A $9-million emergency water intake on the North Thompson River is being planned for possible construction in 2015.
City assistant engineering manager Jake Devlin said Wednesday the project is in the capital plan, but there are approvals needed from environment and fisheries officials that will take time.
The emergency intake was identified years ago when a committee was looking into the water treatment plant options.
The City’s main source is the South Thompson River. However, train tracks and the Trans-Canada Highway follow alongside the river, creating the potential for a major environmental spill that could contaminate that source.
A scenario similar to that occurred in Chetwynd a few years ago when an oil pipe ruptured and contaminated the community’s river water supply, he noted.
Devlin said well drilling on McArthur Island was explored as a potential source, but the water there proved to have too many minerals to be potable.
That has left the North Thompson River as the most logical source for a backup water supply.
“We did an extensive study in 2009 looking at the North Thompson and possible sites, comparing them for variables. It was decided that was the appropriate avenue,” he said.
The City bought property on Yates Road north of Halston Avenue for the intake site.
While water in the North Thompson has a higher level of turbidity (particulate in the water) than the South Thompson, the intake would only be used in emergency situations and residents would be advised to boil the water before consuming it.
Devlin said the detailed drawing is expected to be done in 2014. At that point, a more accurate cost will be determined and the project can go out to tender.
The rough estimate of $9 million includes $900,000 from development cost charges. The rest of the project costs would be funded from borrowing, to be paid through water utility rates.
However, Devlin added, the City will be keeping an eye out for any grant programs that might fit.