South Hazelton Water System Upgrade Project Completion Update - March 2013
History of the South Hazelton Water System Upgrade Project
At the request of the South Hazelton Waterworks District the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine has worked with the Waterworks District and Regional District consulting engineers Stantec since 2001 on how best to upgrade the community water system. An engineering feasibility study completed in 2002 looked at the various options available to improve the South Hazelton Water System including the viability of connecting to the Village of Hazelton or the District of New Hazelton system. It was determined that the most practical and cost effective solution was to upgrade the existing South Hazelton system keeping Chicago Creek as the water source.
In 2003, in consultation with the public and the support of the South Hazelton Waterworks District, the Regional District applied for a Canada/BC Infrastructure Grant. Waterwork Districts are not eligible to receive these types of infrastructure grants. If a grant was secured the water system assets and responsibilities would need to be turned over to the Regional District.
A Canada/BC Infrastructure Grant was approved in 2003 for $373,000 followed by an additional $343,860 grant in 2004.
The required environmental assessment, additional treatment requirements, escalating construction costs and failed tenders caused a variety of delays. As project scope changes were made and discussed with the waterworks district, additional grant assistance was pursued.
In 2009, a $1,135,000 Build Canada Grant was secured and the Regional District committed up to $400,000 for this project from the Regional Districtâ€™s Community Works Gas Tax Fund allocation.
The South Hazelton Water System Upgrade Project has undergone substantial modifications since the preliminary design concept presented at the 2003 Public Information Meeting. The project now consisted of water intake and infiltration gallery improvements, chlorination and ultra-violet disinfection treatment facilities, including a primary and back-up power supply, a 250m3 steel bolted equalization reservoir near the water intake and a 250m3 fire reservoir and pump located at the Fire Hall. The estimated cost to the service area was projected at $3,200,000 and would be offset by the $2,250,000 in grants. The difference will be covered from the Waterworks Districtâ€™s $430,000 reserve fund with the balance from an annual parcel tax and user fees.
July 2009 Open House
The purpose of the open house was to explain the project proposal, answer questions and confirm community support. The presentation outlined the major works required to improve water quality, reliability and fire protection standards. Residents were encouraged to attend this meeting to learn the associated costs and impact of these changes. Representatives from the Waterworks District, Regional District, Northern Health Authority and Stantec were present.
The presentation also included the plan to dissolve the Waterworks District and turn over all assets and responsibilities to the Regional District to manage on behalf of the community, including water, fire and park services.
Transfer of South Hazelton Assets
With community support and at the request of the Waterworks District, the Waterworks District is being dissolved by Cabinet Order and all assets and responsibilities will be turned over to the Regional District. The Regional District has adopted the required service area establishment bylaw and it is expected that the South Hazelton assets transfer will be completed in January 2011.
South Hazelton Water Related Issues
Current Boil Water Advisory
The South Hazelton water system is out of compliance with the BC Drinking Water Protection Act Regulation and has been on a boil water advisory since 1998 as a result of sporadic water quality and a reoccurring presence of potentially harmful bacteria in the system â€” total and fecal coliforms and in all probability other water borne pathogens. The presence of parasitic organisms such as giardia and cryptosporidium is also a concern. The Waterworks District has been under order since 2003 to comply with Provincial Drinking Water Regulations and to install a suitable disinfection/treatment system.
Enforcement of the outstanding order to install disinfection treatment is pending the outcome of current efforts of the South Hazelton Waterworks District and Regional District to successfully complete these required upgrades.
Under Canadian and BC Drinking Water Regulations there is no viable alternative to chlorine treatment for South Hazleton. Chlorination is a requirement for all surface water sources. Filtration, ozone, or ultra-violet treatment is also required. Chlorination has played a critical role in protecting North Americaâ€™s drinking water supply from waterborne infectious diseases for 100 years. In fact, some 98 percent of systems that treat water employ chlorine-based disinfectants. More than 200 million Americans and Canadians receive chlorine-disinfected drinking water every day. The filtration and disinfection of drinking water has been responsible for a large part of the 50 percent increase in life expectancy in the last century. Prior to chlorination, cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery and hepatitis A were common diseases. Chlorination is considered by many as â€śone of the most significant public health advances of the millennium.â€ť Chlorineâ€™s most important attributes are its broad-spectrum germicidal potency and persistence in water distribution systems, providing residual protection against microbial re-growth. It also is used to control taste and odor problems by oxidizing many naturally occurring substances such as algae secretions, decaying vegetation, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. Regulations require a minimum residual of 0.2 mg/litre of chlorine treatment for water distribution systems. Dosing rates will vary seasonally and will depend on water chemistry, UV transmittance, ph and temperature.
