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Septic problem becomes a war of words

The effort to resolve the septic issues at Anmore Green Estates has become a war of words.
Anymore Green septic problem
Protective fencing and warning signs have now been up at a field next to Eagle Mountain middle school for more than a year as a leak of water contaminated with e coli and fecal coliform from the septic systems that services a nearby housing complex has yet to be resolved.

The effort to resolve the septic issues at Anmore Green Estates has become a war of words.

In response to a statement authored by Brandie Roberts, the vice president of the 51-unit strata complex, outlining residents’ frustration at finding a solution to the problem of water contaminated with e coli and fecal coliform leaking from its septic system onto the property of Eagle Mountain middle school, Anmore council released its own statement that it’s “being vilified, punished and made a scape goat.”

Anmore mayor John McEwen said council wanted to “set the record straight.”

In its statement, written by Coun. Kim Trowbridge, Anmore council refutes Roberts’ assertion in her post that the village has “done nothing” since it was issued an order last August 16 from provincial environment minister George Heyman requiring the development of a liquid waste management plan for the entire village.

In his order, Heyman said the village “has taken no significant actions to prevent or mitigate the risk of further pollution,” raising “significant concerns” with the village’s “capacity and willingness” to deal with the problem.

On Nov. 27, the minister responded to a request from the village to rescind the order by extending its original deadline of Nov. 30 to April 30, 2019.

Anmore council, in its statement, said formulating a management plan for the village’s liquid waste takes “much more time than we were given by the ministry,” and blames the provincial authority for dragging its own heels on reaching a solution in concert with Anmore Green Estates.

“Perhaps we would not be at the point where seemingly only one solution exists when others, even in our community, have solved their issues on site,” council said.

Anmore Green’s septic problems first burbled into public view on Dec. 23, 2017, when the strata erected blue fencing and warning signs at the base of a hillside where its septic field is located, next to Eagle Mountain middle school. The strata was complying with a pollution abatement order it was issued earlier that fall after routine testing discovered contaminated water at several sites at the bottom of the hillside, which is often used as a playing area or shortcut by students.

Roberts said since then, the strata’s efforts to resolve the problem — including commissioning several engineering reports, as well as offering to cover the cost of their recommendation to hook the strata up to the regional sewer system at a connection in Port Moody, just 60 metres away — have been stymied.

“This is not reasonable and shows a serious lack of leadership, care, and integrity of the elected leaders of Anmore,” Roberts said.

But Anmore council said it’s been nothing but accommodating in finding a resolution, including voting in favour of amending its official community plan to allow the strata to hook into Port Moody’s sewer and even reaching out to its municipal neighbour to consider such a solution.

“Everything Anmore can do is done,” said council’s statement. “This has gone far enough with the nasty letters and posts.”