City council opts for Greensand Filtration water treatment plant

Williams Lake city council has opted to apply for grant funding to build a Greensand Filtration water treatment plant which will cost almost $20 million.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting council unanimously endorsed submitting an application to the Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) for the project which would cost an estimated $18,246,075.

If it successful, the City’s share of the project would be $4,865,403.

In April 2019 the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines (CDWG) changed Manganese (Mn) from an Aesthetic Objective toa Maximum Allowable Concentration of 0.12 mg/l.

The City’s raw water is between 0.12 and 0.25 mg/l.

Read more: Williams Lake’s drinking water manganese slightly above new Health Canada guidelines

Knowing this was coming, city staff began planning several years ago with the goal to be well-placed in seeking grant funding for a Water Treatment Plant.

“This is a significant project for our community and one we knew that was coming,” Coun. Scott Nelson said. “Congratulations to our staff for getting us to this point to be able to make a decision to put in a key application. This is a $20 million project when the smoke settles to ensure we’ve got safe potable water for our community in the long-term.”

There are different ways to fund the City’s portion of the project such as cash up front or long-term borrowing, Nelson added.

“We had the foresight several years ago to look at some of the water accounts that we had maturing, keep them at the same tax rate. We have $400,000 a year that can be used to pay our portion of the treatment plant.”

Coun. Ivan Bonnell said it is important the City get its application in as this is the second intake of the ICIP funding.

“If we are approved — it could take up to 18 months — we will have time between now and then to have community consultation about the scope of the work and what it is going to look like and how we intend to fund it.”

Mayor Walt Cobb said he agreed with submitting the application.

“At the end of the day it will give us cleaner water,” Cobb said of the Greensand option. “I’m in agreement with this option only because there is an opportunity for us to change at the end of the day what it might look like.”

When Dan Colgate of True Consulting presented a water treatment feasibility study to the committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21 he said the communities of Cache Creek and Lumby have Greensand Filtration systems.

Since April 2019 the City has been under a water quality advisory.

A water treatment strategy was also prepared for the City in 2019.

Read more: Water treatment strategy prepared for Williams Lake

The City is still waiting to hear back on a grant application it submitted previously to develop a smart universal water metering project.

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