VANCOUVER – Crews have broken ground on the first phase of the Oak Street Sewer Separation Upgrade project.
The upgrade work is valued at $28.6 million and is one of the largest projects in the city’s capital plan, a City of Vancouver release stated.
“This project directly addresses the significant sewer infrastructure deficit we have inherited and is a demonstration of our commitment to do everything we can to get more homes built. It also makes the local sewer system more resilient to climate change and extreme weather, while contributing to improving water quality in the Fraser River,” Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said in a statement.
Work on the project includes replacement of aging combined sewer infrastructure with separated pipes along Oak Street, West 70th Avenue and Fremlin Street.
Vancouver’s legacy infrastructure was designed to carry sewage and rainwater in the same pipe, in order to prevent wastewater treatment plants and pipes from flooding.
“When the combined pipes on Fremlin Street and along Oak Street are over-capacity during heavy rains, a mixture of rainwater and sewage (called CSOs) is released into the Fraser River. CSOs can harm aquatic species and cause immediate and long-term damage to the local ecosystem,” the release said.
Separated sewers carry sewage and rainwater in different pipes, which prevents CSOs and increases system capacity.
The majority of funding for this project will come from private development contributions through the Utilities Development Cost Levy, with additional support from local development projects.