March 24, 2017 - Water Conditioning Project Update

March 10, 2016 - Drinking Water Quality

March 11, 2016 - Drinking Water Quality Additional Points

March 11, 2016 - Water Quality Sampling Area

March 14, 2016 - Drink Water Backgrounder

March 15, 2016 - Drinking Water Update

March 17, 2016 - Frequently Asked Questions

March 17, 2016 - Drinking Water Town Hall Meeting Scheduled

March 18, 2016 - Response to Open Letter from Mayor Richman

March 30, 2016 - Drinking Water Test Results

April 6, 2016 - Memo from VCH's Medical Health Officer to Pemberton Doctors

April 8, 2016 - Letter to Families from School District No. 48

April 16, 2016 - Q & A from Drinking Water Town Hall Meeting & Community Forum

April 21, 2016 - Memo from the Chief Medical Health Officer

May 6, 2016 - Media Release: Village of Pemberton Approves the Implementation of Water Conditioning

July 18, 2016 - Water Treatment Update


The Village of Pemberton operates a wellfield to extract water from an aquifer for potable water supply. The wellfield consists of two primary wells and a backup well used in emergency purposes that supplies a population of approximately 2,339 (BC Stats, 2008). The Village also provides water to the Pemberton North Improvement District supporting a population of approximately 256. The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority issues the Permit to Operate the water system and has required that the Village prepare a groundwater protection plan for their review as a condition of the Permit. The Groundwater Protection Plan report has been prepared in partial fulfillment of this requirement.


The Village of Pemberton has recognized that recent growth of the community, as well as limited water supply capacity, have the potential to impact the community significantly. Since 2004, the Village has been exploring options for reducing water consumption. Aspects that are being considered by the Village include:

  • Business case for a universal metering program.
  • Other options for implementing metering
  • Water rate review

There are four main reasons for metering:


With a metered system, end users become directly accountable for their water use, and are charged based on what they use.

Water Conservaton:

Since most metered customers use less water than unmetered ones, implementing a metering program can sustain the existing source of water supply for longer, and free up existing supplies to support future growth.

Economic Benefits:

Lowering water usage can reduce maximum daily demand rates, with in turn influence the amount of required supply capacity. The extension of supply capacity by reducing demand instead of expanding supply can allow the utility to delay capital expansion, and reduce operating costs associated with extraction, treatment and distribution.

System Management:

Installing meters throughout the system provides a powerful management tool that enhances the utility's ability to detect and target leaks, identify areas in need of repairs, manage flows and pressures more efficiently, and measure areas of real water losses.

Earth Tech (Canada) Inc. (Earth Tech) was commissioned by the Village to undertake a Cost-Benefit Analysis for Water Metering Report for the Village. Initial results indicate that implementation of a universal metering program would cost the Village more than the value of water saved. The Public Works Committee considered the report at their meeting October 23rd and recommended to Council that the Village delays implementation of a universal metering program and implements the following "quick win" strategies in order to provide enhanced system knowledge:

  • Review and refinement of both metered and unmetered rate structures to leverage opportunities for demand side management through financial structures.
  • Consistent enforcement of the bylaw requirement for new construction to include installation of meters.
  • Commitment to regularly read existing meters and bill metered customers appropriately.
  • Consideration of mandatory watering restrictions to better manage peak summer usage in the short term.
  • Implementation of voluntary residential metering program.
  • Implementation of a program to meter all ICI customers, and associated review of ICI sector rates to support a metered system for this sector.
  • Well-structured leak detection and repair program for distribution system.
  • Better tracking of fixed and variable cost elements associated with water production, to better quantify savings associated with metering.

Council passed a resolution with respect to the above and received the Cost-Benefit Analysis for Water Metering Report at their November 6, 2007 Meeting (Council Meeting No. 1191).

An outcome of the Cost-Benefit Analysis for Water Metering report was the recommendation that the Village review its current water rate structure, with a view to determining a rate structure that would better support the transition to metering.

The Preliminary Water Rate Analysis Report is a pre-cursor to a complete and detailed water rate study, and represents a preliminary analysis of water rates in the Village. As a first step, Earth Tech's approach was anchored in the best practices for water rate setting as outlined in the document "Water and Sewer Rates: Full Cost Recovery". At its core, this best practice guide is geared towards ensuring that funding for municipal water infrastructure is based on a full cost recovery approach, in order to provide a funding model that can be sustainable in the long-term. Such a model will adequately provide the necessary annual operating and maintenance resources, as well as ensure that sufficient capital resources are in place at the right time for long-term infrastructure replacement and renewal.


