Retirement was suiting me just fine. We own a nice, older home in Vancouver and we keep it in good condition. In the decade leading up to our retirement we had replaced the roof and windows, re-wired the place, upgraded the plumbing and installed a high-efficiency furnace to help keep our fuel bills down in the winter. Now that we had both retired all we had to do was sit back and enjoy the good life, or so we thought.

Why I’m Writing This Article

I once heard some fellow in a movie say something like: life is like a box of chocolates because you never know what surprises you will find inside. Well, we found a surprise – or, should I say, a surprise found us – that I think a lot of folks need to be aware of. It’s called “sewer separation” and it can be a real costly surprise.

What is Sewer Separation?

Turns out that older municipal sewers were typically comprised of a single line in which waste and rain water traveled together, which is actually a problem. In heavy downpours – of which we get our share in Vancouver – rain water can overwhelm the system and raw sewage can back up into people’s homes. Not a pleasant situation at all. Also, the rain water carries the same sewage into our rivers and lakes, and that’s not good either. Another problem is that the combined rain water and sewage can push up through manhole covers and flood streets and low-lying land.

So, Vancouver (and many other municipalities) is in the process of upgrading their old, combined sewer drains into a two-line system: one for sewage and the other for water run-off. That’s all well and good, but the surprise we got is that we now have to do the same with the drains that connect our home to the city sewer.

Reading that in the notice from the city sent shivers up my spine. I could just see the dollars flying out of our bank account. Well, it was mandatory so we had to get it done. I asked around and was told that K. C.’s Plumbing & Heating, right here in Vancouver, was who I should get in touch with. They are a great Vancouver plumbing company recommended by a lot of people in the area.

All’s Well That Ends Well

So I called and they sent someone over to evaluate our drainage system, including the sump pump, perimeter drain tiles and sewer connection pipes. In the end, upgrading is going to cost us a bundle, but it’s not as bad as we feared. At least the fellow from K. C.’s was able to reassure us that our home’s drainage system was healthy, and the cost of replacing our property’s single sewer connection with two lines, while expensive, is manageable.

Promo Video From KC’s Plumbing and Heating

So we are going ahead with the upgrade and I just thought I should get the word out in case you find yourself in a similar predicament in the near future. It wouldn’t hurt to ask the engineering department at your city hall if your neighborhood has a combined or a separate sewer system. That way, if an upgrade is imminent, you can plan ahead and not be surprised when the inevitable happens.

Here is their contact information in case you want to use them too.

K.C.’s Plumbing & Heating Ltd
Phone: (604) 873-3753
1896 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC V5N 2S7


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