Water treatment plant location decision needed

Purchase prime commercial land, or knock down The Lodge?

  • Apr. 2, 2014 5:00 a.m.

100 Mile House mayor and councillors learned about the sustainable clean water sources and treatment options for the District on March 25, and now they have to make some important decisions, which will impact residents for decades.

After leading the presentation on the background, current water sources, water demand, quality/quantity concerns and water source options in the Efficient Use of Clean Water Project, District operations director Phil Strain and TRUE Consultants spokesperson Dave Underwood zeroed in on the District’s two most cost-effective choices – Well #4 standalone and Well #4/Bridge Creek blend.

Underwood noted his company’s first recommendation was to put together a technical advisory committee (TAC) to sort through the data and make recommendations for council’s consideration.

The committee included representation from the Cariboo Regional District, Interior Health, the Canim Lake Band, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Bridge Creek Estates, the District, Western Water Associates and TRUE Consulting.

After receiving the background and test results on the water source and treatment options, the TAC recommended a groundwater-only project with biological treatment.

• Tests completed by Western Water concluded there would be a reduced requirement for treatment because Well #4 was not classified as a surface water source and, therefore, not as susceptible to pollution and contaminants as a surface water source – Bridge Creek.

Furthermore, the aquifer capacity would sustain additional water supply wells and projected water demand – however, rehabilitation of Well #4 would be required. If council chooses to go with this option, it was highly recommended the District drill a backup well.

• TRUE tests concluded the well water isn’t reactive with chlorine and doesn’t form disinfection by-products within the water distribution system.

The company also did a pilot study of a biological manganese removal system successful in reducing manganese concentrations to below aesthetic water quality guidelines. The naturally-occurring bacteria consume the manganese organism, which means the system can be discharged (backwashed) into Little Bridge Creek without treatment and without environmental concerns.

Water treatment

If the Well #4 standalone option is chosen, a new water treatment plant (WTP) would have to be constructed because the Bridge Creek WTP would be mothballed (without ongoing operation/maintenance costs) and only used if there was an emergency.

There are two options for the location of the WTP and both are close to Well #4. The well sits on District right-of-way over the well site on Bridge Creek Estates.

“But if we go to groundwater source only and we put another well in and a water treatment plant, we’ll need a much bigger footprint [about one-third of an acre],” Strain said, adding that portion of the ranch is going to be commercial property, “so it’s valuable land to the ranch.”

He noted the ranch owners are “not particularly warm over the size of the footprint,” so the District started looking at alternate sites and one of them that’s close by is The Lodge property.

Otherwise, the District would have to try to negotiate a land purchase agreement with Bridge Creek Estates.

Noting it could cost between $400,000 and $500,000 to upgrade The Lodge to the point where it could be used again whether was for office space or public assembly, he said council will have to consider whether it wants to reactivate The Lodge for public usage.

Putting the water treatment plant on that site would require The Lodge to be knocked down, but not the Valley Room and the commercial kitchen, he added.

There would be sewer and water hook-ups right at the site, so it would also be cost effective.

“Obviously, it gives council something to think about.”

Well #4/Bridge Creek blend

The big concern with this option is it would require a new water main from the well to the Bridge Creek WTP – estimated to costs around $2.4 million to complete.

Then upgrades to the existing water treatment plant would be needed to provide TOC and turbidity reduction.

Cost estimates

The costs would estimated at: capital cost, $3,630,000; operation and maintenance cost, $36,000 – not including transmission or distribution costs; and lifecycle cost (25 years), $4,250,000.

Next steps

Mayor and council need to determine whether they want to go with the technical advisory committee’s recommendations for water source and treatment.

A decision has to be made on the location of the water treatment plant.

TRUE and Western Water have to complete the Plan for Efficient Use of Clean Water project reporting.

The water conservation plan has to be reviewed and recommendations made to implement the plan have to be brought forward.

Then the search for infrastructure grants begins.