A poop emoji smiles over top of a wooded lagoon.
Photo Credit: Healthy Watersheds / VanIsle.News Staff

Finally—We’re Getting Rid of Poop Lagoon

Port Alberni is finally getting rid of that nasty smell

Sludge removal can’t happen soon enough

It’s been a long time coming, but the day is finally here.

The sweet, sweet smell of rotting sewage—and all the damage to our sinuses that came with it—is finally getting drained from Port Alberni.

With a new wastewater treatment plant up and running, it’s time to say goodbye to poop lagoon.

It’ll likely cost over a million dollars, and it’ll be a kind of septic tank exorcism worthy of a horror movie.

”Anyone who has recently been down to the Victoria Quay area will have noticed the smell, and it is worse than I’ve ever smelled it,” said Mayor Sharie Minions. “I’m looking forward to getting rid of that, and the sooner we can do that, the better.”

So how does “desludging” a lagoon happen?

Well, it takes two phases.

The first phase scrapes the crusties off the top and haul them to the Alberni Valley Landfill. The project’s second, more expensive phase involves dewatering using a centrifuge.

In simple English, the whole area is getting a hell of a power wash.

During last week’s city council meeting, director of engineering Rob Dickinson explained that the old sewage lagoon is no longer aerated. That’s why it’s getting so stinky.

“As this sits there and we’re not aerating it, the odour this summer and next summer will be a lot worse than it has in the past,” he said

The funding for the project was budgeted in the 2022 financial plan, but the city only received one bid for the work for $1,019,148.

Maybe no one else wanted to deal with the shit?

Council wanted the award to go to a local contractor. But with the stench building and no volunteers, they went commercial.

They’ve decided to contract the sludge removal to American Process Group (Canada) Ltd. for a cost of up to CDN$450,000. They’ll renegotiate the rest of the work later.

Work will start this summer and likely continue through to the next.

Until the lagoon is fully drained, things will likely smell a bit funky down there.