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Fort Amherst sewage enters ocean while City of St. John's, port authority negotiations stagnate

St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen said despite funds and a plan in place to divert sewage from Fort Amherst to a treatment plant, the project is stalled because the city and the St. John’s Port Authority, an autonomous federal agency, can’t reach an agreement.
St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen said despite funds and a plan in place to divert sewage from Fort Amherst to a treatment plant, the project is stalled because the city and the St. John’s Port Authority, an autonomous federal agency, can’t reach an agreement. - Juanita Mercer
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

It stinks. 

So much so that Coun. Wally Collins brought it up during the go-around at council last week, saying something’s got to be done about it.

Sewage from homes in Fort Amherst is going into the ocean. 

Mayor Danny Breen called it “a problem” in a scrum with reporters after the regular Monday council meeting this week.

A project to bring the sewage from Fort Amherst to the Riverhead Wastewater Treatment Plant received federal, provincial and municipal funding in 2016. 

“We have all the design done, we have all the preparation work done, but unfortunately we can’t reach an agreement with the (St. John’s) Port Authority on the land there,” said Breen. 

“So, we don’t have, or we can’t reach, an agreement on taking over the land that we need to do the work on, so that’s where we’re stalled.”



He said the sewage outfall needs to be closed and a pump station put in, but they’re at loggerheads right now.

“That’s the last piece of the whole primary wastewater process, and so that needs to come back up the Southside Road to Riverhead, but we’re in negotiations over the access to the land that we need to do that to meet the regulations, but we can’t get the land to do the project on even though we have the funding and the plan is designed to do it.”

Breen said it’s about assuming responsibility for some of the current environmental issues with the land. 

“It’s a legal issue that we’re trying to work out, but we haven’t yet been able to work it out.”

The total cost of the Fort Amherst sanitary sewer outfall diversion project is more than $3 million, $952,177 of which comes from the city’s coffers, according to city documents detailing cost-shared capital projects in 2018. The project is meant to divert wastewater from the area to the Riverhead Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Twitter: @juanitamercer_

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