Both the 100 Mile House and 108 Mile Ranch water treatment plants have gone into commission.
The plants will remove manganese from the water and come into full effect in the next weeks.
At this point, it’s an aesthetic objective but Interior Health will be lowering the standard and setting a maximum allowable concentration, says Peter Hughes, manager of environmental services for the Cariboo Regional District.
“It stains your fixtures in your house, it stains your laundry, it precipitates out into our distribution system so we have to continually be flushing. It will clog up peoples’ lines into their house. If you have a pressure releasing valve in your house it will clog that up. We get a lot of call on that ‘we don’t have any water.’ Well, go clean your pressure releasing valve.”
That’s not something everyone experiences, says Cariboo Regional District Area G director Al Richmond.
“Some people say I don’t have any problems, other people are plagued with it.”
Last summer’s wildfires set back the completion dates which had originally been scheduled for February.
“I’m happy the project is complete,” says Richmond. “I think people are really looking forward to [not] seeing the manganese. Those in particular that don’t have a water softener. If they have a water softener, it’s taking it out for them right now but it’s really hard on the water softeners.”
The water won’t be any softer but it will remove the manganese, says Richmond, adding that they looked at adding water softening but that it was way too expensive.
The 100 Mile House plant was needed after the drilling of two new wells which meant the system was switching to all groundwater (as opposed to surface water) and extensive consultations with all the stakeholders, says Philip Strain, project management consultant for the 100 Mile House system.
For 100 Mile House, there’s still some work left to do as they’re planning to extend the water out Exeter Road to Sollows Crescent, according to Strain.
100 Mile House residents will notice a difference in hardness, says Strain
“Going from surface water to groundwater, the groundwater is a lot harder than the surface water so there will be more hardness to the water.”
The two systems are expected to serve over 1,700 residences.
How the system works
The raw water comes into the plant and goes into a filter system with sand media.
“It’s a biological process that uses naturally occurring bacteria that have to develop and grow in here. It takes about four, six to eight weeks to do that,” says Hughes.
The bacteria cause the manganese to evaporate out which ultimately goes into a septic tank, he adds.
Once the water is treated it goes into a clear well. It’s then pumped to a reservoir as needed.
The whole system is controlled by a digital panel. The panel also indicates things like water levels and usage, says Hughes. Soon they’ll be able to access that remotely on their phones. By having access that data remotely, it’ll make it easier to catch sprinkling violations.
the number of lots Richmond estimates are currently hooked up in the 108 Mile Ranch. The system will serve up to 1,499 lots plus the resort, he says.
The number of residential lots hooked up in 100 Mile House, according to Strain.
The number of commercial and industrial lots hooked up in 100 Mile House, according to Strain.