About 24 hours after residents in parts of Squamish were asked to conserve water due to a critical situation with plumbing infrastructure downtown, things are returning to normal for those folks.
The District announced at about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday (Jan. 15) that residents south of the Mamquam River — east and west of Highway 99 — could once again use water for laundry, dishwashing, long showers/baths and all unnecessary toilet flushing.
The request for water conservation originally came
on Saturday afternoon, when the muni announced that emergency work was being conducted on a failed Queens Way sanitary lift station.
A Saturday morning news release said that a main manhole had deteriorated and emergency procedures were in place to bypass the system around the lift station.
Queens Way was closed between Aspen Road and Pioneer Way until Saturday night to allow crews to deal with the situation.
In a 4 p.m. Jan. 14 update sent to The Squamish Chief, the District said some wastewater was being "diverted" into the estuary.
"As best efforts continue to ensure protection of the environment, the District of Squamish has had to intermittently and temporarily divert wastewater into the estuary to avoid sewage backups in homes and businesses in downtown Squamish. This diversion is expected to be minimal and short-lived while emergency work to create a bypass line around the Queens Way lift station continues," read the Saturday news release.
The District reported that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy had been informed of the situation, and District environment staff were monitoring the impacts.
At the time, the District advised the public to avoid the estuary and the Cattermole Slough waterways.
A trail remained closed along the estuary in front of the Aqua building as of Sunday morning.
According to the District, several sewer vacuum trucks in Squamish were transporting wastewater to other lift stations in town in hopes this would minimize the impacts to the estuary until the sewer bypass line was in place for the Queens Way station.
The trucks were seen by The Squamish Chief staff continuing this work on Sunday morning.
Sunday morning, the District said it was still necessary for residents in impacted areas to conserve water.
"The bypass is working as it should be to transport wastewater directly to the treatment plant," reads a Sunday afternoon post from the District.
*Please note that this story was updated several times as the situation developed. See our follow-up story for the latest.