Flooding forces need for new sewer lines in parts of Rainy

The stress of the flooding in Rainy River has gone beyond what the people are feeling.
The town’s sewer system has been over-stressed by over capacity inflows during the flooding last July 31st and this past June.
Town Clerk Deb Bowman said that council feels the problem of infiltration has increased many fold since the first flood event last year. “We feel some lines have either collapsed or have obstructions in them,” he noted.
For that reason council is moving ahead with a application for $666,000 in Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program funding and $100,000 from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund. The money will be used to replace the sewer lines that are believed to be in the worst shape in town.
They include the middle blocks of First, Second, Third and Fifth Streets. The top two blocks of Sixth and the block of Mill Avenue from First to Second Streets will also be ripped up and replaced.
These areas were identified as the biggest problem areas for infiltration last year in an engineering study done for the town before the flooding hit. The flooding filled the entire system to capacity and then some. That forced the town to have to pump raw sewage directly into the river at the bottom of Sixth Street during the events.
Prior to last year’s storm the town only had to do that at Sixth. In the most recent events they had to start doing that on First Street as well. Bowman said that they almost had to do the same thing on Second Street as well.
“We consider this a health and safety issue,” explained Bowman, pointing directly to having to pump the raw sewage down the streets.
Whether the town gets the ODRAP and Heritage money or not, Bowman said council is moving forward with the replacement of the sewer lines stated above. She said they do not feel they have any choice.
Council is also hoping that by doing so that they will reduce or eliminate much of a big problem that has been plaguing the system for a number of years. Infiltration into the sewer system has force the community into a corner that has seen council unable to try and attract any new developments to Rainy River.
One opinion from a consultant is that if the infiltration into the system is dramatically reduced there may not be a need for a third cell at the local sewer lagoon.
However, another opinion is that the town will need the third cell regardless if the infiltration is reduced. Bowman says they hope the first opinion is right.
The town is also encouraging residents to remove sump pump drainage from the sewer system. That has been an ongoing problem and it is illegal to drain yards or basement seepage into the sewer system.
Bowman said tenders for the project will be let in mid-August and they hope to start construction September 9, 2002.
In related news, Rainy River has submitted an interim ODRAP application for $72,000 to cover the cost of sandbagging, construction of the dike, ditching around town and river-front clean up.
Bowman said the figures do not include final cost estimates for damage to the park or the marina. They are currently working on those figures.
As for the future of the dike council has not made any decisions on whether it will be made permanent or simply removed.