Building a water treatment plant to reduce manganese in Williams Lake’s drinking water will be costly.
In April 2019, Health Canada set a maximum acceptable concentration of manganese in drinking water at 0.12 milligrams per litre.
As Williams Lake’s levels range from 0.12 mg/L to 0.25 mg/L the City responded immediately by issuing a water quality advisory which remains in place.
The City also hired True Consulting to prepare a feasibility study which city council received in draft form at Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting.
True Consulting’s Dan Colgate told council a plant would cost at least $14,987,000, plus another $1.5 million to add a water softener.
If the City receives a federal infrastructure grant its share would be at least $3,997,220.
The report included three options and associated costs.
A biological manganese reduction system would cost $14,987,000, pressure media filtration or Greensand has a price tag of$16,746,075, while coagulation and membrane filtration is the most expensive option at $26,263,913.
“This could potentially be the biggest project that the City’s involved with ,” Colgate said.
In 100 Mile House and 108 Mile House they are using biological manganese reduction, in Clinton a coagulation and membrane filtration and Cache Creek has the Greensand system.
City staff will be preparing a grant application to the federal government for submission by the Feb. 26 deadline and prepare a report to council for its Tuesday, Jan. 28 regular council meeting.
Gary Muraca, director of municipal services and public works, said cities in Canada were put on notice about eight years ago that manganese levels in water would have to be addressed.
When asked about the likelihood of Health Canada coming out with future changes to the guidelines, cities again would get advance notice, he added.
On its website, Health Canada notes humans need to consume small amounts of manganese to be healthy but too much in drinking water can lead to some adverse health effects and drinking water that contains high levels of manganese, even for a short time, can be a health risk to infants.