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Governments combine for $8.8M to battle Oak Bay storm sewer overflows

The Uplands will see new storm sewers thanks to an $8.8 million investment. (Black Press Media file photo)

Governments are coming together to help put an end to a longstanding wastewater problem in Oak Bay.

Residents are accustomed to the water warnings for the southeast shores that frequently follow heavy rains. For nearly as long, the district has been working to separate the combined sewer system in Uplands. The shared system is frequently overwhelmed and overflows in heavy rain, causing effluent to go out to the Salish Sea.

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An $8.8 million investment by federal, provincial and local government to modernize and improve storm water and wastewater treatment infrastructure was announced Thursday (Feb. 15).

“Infrastructure is the backbone of a community, and while not always seen, it serves a vital role in livability,” said Mayor Kevin Murdoch in a news release. “This investment from all three levels of government helps ensure that residents of Oak Bay and the wider region are better prepared for the impacts of climate changes and that our natural waterways and environment are protected.”

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Murray Rankin, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, also welcomed the news for his home community.

“For years, people in Oak Bay have told me how important it is for our sewage infrastructure to be improved,” Rankin said in a news release. “This investment is a great example of how all levels of government can work together to make our water treatment systems better for our community and the environment we live in.”

This project will improve both stormwater and wastewater management by separating the existing sewer system and rainwater systems. Building new storm sewers and outfalls will allow the current system to be used exclusively as a wastewater sewer.

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