City council is buying special equipment for a water treatment upgrade even though the project hasn’t been approved in the 2014 budget process yet.
Council voted Jan. 13 to go ahead with the purchase anyway.
The $340,000 contract was awarded to Xylem Water Solutions Canada, whose bid was the lowest among four bids submitted. The price tag is to be underwritten by the water reserve fund.
Xylem also submitted a tender that was the next highest bid; one proposed high-pressure equipment and the other low-pressure equipment.
The project is part of the $4 million water treatment upgrades required by Vancouver Island Health Authority 4-3-2-1 policy, city engineer Guy Cicon said.
The reason Cicon needed approval for the equipment purchase now instead of after the budget is finalized in May has to do with timing, he explained. The equipment is specialized and requires seven months to assemble and deliver, Cicon said. The city hopes to tender the water treatment project in the spring and build the pump station later this year.
The city has no choice but to go ahead with the provincially mandated upgrades, he later said.
The equipment is a special UV light to be used to disinfect water. The method will be combined with a chlorine disinfecting measure already in place.
The project is to be underwritten with reserve and loan funds and is penciled into the 2014 budget, which is currently under discussion. Final vote of the budget is in April.
Phase one of the project will see the equip-ment installed in a pump house slated to be built at the city’s Bainbridge Lake reservoir.
A second project phase will see the city tap into water at Sproat Lake. Another barrier above chlorine and UV is required if water is turbid. But if the city can prove the source water is not turbid then they can obtain a Ministry of Health waiver.
If the city can draw water from Sproat Lake “is this money spent on what we don’t need?,”Coun. Jack McLeman asked.
Cicon replied no, that the project requires two phases.
Coun. Hira Chopra asked about the city’s regional water initiative with the ACRD and how this equipment purchase impacts it. Would the ACRD be benefiting at the city’s expense?
Cicon replied that the ACRD will shortly be drawing water from the city-owned Strick Road facility and that when they do they’ll be paying a premium bulk supply rate.