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MEDIA RELEASE - Village of Pemberton Council Approves the Implementation of Water Conditioning

Posted on May 05, 2016

May 6, 2016

Staff to Prepare Request for Proposals for a Soda Ash Conditioning System

PEMBERTON, BC -Through a Council resolution, Village staff have been directed to issue a Request for Proposals for the installation of a Soda Ash conditioning system to treat the low pH and alkalinity of Village drinking water.  The resolution was brought forward from a Committee of the Whole meeting that took place on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

At the Committee of the Whole meeting, Staff presented three water conditioning options for consideration; proceed with a soda ash-only solution; proceed with soda ash and a corrosion inhibitor; or abandon the water conditioning project and continue with the flushing advisory.

The implementation of the soda ash system is estimated to cost roughly $560,000.  Council has committed of $425,000 towards the project, which has been allocated from Water Reserves and Community Works Gas Tax Funds, a yearly grant delivered to all local governments in British Columbia to support local priorities. The installation of the system is not anticipated to result in an increase in Utility rates at this time.

The annual cost to operate the conditioning system is estimated at $45,000 per year. This cost will be included in future water service budgets; in 2016 a prorated amount of $25,000 has been allocated as approved in the 2016 - 2020 Five-Year Financial Plan.

"This is a top priority for Council and we want to get this project moving.  We are confident in our engineer's recommendations that the soda ash will safely assist with stabilizing the water, bringing the pH and alkalinity in line with the new Aesthetic Objectives of the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines," says Mayor Mike Richman.  "Once the system is in place, we will continue to monitor the water closely to ensure the system is meeting our objectives.  If after a reasonable amount of time we decide that further conditioning is required, we will consider the add-on of a corrosion inhibitor.  However, further investigation into the effects of this treatment will need to be done first."

Staff will begin drafting the Request for Proposals immediately, with the intent of issuing the document by the end of the month.  The project scope will include an addition onto the well house in Pioneer Park and a soda ash injection system.    The goal is to have the system functioning by September, 2016.

In the meantime, both Vancouver Coastal Health and the Village of Pemberton advise that the community should continue to flush their water before consumption.

In March, the Village sampled water from 20 locations within the Village of Pemberton and Pemberton North Water System (PNWS).  The results of this initial sampling, which occurred without the benefit of tap flushing, revealed that the low pH of Pemberton's water is interacting with the plumbing fittings and fixtures of some houses to produce elevated levels of lead in drinking water. For some in the sample, lead concentrations were as high as 6 times the Maximum Acceptable Concentration (MAC) prescribed in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

Since then, the Village has been diligently working with engineers to determine which water conditioning system would be most appropriate to treat the Village's water by increasing the pH and alkalinity.

Although the Village's water is considered 'corrosive 'due to environmental influences , the water supply is tested regularly and meets all provincial and federal health objectives.


About the Village of Pemberton www.pemberton.ca

Pemberton is one of the most desirable communities in BC and home to family farms, fresh outdoor adventures and stunning vistas. With over 2400 residents and just 30 km from Whistler, Pemberton prides itself on its creative and collaborative approach with the business community, local volunteer groups, neighbouring communities and key business and tourism partners such as Tourism Pemberton and the Pemberton & District Chamber of Commerce. Pemberton's mild winters, warm summers and unique pioneer heritage provide an ideal place to enjoy arts, culture, history, recreation, dining, shopping and comfortable lodging.


Media inquiries to be directed to:

Jill Brooksbank
Communications & Grants Coordinator
|Village of Pemberton
Phone: 604 894 6135 X230
Email: jbrooksbank@pemberton.ca

Connect with the Village of Pemberton at: www.pemberton.ca/welcome

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