Sicamous residents and businesses will likely be waiting until 2015 before they have a clean, reliable source of municipal water.
At the Oct. 9 district committee of the whole meeting, council heard from Timothy Phelan, senior project manager with Opus DaytonKnight Consultants Ltd., regarding the recently completed Mara Lake water treatment plant feasibility study.
Following Phelan’s report, Coun. Fred Busch asked the question he is frequently asked by residents: when will the new $4.5 million water treatment facility be up and running.
“I guess my question that really concerns me is, are we on schedule, not that there ever really was a schedule, but are we on some sort of schedule that we’re going to be able to delivers this plant in the middle of the summer 2014 – at the latest fall 2014?” asked Busch.
District operations manager Randy Hand explained there have been several delays getting started, and that the district is doing its best to get on track.
“And we’re approaching it at this time with just baby steps,” said Hand. “We’ve also had some funding limitations, in large around the parameters for funding… we’re just getting that information now.
“This feasibility study was the next step we wanted to take in order to get some of the costs on some of these items.”
Hand said he wouldn’t expect the plant to be up and running until 2015, adding staff do not want it starting up during peak season (summer), so as to allow time to work out issues around training, staffing, etc.
“I guess if that’s the way it has to be, but that’s not what we were told initially, that it would be (ready in) 2014,” replied Busch.
According to as summary of findings and conclusions from the study, the membrane filtration system that’s being tested by the district will meet Interior Health Authority treatment requirements. Based on 2.7 per cent population growth – the highest rate projected in the district’s official community plan – for a 20-year period, the plant would be designed to provide eight megalitres a day, yet be expandable to 10.
The report touches on treatment of waste from the filtration process. It recommends against discharge into Mara Lake. It does note, however, that the facility site would have space for a solids storage pond.
“(We) looked at that and there is enough space to have some sort of evaporation concentration of solids so that a majority of the solids can be kept on site without going to the collection system,” said Phelan.
Busch asked if this would create an odour problem, but Phelan said he didn’t expect there would be any.
The report also provides four options based on total estimated construction costs, including a 15 per cent contingency.
The least optimized option is expected to cost $4,737,000, the highest, $6,065,000.
Council was to have a separate, in-camera meeting to discuss the options.
The federal and provincial government’s have committed to funding one-third each of the original estimated cost of $4.5 million, the district is responsible for the remainder.