Illegal and harmful, say town officials
During a health and safety inspection of the Town of Slave Lake’s wastewater management facilities on January 23rd, 2019, the town’s inspection team encountered a strong chemical smell coming from two of the lift stations, which circulate sewage from the industrial sector of the Town.
According to a news release sent out by the Town of Slave Lake, after further inspection, it was determined that the smell came from an unidentified solvent or other hydrocarbons that is being dumped directly into the sewer system.
The release says to please note that the dumping of such substances is illegal because they are toxic for the environment and the general public. They also create more hazardous work environments for Town workers.
According to Town utility managers, this is an ongoing problem of which local residents and businesses have been previously notified.
“The main problem with this is that the sewage treatment plant cannot treat hydrocarbons. So it travels through the plant and into the creek. For all (intents and) purposes they might as well be dumping it into the river directly,” says chief administrative officer for the Town of Slave Lake Brian Vance.
Vance adds most people realize that it is very bad for the environment to dump directly into a creek but they may not realize the effect of dumping it into the sewer.
Shops are supposed to have a separator to ensure hydrocarbons do not enter the sanitary sewer, states Vance.
“Sometimes owners do not keep these cleaned out, or they may dump intentionally, either through ignorance of the harm, or because they are too lazy to dispose of the products properly.”
Vance says they did not catch the person doing it and there is a fine is $500 for the first offence, $500 for the second, and $1,000 for the third offence.
More than the fine, Vance says he would hope that people show their disappointment if they know someone who is damaging the natural environment.