Residents may have notice the work being done at the District of 100 Mile House water treatment plant recently.
District operations director Garry Laursen says two projects were underway at the plant last month.
The first was a $60,000 sodium hypochlorite conversion, which has been completed, and the second is the $180,000 filtration sand replacement that should be completed this week.
Laursen explains the chlorine gas treatment process has been replaced by a sodium hypochlorite system because it’s safer and more cost effective.
Noting the continued use of chlorine gas required the formation of a local hazmat response team with a minimum of five people, he says that because it’s a volunteer fire department, 10 firefighters would have had to be trained and they would have to routinely upgrade the training and equipment.
“Basically, chlorine gas is too dangerous, so we’re making it safe for everyone and it’s pretty much the same water treatment.”
Laursen says the second project involved the replacement of the plant’s filtration sand, with a much better product.
“With upgraded water standards both from Interior Health and the national foundation, we needed a little better quality sand and our installation was more costly due to the confined working space [because they now have to place the sand in through the top of the cells due to WorkSafeBC rules].”
He adds the district saved a lot of money because it was able to get the better quality filtration sand, which met specifications, through United Concrete rather than shipping it in from Alberta.
“In the end, we’ll have a better filtering system and more flow.”
Laursen explains the sand has to be replaced every six or seven years, as the top layer has to be taken out on a regular basis because it becomes saturated with particles. How often it is scraped off depends on the turbidity of the water in Bridge Creek that supplies the water for the district. Cleanouts are determined by the lack of flow in the dispersal system.
“We do routine cell cleaning when the top part slowly plugs up. We drain the cell and go in and take it out by hand in wheelbarrows. It takes up to a day to clean it out.”
Folks may have noticed their water hasn’t been as clean and clear as usual since the beginning of June. It’s because well #4, just north of the Red Coach on the other side of Little Bridge Creek, has been providing water while each of the cells at the water treatment plant have been shut down for filtration sand replacement.
Noting this is the district’s lone well and it only kicks on when the water flow gets down to a certain point, Laursen says the water is treated with sodium hypochlorite, but doesn’t go though filtration sand.
It only kicks in when there is maintenance being done at the water treatment plant or there is high water demand, he adds.
“It can be a little yellow at times; it’s got a high mineral content [iron and manganese]. It’s at acceptable levels, but the esthetic level is not there and taste can be off.”
The district is looking at monitoring water quality, but it would be dependent on the availability of grants.