Queen Charlotte’s longstanding problems over the water supply will be addressed a new, with a $3.2-million surface water project now moving ahead.
Village council voted on Monday (January 16) to have engineering firm Dayton and Knight proceed with pre-design work on the Stanley Lake project, west of the village. This is the first step toward the environmental assessment, which must take place before construction can begin, said Mayor Carol Kulesha.
The project will include construction of an earthen berm and concrete structure at the outlet of Stanley Lake, which drains into the Honna River, another water intake along the lower reaches of the river, and expansion of the existing treatment centre to take in surface water.
Two-thirds of the money will be provided by the Ministry of Community Services through the BC Water Improvement program. Water users in Queen Charlotte will ante up the remaining $1 million.
The project will not replace Queen Charlotte’s present system, but rather augment it, said Mayor Carol Kulesha. Water from Stanley Lake will provide a back-up to the existing system in low-water periods.
Right now, Queen Charlotte draws water from two wells near Tarundl Creek on the Honna Mainline.
According to a report prepared by the village’s engineering firm, Dayton and Knight, the present wells are working at or above capacity.
“We don’t have enough water for peak times right now,” says Mayor Kulesha.
The wells are now pumping 90,000 to 100,000 gallons per day when they should be working in the 80,000 range.
Mayor Kulesha says this is having an impact on the aquifer. Because the wells are so close to the tide line, they are also pulling in salt water.
Mayor Kulesha says water tests show chloride levels have been rising which means salt is in the aquifer.
She said even with the amount of rain we’ve had in past weeks, it still takes time for the freshwater to work its way into the ground water.
“The salt water intrusion is why (the province) gave us a very generous grant,” she said.
The Ministry of Community Services announced $18-million in funding to various water projects, with Queen Charlotte receiving one of the largest.
This new funding is just one more step in a long line of grants and loans used to pay for Queen Charlotte’s water system over the years. It all started in 1980, when residents voted in a referendum to go ahead with the sewer and water system. Since then, providing adequate water for the village has always been a problem.
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