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UPDATE: Leak spewing 1 million litres of sewage into Kootenay River every day now fixed

(UPDATE: April 4 @ 7:24 am): The leak that was spilling a million litres of sewage into the Kootenay River every day has been "stopped," according to province's Ministry of Environment and Climate and Change.

Divers spent Tuesday and Wednesday surveying the three-kilometre pipe in an attempt to find the source of the leak, the Ministry told NowMedia.

On Wednesday afternoon, they succeeded and "stopped the leak with a repair," a spokesperson said.

NowMedia – which was the first news outlet to report the leak – also asked what damage the sewage has done to the river and the local environment generally.

The Ministry did not answer that question, but said the Province will now work with the City of Nelson to "review this incident and the next steps forward."

NowMedia has requested more information from the City of Nelson.

(Original story: April 3 @ 2:30 pm): BC’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (ENV) says a dive team has been deployed from Vancouver to a small Kootenay city to stop a large sewage spill.

On March 28, a leak in the City of Nelson’s municipal wastewater pipeline was found and it is estimated that the leak was releasing one million litres of sewage into the Kootenay River per day.

According to a notice, the City of Nelson secured a diving team to repair the leak, however, they would not be able to start repairs until April 2 at the earliest.

“ENV is working with the City of Nelson to monitor the incident and coordinate sampling to determine potential impacts,” said an update provided at the end of March.

“A liquid waste management plan to update aging municipal wastewater infrastructure is in development by the City of Nelson.”

The notice said all applicable federal and provincial agencies, health authorities, First Nations and local communities had been identified.

An update on Mar. 30 said the wastewater pipeline was located at a depth of about 100 feet in the Kootenay River and the strong flow of the river was expected to reduce potential impacts to wildlife.

The notice says health authorities expect the potential impact to human health to be low.

“Private and public water extraction points from the Kootenay River are a significant distance from the point of release,” the update said.

“ENV continues to work with the City of Nelson to implement spill response actions, implement environmental monitoring programs, promote replacement of the pipeline, and ensure contingency plans are in place if further leaks occur on the pipeline.”

As of Monday, April 1, the macerated sewage was still leaking into the Kootenay River, however, the diver team from Vancouver was scheduled to be in Nelson on Tuesday.

A meeting between the City of Nelson, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, Regional District of Central Kootenay and ENV is planned for Wednesday.

According to the April 1 update, the City of Nelson will be performing sampling in the river while ENV is working to review databases to assess downstream impacts and if additional testing will be needed.

“The incident continues to be monitored. Further updates will be made once more information becomes available,” the update says.

NowMedia has requested more information from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

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