Deal turns taps on water system

The city and BC Hydro have officially agreed to terms for funding, timing and construction of a new city water supply

Construction on a new city drinking water system is expected to get underway in November.

The city and BC Hydro have officially agreed to terms for funding, timing and construction of a new city water supply in John Hart reservoir.

Coun. Andy Adams, who has represented council on the BC Hydro liaison committee for five years, said the deal was a long time coming.

“The city and BC Hydro have been working together since 2010 to plan for construction timing and funding for a new community water supply that will be in place before the John Hart Generating Station replacement project disconnects the city’s existing water supply in 2017,” Adams said in a news release.

As part of Hydro’s generating station reconstruction project, the three penstocks that currently deliver the city’s drinking water from John Hart Lake will be removed and replaced with a single underground tunnel.

The city, meanwhile, has been working to come up with a new drinking water intake system to take the place of the penstocks.

The new system will involve a new intake and pump chamber at the John Hart Lake that 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 will be done in two phases, with delivery and installation of the new transmission pipe being done first, followed by the intake, pump chamber and connection to the Water Quality Centre as the second phase.

At its July 22 meeting, council voted to award delivery of the steel transmission pipe to Northwest Pipe Company for $908,544, which is just under the city’s estimated value of $1.008 million for the work.

Council has budgeted $16.7 million for the entire water intake project, with the cost spread out over three years. BC Hydro has committed to pay 75 per cent of the costs, up to a maximum of $12.5 million, with the city making up the remainder through its water utility fund.

Adams said council will still try to secure grant funding to help with the city’s portion.

“As stated throughout the process, the city will continue to seek funding opportunities from senior levels of government for this project,” Adams said. “We appreciate the contribution from BC Hydro and will explore every opportunity to minimize the capital cost to city taxpayers.

“The good news is that Campbell River will be getting a brand new, state-of-the-art water supply system for a maximum of 25 cents on the dollar that will last for another 50 years.”

Ron Neufeld, the city’s general manager of operations, said the intent is to begin construction this year, with subsequent pieces completed in 2015 and 2016.

“The pipe material is expected to be on site in November and then we can proceed with the tender of the installation of the pipe,” Neufeld said.