an investigation on how the boards got there in there in the first place.
Manitoba Conservation, meanwhile, is doing its own review and does have the power to fine the city if it finds any mistakes were made.