The fierce storm we had last October 31st, and the electricity outages it caused, led to huge spills of wastewater into Brome Lake.

“During heavy rainstorms it is not unusual for one or two pumping stations (TBL has 12 pumping stations) to cause overflows into the lake,” explained Marc-André Boivin, the municipal engineer in charge of projects in TBL’s Public Works department.

“During last October’s major storm, eight of the twelve stations could not handle the load, causing major wastewater spills into our lake. More and more the town is finding that peak flood levels overwhelm the capacity of its pumping system which dates back to the 1970s. Moreover, ongoing urban development increases the volume of water handled by the system, adding to the burden. It’s a huge concern. Especially in the context of climate change, when sudden enormous rainstorms are more frequent,” he stressed.

Pumping stations will have an enhanced role in the action plan budgeted by Public Works, to take into account the new norm of peak floods. It’s inevitable, existing equipment must be partially upgraded, including the generators: “Currently, when a power outage occurs, we rely on portable generators in our smaller pumping stations. This no longer works. This year we will install three new permanent generators”, he stated.

“To be clear, we have come to a crossroads. We must act, on several levels at the same time”, concluded engineer Boivin.

Translation: Tam Davis