Paradise pays up to avoid St. Thomas traffic snarl

By Mark Squibb / September 29, 2023 Edition

If you saw pump trucks continuously driving up-and-down St. Thomas Line this week, you may have wondered whether another disastrous lift station malfunction like the one in 2019 had occurred.

That blowout required the use of pumper trucks to lug sewage from the station around the clock at a cost of roughly $50,000 a day.

But unlike in 2019, the trucks were called in this week to accommodate some planned construction work, and not unexpected failures.

Councillor Deborah Quilty said that refurbishment of the Woodstock Lift Station, which is just down the hill from notorious Lift Sation Number 10, which had the blowout, was scheduled to begin Monday, September 25 and expected to last for two to three days.

“The contractor is responsible for plugging the incoming sanitary line, intercepting the incoming sewer using vacuum trucks, and disposing of collected sanitary sewer elsewhere in the system, thereby passing the lift station during construction,” explained Quilty. “The contractor, Rodco Mechanical Ltd., priced the work assuming they could dispose of the collected sanitary sewer at Lift Station Number 10, and carry three vacuum trucks in their tender price.”

Quilty added that in order to alleviate potential traffic congestion around Lift Station Number 10, which is being rebuilt on the corner of St. Thomas Line and Topsail Road, staff asked the contractor to offload the sanitary sewer from the Woodstock station into a manhole on Plateau Park, just off St. Thomas Line.

“The haul from the Woodstock Lift Station to Plateau Park is about three times the haul distance from Lift Station Number 10,” said Quilty. “The contractor has advised that an additional two vacuum trucks are required to ensure that a vacuum truck is available at the work site to collect diverted sewer. Additionally, traffic control at Plateau Park will also be required.”

All said, the contractor estimated the additional cost, based on the daily rate of the vacuum trucks and traffic control to allow for the trudging of sewage to Plateau Park to be $16,042, HST included.

Quilty noted that while the engineering committee had not had a chance to consider the change order, staff recommended approval.

Councillor Larry Vaters reiterated that the change had been initiated by the Town, and not the contractor, and so council approved the motion unanimously.

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