The City of Regina is easing concerns about partially-treated sewage water released into Wascana Creek on Monday.
One million litres was released to allow for more space in the system and prevent further flooding in the city’s northwest.
“I know that it sounds like a big number, but it is a small amount as a proportion of what’s in the creek,” said Pat Wilson, director of water works.
It skipped most of the treatment process and only large particles were filtered out before bypassing the system at the McCarthy pumping station. That was released into the creek north of Dewdney Avenue near McCarthy Boulevard. That sewage water is extremely diluted and isn’t expected to reach Pasqua Lake for another four to five days.
The partially-treated water joined 250 million litres of fully-treated water, diluting the sewage to 0.4 per cent of all water entering the creek. It will be diluted much further when it joins the Qu’Appelle River because Wascana Creek only makes up 0.03 per cent of the water in the river.
Regardless, areas downstream have been notified and additional water testing is being done in collaboration with the Water Security Agency. Test results can take about a week to arrive.
The city said this bypass was the last option available to prevent further flooding on Monday night. Partially-treated sewage water was also released into the creek once last summer during the flooding.
Wilson assured improvements are on the way at the McCarthy pumping station to increase the capacity. Currently water is being pumped out of two force mains with a plan to add a third as part of the ‘Trunk Relief Initiative’ project.
The tender for consulting engineering services on that project ends on Thursday.
“With that in place, we wouldn’t have needed a bypass,” said Wilson.
She reminded people that after a significant rainfall event, there’s always the chance of more runoff containing bacteria entering the rivers and lakes.
The Water Security Agency expects no environmental impacts because of the release of the partly treated sewage water.