This week, Public Works Superintendent Charlie Henderson was presenting his 2020 capital budget for deliberations.
The biggest ticket item on the list was an upgrade to the Kengard Well, budgeted at $4.5 million. If the project gets approved by Council, the City will be looking into grant opportunities to help offset the price.
The reasoning behind the project is two-fold, first to satisfy an Interior Health regulation and second to improve pumping capacity during future Coldwater droughts.
“Interior Health has changed manganese from an aesthetic objective to a MAC (maximum acceptable concentrate) of 0.12, we constantly come in at 0.199 and have failed twice,” said Henderson.
The manganese is the mineral that turned some Merrittonians water yellow over the summer when the City switched wells.
A portion of the project would be to install a better filtration system to remove the manganese before it can react with the chlorine, keeping the water clear.
The second half of the project would be to install a bigger pump.
“Our Kengard Well takes its water from the Nicola aquifer. At this point it can only pump 50 litres per second, however, our peak water demands are 195 litres per second. We’re looking to increase that capacity,” said Henderson.
Increasing the capacity would allow the City to better react to drought conditions along the Coldwater.
City Council has not yet voted on this proposal.
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