Some septic waste disposal operators in the Fraser Valley are voicing their concerns because many disposal plants in the region have reached capacity.
The City of Chilliwack says over the last two years it has handled a more than 40-per cent increase in trucked liquid waste causing operational disruptions, increased treatment costs and quality issues at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
This comes after the treatment plant in Abbotsford stopped accepting waste from anywhere outside Abbotsford and Mission in 2021, leading to more being sent to Chilliwack.
James Stiksma, owner of Canadian Septic and a board member of the Western Canadian On-Site Wastewater Management Association of B.C. told Global News that, “as of Oct. 3, the city of Chilliwack is requiring all pumpers to fill out a declaration form as to where their load is coming from. And as a result, a lot of the surrounding areas in the FVRD are no longer able to dispose of their sewage waste at the treatment plant here in Chilliwack.”
Stiksma said the nearby Agassiz plant has been at capacity for a while and Hope’s plant is only taking 500 gallons a day, just from the residents of Hope.
The City of Chilliwack is now requiring confirmation that septic waste being brought in is only from within the city limits, which some say could lead to illegal dumping.
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In a statement to Global News, the city said “once city staff have collected enough data from the new manifests to confirm the volume of liquid waste being deposited from within Chilliwack boundaries, staff will calculate the plant’s capacity to accept outside septage waste.
“City staff are willing to work with the FVRD on a regional liquid waste management plan to determine regional needs and how best any remaining capacity at the Chilliwack plant should be allocated.”
A treatment plant expansion is anticipated to be finished in December 2025, which will mean the plant will have more capacity to accept liquid waste from neighbouring communities.
Global News also reached out to the Fraser Valley Regional District but it did not issue a statement, saying instead it has a few solutions.
It has contacted several facilities out of the region that are able to accept liquid waste from private haulers and has provided this information to these businesses. In addition, FVRD is connecting with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment to identify potential solutions for rural residents.
There are an estimated 14,000 residents in the district plus Indigenous communities that are potentially affected by these changes.
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