Work is underway on the new Bainbridge water treatment plant as part of the new 4-3-2-1-0 water objective, which outlines new and higher standards for Canadian drinking water.
While city engineer Guy Cicon told city council during the Oct. 27 meeting that “the city has provided a very high quality of water,” new regulations require filtration, chlorination and UV treatment, the former of which the city has a deferral for.
The new treatment plant will replace the city’s current one at the same location and will treat all of the water that comes in from both of the city’s water sources; China Creek and Bainbridge Lake.
The plant will be built by Windley Contracting, who won the tender earlier this year, at a cost of $4 million.
Raw, untreated water will come in from the two water intakes and undergo UV treatment, which “basically boils the water,” said city utilities superintendent Brian Mousley.
Then, the water will be chlorinated.
“We’re going away from the chlorine gas and going to hypochlorite,” said Mousley.
The city was able to obtain a deferral for filtration because they have the ability to switch water sources should their primary China Creek water intake become too turbid.
“We’re fortunate that when we have heavy rains we can switch over to Bainbridge Lake, which keeps our turbidity numbers down,” said Mousley.
Bainbridge Lake “holds the rain events much better than the open creeks, where anytime it rains it gets turbid quickly.”
Despite China Creek being more prone to turbidity, the city uses it as their primary water source because its water intake is gravity powered, “while the lake has to use pumps, which is energy and money.
“China Creek also has less organics. Bainbridge Lake, when we’re on it, you have to use more chlorine because the organics eat the chlorine,” Mousley added.
From the treatment plant, the water is sent to the city’s five reservoirs, which have a total capacity of 34,586 cubic metres, and are used to supply water to both Port Alberni and Beaver Creek.
The Bainbridge water treatment plant is due to be completed by the end of February.