Poor maintenance blamed for electrical panel damage at Whycocomagh sewage station

·1 min read

A safety issue at a sewage lift station in Whycocomagh, N.S., has Inverness County acting quickly to make repairs.

It was discovered recently that an electrical panel at one of the stations has deteriorated due to a lack of maintenance. Corrosion has caused the panel to pull away from its mount, exposing wires, said CAO Keith MacDonald.

"So potentially with any exposed wire, it could cause some sparking or arcing," he said.

Keith MacDonald
Keith MacDonald

Staff reported the issue at the regular council meeting Thursday.

"Some councillors brought up the issue of methane gas and explosion," said Laurie Cranton, warden for Inverness County.

Speaking with staff Friday, Cranton learned that methane levels are monitored and there is none present.

"There hasn't been for a number of years when they check it. So the odds of that would be very, very slim," he said.

Of more concern is the potential risk to staff who could be working around the exposed wires.

Council approved the use of an estimated $35,000 from an existing maintenance budget to replace the panel, which MacDonald explained is hand-built and not an "off-the-shelf" model. That work could start as soon as next week.

The lift station in question is a small structure located near the entrance to the provincial park. It's one of six stations that pump wastewater toward the community's treatment plant.

The municipality has been reviewing Whycocomagh's water and wastewater infrastructure in advance of starting construction on a new treatment plant next spring.

MacDonald said he could not speak to the lack of an ongoing infrastructure maintenance program under the previous administration.