The City of Colwood is considering moving the sewage pump station on Ocean Boulevard to protect it in the event of a storm, tsunami or other natural disasters.
During a recent committee of the whole meeting, consulting team Kerr, Wood, Leidal, presented three options to move the pump station, which is vulnerable to flooding due to a number of factors. Consultants recommended moving the pump station in a multi-phased approach to the southern edge of Pit House Park at the end of Goldfinch Road at a cost of $2.4 million. Other options include moving the pump station to the eastern end of Milburn Drive in a road right of way at a cost of $4.3 million, or having two pump stations at an estimated cost of $5.9 million.
With the first two options, a number of properties would not be able to be serviced by gravity, meaning the City would install pumps for sewer services to those residents. “The current location of the Ocean Boulevard pump station is problematic from both environmental and risk management perspectives that must be considered prior to its 2065 estimated service lifespan,” said a report to council.
“It is vulnerable to flooding due to winds, waves, anticipated sea level rise, and tsunami risks. It is also immediately adjacent to the barrier beach of Coburg Peninsula, which separates Esquimalt Lagoon from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The beach is one of the City’s most treasured assets.”
In 2017, the lock block wall in front of the pump station was raised to protect it from wave run-up, but that was just a temporary solution. Should sea levels rise or if a tsunami should hit the coastline, damaging the pump station, it could cause sewage to spew into the ocean.
“The question is not whether we have to move the pump station, it’s when,” said Coun. Jason Nault during the meeting. Nault, who also put forward a motion for staff to look into protective covenants that are currently in place at Pit House Park.
The City has included the project in its five-year financial plan, and staff have applied for grant funding, which would provide up to 73 per cent of the project costs.
Suggestions to move the pump station come on the heels of after another study by Northwest Hydraulic Consultants. With sea levels expected to rise by the year 2100, the study predicts the upper berm to retreat by nine to twelve metres, which would have a significant impact on existing infrastructure, including the road and the Ocean Boulevard pump station.
The options will come to council during its next regular meeting on Sept. 24. If all goes according to plan, the project would be put to tender in 2019 for construction in 2020.