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Don't Make a Stink About it

I subscribe to dozens of news outlets, and albeit mostly depressing or negative updates. I do get the odd story, which is somewhat different. Such is the case with a small municipality in, none other than our eastern most province, Newfoundland.

I know they have quirky names for some of the towns and villages, but when I first heard about the hamlet of Paradise, I envisioned a serene, peaceful, ocean front community where everyone is happy and lives life to the fullest. That was certainly not the case last week.

The small community of 20,000, on the outskirts of St. John’s, has always had concerns when it came to sewage. The town’s holding tanks are outfitted with three pumps. The pumping is necessary because the sewage has to be propelled to the top of a hill where the treatment plant is located (apparently it’s a gravity thing). This seemed quite normal, I suppose, until one day last week, when all three pumps failed.

Appreciate the dilemma this caused. There is nowhere for the sewage to go, and overflowing is certainly not a good option. So like any fast-acting council would do, a solution was immediately found. The town decided to hire sewage trucks (also referred to as honey wagons, which I still don’t know why), to haul the sewage up to the plant.

Every day, eight trucks boom continuously along the road to the sewage plant and drop their business, so to speak… that is, until now. The cost of this solution has exceeded $50,000 and the coffers are empty. The Mayor has appealed to the province for subsidization, but alas, at this point, no solution has been found.

The source of the problem lies in the pipes at the bottom of the tanks, but trucks cannot haul sewage fast enough to empty the vats, so repairs can be made. It’s a catch 22, and asking the town not to flush their toilets is still up for debate.