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Heavy rains send sewage into Coquitlam creek

Residents are upset about sewage overflowing into their backyards and neighbouring streets during Wednesday's heavy rain fall

Residents in the Oakdale neighbourhood in western Coquitlam are crying foul after their streets and backyards were filled with effluent during heavy rains Wednesday.

Coquitlam works crews were called to the scene of a sewage overflow on North Road and closed the city street while they vacuumed out sewage in pipes that had been pouring sewer water onto the street.

Residents say they feel ignored by Metro Vancouver, which they say has failed to address a problem behind their homes next to fish-bearing Stoney Creek.

"It's coming out six inches high out of the manhole and flowing into the creek," said Dave Irving, who lives at 981 Gilroy Cres., noting that the sewage overflow into the creek happens every time it rains heavily.

The last time he saw such a discharge was in mid-November, during the last atmospheric river event.

"It's happened many times over the years," Irving told the Tri-City News.

Other neighbours have raised the alarm as well, expressing concerns about the effluent pouring into Stoney Creek.

"I think there is an immediate, continuing environmental issue that happens every time there's a heavy rainfall," said Janice McAndrew, who lives nearby at 957 Gillroy Cres. and watched as sewage poured out of the Metro Vancouver pipe into the creek next to her backyard on Wednesday morning.

With development planned or underway in the area, "how much worse is this going to get immediately and in the future?" she asked.

Residents say they have contacted the local authorities and are hoping to see the problem of sewage overflows addressed.

Metro Vancouver responded to a request for information from the Tri-City News by explaining the problem is due to overflows from heavy rains.

"The sanitary sewer overflow is due to heavy rain from an atmospheric river event that is taking place in the Metro Vancouver region," stated Peter Navratil, general manager of liquid waste services, in an email.

"Environmental monitoring has been dispatched and Emergency Management B.C. has been notified, along with the three municipalities that contribute flow into the main: Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam. It’s expected the overflow will subside once the weather system has moved through the region."

According to the City of Coquitlam, Metro Vancouver has a plan to upgrade the regional Stoney Creek trunk sewer that extends from Port Moody, through Coquitlam, and into Burnaby within the next five years.