The city is encouraging property owners to find their Pressure Reducing Valves (they look like this and are generally located where the water enters the building) before the water system changes early next year, because there could be some pressure changes when it happens.

City of Campbell River wants residents to find their PRV before the water system changeover

‘…we’re not going to be blowing sinks out or anything like that, but there’s a risk.’

The city is about to change where it gets its water from – and how it gets to our taps.

With BC Hydro removing the penstocks that currently deliver they city’s water as part of the John Hart Dam Generating Station upgrades, the city was forced to construct a new intake site on John Hart Lake, along with a new water treatment plant on its shore to process and deliver water to the city.

According to Nathalie Viau, they city’s water supervisor, when that system changeover takes place “in early 2018,” the possibility exists that homeowners will see a change in pressure.

“The goal is to make the switch as seamless as possible so people won’t even know anything has changed,” Viau says. “We’re working really hard to make sure it’s seamless, but the possibility exists that people will see an increase in pressure in some areas. And even if it happens, it won’t happen to everybody. It’ll depend on which pressure zone you’re in.”

The city has various “pressure zones,” which they control using the large Pressure Reducing Valves (PRV) contained in the big green boxes around town – many of which are covered in local art, in case you’re looking for them – and the various pump stations.

But there’s also a PRV controlling the pressure at most homes, Viau says, which works “in concert” with the larger ones that manage pressure to entire neighbourhoods. The PRV in your home is also kind of like the last line of defence should there be pressure fluctuations within the system, Viau says, so the city would like for you to find it – provided your home has one – and know how it operates, before the system change next year.

The few homeowners who don’t have a PRV will need to apply to development services for a plumbing permit to put one in, Viau says, “but we’re not anticipating there will be too many people who will need one, because 90-95 per cent of people already have one.”

PRVs are expected last between five and seven years, Viau says, but that’s based on valves that are outside of homes exposed to the elements. Most are located inside the home near the hot water tank and, as such, last much longer. If you need to replace one that has expired or isn’t functioning properly, there is no need for a permit.

“We want to give people lots of time so that it they need to install one or replace it or whatever, they have time to do that before the switch,” Viau says. “If they’re really stuck, they can phone Waterwise (250-203-2316), and they’ll be happy to help.”

VIDEO: Watch Mirror reporter Mike Davies get some help finding his PRV from city staff:

So what’s the worst that could happen if you don’t find your PRV and figure out how it works before the changeover to the new system?

“Well, if you weren’t protected and you were at 50 PSI before the changeover and you’re bumped up to something like 70 PSI, you’re going to notice that, for sure,” says thge city’s Water Service Foreman Casey Clarkson. “And if it’s an older house with plumbing fixtures that are use to that level of pressure all the time … I mean, we’re not going to be blowing sinks out or anything like that, but there’s a risk.”

Adding to the complication, Clarkson says, is that all PRVs are constructed differently, so you may not even know if turning it clockwise or counterclockwise is increasing or decreasing the pressure.

“We suggest people look up their PRV online and see how it operates,” Viau says.

“But the easiest way,” Clarkson says, “is to have two people and have one of you go to the highest tap in the house and barely turn it on – maybe a quarter turn – while the other person adjusts the PRV.”

But whether by searching online, calling Waterwise or using two people to test it yourself, what’s important is that property owners take care of this before the system changeover, which the city expects to happen around the end of January.

There’s also a Frequently Asked Questions page on the city website that will help, as well.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Museum at Campbell River and Greenways Land Trust are hosting a virtual talk by UVIC PhD candidate Garth Covernton on Nov. 5. Tickets are only $7 and are available at crmusum.ca. Photo courtesy Garth Covernton
New Museum at Campbell River speaker series leads off with talk on microplastics

Tickets for digital event Nov. 5 are only $7 and include the opportunity to ask questions

North Island Votes. Campbell River Mirror graphic
Babchuk declared winner in North Island

Nearly three-quarters of votes counted and mail-in ballots still to come

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read