Valemount Fire Chief Rick Lalonde said sewage from the fire hall gets stuck on the lip of where the two pipes meet and the fire hall must flush the line with a tap. / SPENCER HALL

By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

Valemount Volunteer Fire Chief Rick Lalonde says he hopes the Village will prioritize repairing the sewer line outside the fire hall, which he said is too shallow and joined improperly, requiring the fire department to run a tap all winter to avoid the line from freezing.

Lalonde estimates this practice wastes about 6,800 gallons of water each year.

He said when the sewer line was installed, the PVC pipes weren’t joined properly with the rest of the sewage infrastructure. As a result, sewage often gets caught on the lip of where the two pipes meet and the fire hall must flush the line with a tap – sometimes they even have to move the sewage along with a pike pole.

Lalonde said the fire department has been dealing with this issue since 1984 when the line was installed.

“I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus, but I’d like this dealt with in a timely fashion,” Lalonde told The Goat.

Valemount CAO Eric Depenau said to Village staff’s understanding, underground utilities at the fire hall are “appropriate and meet the relevant specifications.”

“However, the Village of Valemount Public Works Department has requested that the Fire Hall run a small volume of water through the plumbing system in the winter months as the building is on a service line largely on its own and therefore it gets very little usage making it more susceptible to the cold,” Depenau said, adding this flow helps prevent the line from freezing.

Mayor Torgerson said to his knowledge, repairing the line isn’t currently on the Village’s radar, but it’s something the Village can work to identify replacement ideas through the Regional District.

“The fire department is a regional service. Valemount is one of 13 fire departments under that program. I love working with our regional partners on projects like this,” Torgerson said.