Queen Charlotte seeks water solution

  • Mar. 26, 2003 8:00 a.m.

The Queen Charlotte management committee has agreed to apply for government grants to study two ways to expand and improve the town’s water supply.
“It’s clear we have not enough wells, and no likelihood of finding more,” said regional district director Carol Kulesha at last Wednesday’s meeting after hearing a report from maintenance supervisor Victor La Boucane.
In July 2002, contractors drilled five test wells to search for a new ground water source, but all five produced little or no water. The supervising engineers said Queen Charlotte likely has no new groundwater sources worth developing.
At last week’s meeting, the committee decided to apply for a grant from the province to create a plan for a surface water system using Stanley Lake and the Honna River. A reservoir would be created at Stanley Lake to store water during the winter and spring. The water would then be released into the Honna during the summer/fall season when river flows are low. Member Eric Ross suggested also exploring some springs at the east end of Queen Charlotte as a water source.
Mr. La Boucane also reported Queen Charlotte’s water filtration system needs attention. Presently the town’s water is filtered in a way that causes iron and manganese build up over time, which puts stress on the filter and increases its maintenance costs. The committee decided to apply for a second planning grant to decide how to create a more effective filtration system.
Queen Charlotte’s wells supply just enough water for the town’s needs, and the system can quickly become stressed. During a cold snap March 7-9, water leaking from burst pipes in three vacant homes almost doubled the amount of water pumped that weekend, Mr. La Boucane said. Maintenance workers realized the problem when they arrived at work Monday. By then the reservoir was very low, and the management committee had to post notices asking people to ration their water use.
Mr. La Boucane told the committee well #11 at Tarundl creek will have to be shut down because of salt water leaking into the aquifer, and well #1 used as a permanent replacement. The management committee reduced water production from well #11 last year when salt water started leaking into the aquifer. However, the problem has continued and the well cannot be used.
As well as increasing water supply, the management committee wants to promote water conservation by installing water meters throughout Queen Charlotte. Funds to pay for this may come from a federal and provincial infrastructure grant program, but the committee is still waiting to hear if the grant has been approved.