Water in the city’s sewer system is starting to recede and the main pumping station will be accessible soon.
City infrastructure manager Darrell Matson said temporary pumps have given the city a 115 megalitre capacity, which has allowed for significant progress along with sandbagging efforts at the Atlantic Avenue sewage treatment plant.
“There’s one area of the plant now which will be accessible for damage assessments and it is the main pumping station,” Matson said Thursday morning. “That is the critical component of a go forward position.”
“We are seeing the levels within those sewers actually starting to decrease and we’ve made about seven to eight feet of progress in the last 24 hours or so.”
While it’s good news, the city still needs people to continue conservation efforts by sending as little water into the sewer system as possible. The plant, which flooded Monday morning after a breach, still has a long way to go and the damage is still unknown.
“There is still water coming into that facility but we do not know where or how,” Matson said.
An Ontario Clean Water Agency specialist has been called in to help the city’s plan to enter the plant along with Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue. Matson said they don’t have a timeline yet for when the conservation request will be lifted but they do know when it would happen.
“When we have our main pumping station up and running at full capacity and it’s reliable then that’s the time we will reconsider removing the conservation asks,” Matson said.
While there have been calls for an outright ban on water usage, the city says it’s unnecessary right now.
“We aren’t expecting businesses to close and incur a financial hardship” city manager Tim Commisso said.
“A total ban on water right now is not something that we are asking for.”
As long as the weather is good and progress is being made it’s not needed Matson added.
“If the conditions worsen then we will step it up. We will look at bans or other conservation techniques that other communities have used under similar circumstances,” he said.