November, 2007: Cost-Benefit Analysis for Water Metering Report (EarthTech)

December, 2007: Preliminary Water Rate Analysis Report (Earth Tech)




To provide back up with an additional well, a water treatment system has been installed at Pioneer Park. This system has been installed in order to satisfy the requirement of Vancouver Coastal Health to improve the safety of the water supply and to address low pH issues observed. The treatment system doses chlorine (dilute 12 to 15% Sodium Hypochlorite) at a controlled rate into the feed line heading up toward the reservoir allowing ample time for disinfection. In addition to using Sodium Hypochlorite as a disinfectant for potable water, it has a basic pH which will off set the low pH nature of the water drawn from the wells in the Village and reduce the associated issues observed in the past.

The Village's new and existing water infrastructure has also been integrated into a central control system, giving the Village up to date information on pump status, the water treatment system, reservoir levels, run times for individual pumps and chlorine levels. Click here for the January 2009 Water Supply Project Update.

For more information on the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, please visit the Health Canada Website.

The total project cost is estimated at $966,750 and any funds that are not provided through grants will be borrowed.

A summary as to the status on the project is as follows:

  • The new well site is beside the Gazebo in the Village's Pioneer Park.
  • This project is to go forward as grant/loan info comes in, and will be completed in 2008.
  • The project involves water conditioning to address the pH issue and treatment options as needed.

At the October 23, 2007 Public Works/Parks Committee meeting, a resolution was passed to recommend to Council to proceed with drilling and testing of a new production well adjacent to TW0703 at a cost not to exceed $72,000. This new production well, designated as Well 3-07, was completed in November and December of 2007.


The current Village of Pemberton water falls within the acceptable levels for PH as established by the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ). As of February 21, 2006, Pemberton water PH was 6.55, with acceptable levels as set by GCDWQ ranging from 6.5-8.5.

This being said, Pemberton water is on the low end of the PH scale and treatment and conditioning will be implemented on both the new well and the existing well concurrently to raise the PH to a more mid-range level. This work is scheduled to be completed in 2008, pending funding confirmation.

Additional info:


The current Village of Pemberton water falls within the acceptable levels for pH as established by the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (GCDWQ). As of July 31, 2014, Pemberton water pH was 7.24 in well #2 and 6.93 in well #3, with acceptable levels as set by GCDWQ ranging from 6.5-8.5.

The following are excerpts from Health Canada Website http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/water-eau/ph/index-eng.php and are meant to provide a very brief overview of PH levels in our drinking water.

There are no specific health effects on which to base limits for the pH of drinking water. The main purpose in controlling pH is to produce water in which corrosion and incrustation are minimized. These processes, which can cause considerable damage to the water supply system, result from complex interactions between pH and other parameters such as dissolved solids, dissolved gases, hardness, alkalinity and temperature.

As a generalization, metal corrosion may become significant below a pH of about 6.5; incrustation and scaling problems are most commonly encountered above about pH 8.5.

The acceptable range for drinking water pH is therefore from 6.5 to 8.5. In general, waters with a pH within this range can be stabilized with respect to corrosion and incrustation by simple pH adjustment. By keeping the pH below 8.5, the rate of chlorine disinfection is increased and the production of trihalomethanes is reduced.


Teachers! Book a tour of the Pemberton Wastewater Treatment Facility, and learn first hand about the water cycle.

The Pemberton Wastewater Treatment Plant is a Class II facility that uses an actual biological process called a Sequential Batch Reactor System. Microorganisms in the tanks decompose nutrients. Clear water is decanted off the top, treated under UV light to deactivate any remaining bugs, and released into the river.

The sludge which is left behind goes into one of two aerobic digestors, aerated for 30-55 days, then is separated into solids and water. The water re-enters the plant into the treatment process. The solids, no longer resembling their original state, are collected by Carney's Waste and composted.


  • State-of-the-art technology.
  • Sequential Batch Reactor (SBR) system.
  • Microbial decomposition of raw materials.
  • Aerobic digesters to further decompose sludge.
  • Ultraviolet disinfection of treated water.
  • Daily lab sampling with process adjustment


The population growth in Pemberton from the mid 1990's onward put a heavy burden on the former sanitary sewer system.  An assessment of that treatment plant confirmed that the plant was operating at its full capacity and had significant issues with respect to process reliability, workplace environment and odor control (Associated Engineering, 2001).

The Village of Pemberton proposed to replace the treatment plant with a new plant at a new location, due to issues with land tenure, space constraints, flood susceptibility, and general public concern.

In March of 2004, the Village of Pemberton entered into a partnership with Maple Reinders Inc. to design and build a Wastewater Treatment Plant for the Village.

The new plant is situated on Village owned land adjacent to the Lillooet River, approximately 2.5 km's downstream from the original plant.

With the completion of the new Class II Wastewater Treatment Facility, the moratorium that had been placed on building permits July 9th 2002, was rescinded effective March 15th 2005.


The Village of Pemberton Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is located at 34-1850 Airport Road, and is open by appointment Monday to Friday.


Martin Kluftinger
Phone: (604) 894-6135
Email: wwtp @ pemberton.ca