City trying to save time in getting new drinking water system up and running

Council has given city staff the go ahead to negotiate the second phase of a new drinking water system

Council has given city staff the go ahead to negotiate the second phase of a new drinking water system with the contractors that are already working on the first phase.

The city has to have the new system in place by the end of 2017 as BC Hydro will be cutting off the city’s water supply in January of 2018.

Hydro is removing the three penstocks that currently deliver the city’s drinking water from John Hart Lake as part of its John Hart Generating Station replacement project.

At Monday night’s council meeting, council agreed to allow staff to negotiate and execute contract extensions with Northwest Pipe Company and Upland Excavating.

Northwest supplied a steel water pipe for phase one of the drinking water project while Upland is performing the construction work which is ongoing along Highway 28.

Council, at its Committee of the Whole meting on April 22, endorsed using a pump station concept for phase two of the drinking water project which involves installation of a new watermain of the same type and construction methodology as that already being installed in phase one.

Jason Hartley, the city’s capital works manager, said that extending and continuing on with both contractors’ contracts will allow the city to save time and on mobilization costs since the crews are already in place.

He added that the unit price currently in effect and in the existing contracts will form the basis of negotiation.

“The Municipal Water Supply Infrastructure Construction and Funding Agreement with BC Hydro requires that all of the work associated with the city’s new water supply project be complete and fully operational by the end of 2017,” Hartley wrote in a report to council.

“As such, the project team is continually evaluating project progress and identifying any areas of potential opportunity both in terms of cost and time savings.”

Work on phase one is anticipated to be complete by this August while the balance of phase two, which involves a new intake and pump chamber, is slated to get underway in the spring of 2016.

The city’s new drinking water system will have a new intake and pump chamber at John Hart Lake which will connect to a new large diameter transmission pipe connecting the city’s Elk Falls Water Quality Centre to the water system source.

The project, which is targeted for completion in the fall of 2017, is valued at $16.6 million, with BC Hydro picking up 75 per cent of the cost, up to a maximum of $12.5 million.

The city will be on the hook for the remaining 25 per cent, which is expected to be around $4.15 million which will be made up through a combination of water capital and debt from borrowing.