District says it is taking steps to prevent future sewage backups in Fairy Lake neighbourhood



An investigation by District staff into the second sewage backup in a Fairy Lake neighbourhood in less than a year has pegged the cause on an electrical failure at its Hwy. 60 Coveside pumping station.

The latest incident took place on Aug. 29, 2018. Sewage backed up into six homes along Szawlowski Drive. At the time, the District said it was investigating the incident and dispatched a private contractor to clean up the mess. Staff has since told Doppler that no sewage had made it into the lake.

In correspondence on Thursday, Sept. 13, District Communications Officer Molly Ross issued a statement via email saying the investigation “determined that the cause was linked to the electrical control systems and back up alarms for the pumping station.” She also stated that the investigation had confirmed that the Aug. 29 incident “was not linked to the causes of the back up last year in the similar area.”

A similar incident took place last October, also impacting several homes on the same road as well as businesses along Hwy. 60. At the time, the District issued a press release stating that the Coveside pumping station failed when the pumps turned off automatically and no alarms were triggered.

Several steps are being taken to ensure sewage backups do not reoccur, stated Ross in further email correspondence. She said backwater valves would be installed in area homes and one will also be installed in the manhole on Szawlowski Drive.

“Further steps to fortify the multi-barrier protections against recurrence are underway including upgrades to the electrical control panel, float back-up system, alarming systems and the addition of an independent alarming system to be completed shortly,” she added on Sept. 15. “In addition, an electrical engineering firm continues their investigation into the root cause of these incidents and the District will act immediately on their findings.”

Ross also said that in future, loading will be reduced to the Coveside pumping station as upgrades to the system are constructed.

See related stories below:

Forty per cent of wastewater that winds up in Huntsville’s sewage system is made up of storm water: District

Huntsville is at 100 per cent sewage capacity, system upgrade has $65M price tag

How much more sewage can Huntsville handle?

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  1. It’s gonna cost you, but so long as the storm water is connected to the sanitary sewers, you are going to overload the system – every time.

    District is going to have to cut back its overhead on the high priced office staff to save some money there, and embark on a program to put rainwater into storm drains and waste water into sanitary sewers.

    Oh how I’d like to see some common sense used every once in a while.

    Stop telling residences they must pay to get rid of the septic tanks and let them use them until you get more room in the sewage system treatment plants. – which you should see taking another 40 or 50 years.

    Properly installed septic systems never hurt anything! Ever!

  2. And the sewage backup, October last, destroyed one of Muskoka’s iconic businesses, Butcher’s Daughter. That was an ideal location for them; and to date, they don’t seem to have relocated.

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