City of Williams Lake officials face challenges in the week ahead as extremely high water levels ravage the river valley. (Scott Nelson photo)

City of Williams Lake officials face challenges in the week ahead as extremely high water levels ravage the river valley. (Scott Nelson photo)

‘Out of control’: Cariboo flooding pushing partially-treated sewage into Fraser River

City asks residents to moderate water usage as broken line spills partially treated effluent

The situation in the Williams Lake River Valley will likely get worse before it gets better.

That’s the reality facing the city’s chief administrative officer, Milo MacDonald, and Gary Muraca, director of municipal services, who were headed back into the river valley early Monday morning, April 27, to inspect the state of Williams Lake’s infrastructure, where a sewer main broke Sunday and continues to spill the city’s partially treated effluent into the creek, and eventually the Fraser River.

Read More: State of emergency declared in Williams Lake due to flooding, erosion in River Valley

The river valley is currently seeing a one-in-two-hundred-year flow rate in the creek, he said.

“Nothing can withstand that kind of sustained pressure,” MacDonald said. “It’s raging out of control.”

Officials, including municipal workers as well as provincial and federal experts, are monitoring the situation and trying to determine next steps to preserve Williams Lake’s infrastructure and limit the environmental impacts in the face of the record levels of water.

Read More: Rose Lake ranchers don hip waders to work in flooded fields

“Everyone’s been very understanding. This isn’t anyone’s fault,” he said, noting they’ve received a lot of support from the Provincial Emergency Management team out of Prince George.

“If we would have had a little good luck we would have been fine,” he said.

In fact on Sunday, workers had planned to repair the broken line, exposed by erosion, and asked Williams Lake residents to significantly reduce water usage while they did so. However, as equipment was mobilized into the area another section of road was swept away by the strong currents, forcing an excavator operator to evacuate and other workers to be removed by helicopter.

Read More: Work to fix broken sewage line in Williams Lake River Valley Sunday unsuccessful

MacDonald said everyone is safe and city equipment is not damaged, but it speaks to the evolving situation they are dealing with, and it’s not over yet.

City officials are bracing themselves for at least a week more of high water volume before it lets up, depending on the how warm the temperature gets every day.

“It’s not clear at this point where we’re going to end up.”

In the meantime, MacDonald asked Williams Lake residents to help them by moderating their use of water as much as possible.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

floodingWilliams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Elsie Hellstrom (top left), Mary Gjernes (top right), Stan Moore (bottom left) and Evelina Walter all celebrated their birthdays this month. All photos courtesy of Brittany Siemens.
Mission seniors residence celebrates 4 centenarian birthdays this month

Special party honouring a combined 405 years of life held on Jan. 25

A Chilliwack driver’s vehicle was impounded for seven days after an excessive speeding violation. (RCMP photo)
RCMP catch Chilliwack driver doing 60 km/h over posted speed limit

The motorist was hit with a big ticket and a seven day vehicle impoundment

Abbotsford Police is investigating after bullet casings were found following a shots fired call at the intersection of Purcell Avenue and Wells Gray Avenue on Tuesday night. (File photo)
Bullet casings found after shots-fired call in Abbotsford on Tuesday

Abbotsford Police Department seeking witnesses and CCTV footage following shooting

UFV assistant kinesiology professor Dr. Iris Lesser exercises along Chilliwack's Vedder Rotary Trail with her daughter Kaia. (UFV photo)
UFV study finds women with reduced physical activity had more mental health struggles during COVID pandemic

The study suggested women suffered more than men as gyms, parks and playgrounds shut down

Hatzic Middle school has had the most COVID-19 exposures in the district. File photo.
COVID-19 exposure at Hatzic Middle

Exposure occurred on Jan. 19

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

BC Place Stadium in a photo posted to cisc-icca.ca.
Roof of BC Place a stage for performers during online music festival

‘This will be the first time any artists have performed from the 204-foot iconic Vancouver rooftop’

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

Abbotsford woman, 29, wasn’t injured in either incident

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Most Read