An accident at the landfill caused power outages last week

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
June 25th, 2013

The City of Grand Forks and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) have been working hard to connect the dots after a power outage shut down parts of Grand Forks, June 19.

The electricity went out in the city’s downtown core, Valley Heights and Riverside Drive, including International Forest Products (Interfor) at about 9 a.m. Some of the power was restored within the hour but it wasn’t until 12:45 that all the lights came back on.

The outage started at the landfill on Granby Road after the driver of a front end loader attempted to cross a public area at the landfill.

“He lifted his bucket up so he could see the members of the public,” said Alan Stanley, RDKB director of Environmental Services. “He could see everything except the power lines.”

The power lines didn’t break when the operator hit them, but they bent the pole until it broke. On-site staff couldn’t determine if the power line was live, so the operator waited in the front end loader until Grand Fork’s line crews arrived.

“If his foot had hit the ground it would have completed the (electrical) circuit,” said Stanley on why it was best for the operator to wait.

The accident started a chain of events in downtown Grand Forks including a downed power line near Yale Bridge on Riverside Drive and a blown transformer.

It took two days for the repairs to be completed at the dump and RDKB staff have been working to make sure an accident like that doesn’t happen again.

“Our concerns were everyone’s safety, getting the power back on and developing some safety procedures,” said Stanley.

New procedures at the RDKB landfills include having a spotter on the ground when front end loaders are crossing public areas. They’ve also replaced the electrical pole with a taller pole so the line sits higher up. 

Categories: General