Consumers who remain concerned about chlorinated water can use activated carbon filters to remove chlorine and some of its byproducts. This is a simple solution that will allow the final consumer to limit exposure to chlorine and/or chlorinated byproducts.
The History of Chlorine, by Keith Christman, 1998
Chlorine and Health, Milly Ryan-Harshman, Canadian Chlorine Chemistry Council, 1995
Drinking Water Chlorination, Health Canada
Fire Protection Premiums
Currently, the South Hazelton water system does not meet minimum fire flow requirements set out by the Fire Insurers Underwriters. Without water system improvements that address current fire flow deficiencies the community is at risk of losing some of its fire insurance premium discounts. These water system improvements will address current fire flow deficiencies in the community and help maintain existing fire insurance premium discounts. Insurance premiums could almost double if these works did not proceed.
Project Update â€“ April 2011
As a condition of the senior government grants an Environmental Assessment was required. This assessment considered water resources; fisheries habitat; geology; land use; vegetation; wildlife; heritage resources; potential environmental impacts; preventative and mitigative measures; and, First Nation interests and use of the area for traditional purposes. It was concluded that this project was not likely to cause significant environmental affects and the Project Environmental Monitor continues to ensure appropriate mitigation measures are implemented.
The South Hazelton Water System Upgrade is proceeding well and substantial completion is expected in November 2011.
To date the following project components have been completed by Bear Creek Contracting:
- Water Intake Upgrade
- Infiltration Gallery Improvements
- Disinfection Facility to Lock Up
- Power and Communication Cables to Disinfection Facility
- Access Road Upgraded to Disinfection Facility
- Preliminary site work for both the Domestic and Fire Reservoirs
The Disinfection Facility including chlorination, disinfection, ultra-violet treatment and back-up power along with the 250m3 steel bolted equalization reservoir located near the water intake supply will be completed in the next couple of months. The 250m3 fire reservoir and pump located at the Fire Hall will be completed following delivery in September 2011.
At this point, the project remains within the estimated $3.2 million budget.
System Operation and Maintenance
Regional District Staff have familiarized themselves with the South Hazelton System and completed an initial flushing of the water distribution piping. Routine flushing will be carried out each year to remove any sediment that may be present in the system and to assist with delivering quality water.
Future maintenance will be provided by the District of New Hazelton. Further discussions with New Hazelton will confirm the terms and conditions of a Fee for Service arrangement.
The Regional District is now looking after all of the Administration including user fee billings and collections. The South Hazelton Waterworks office was closed permanently on March 31, 2011. User fees will be billed to residents twice a year - Once in January (50% of annual charge) with a due date of June 30 and the second billing in July (50% of annual charge) with a payment due date of December 31.
Any water user fees outstanding as of January 2011, that were billed by South Hazelton Water Works District earlier will continue to be the responsibility of the user and payable to the Regional District.
Effective January 2011 the methods of payment of user fees will be as follows:
- By cheque (post dated cheque accepted)
- Visa, mastercard (in person at RD office in Terrace or by phone)
- Interac (in person at RD office in Terrace)
- Payable at most financial institutions
- Through online banking under account name Kitimat-Stikine RD utilities.
We recognize there will be a transition period and your patience is appreciated.
Future Water Fees & Charges
With the $1.8 million in Senior Government Grants and the Regional Districtâ€™s commitment of up to $400,000 from the Regional Districtâ€™s Community Works Gas Tax Fund allocation, residents can expect an annual parcel tax of $300 - $500 and an annual user fee of $300.
A bylaw has been developed to regulate the distribution and use of the water and to control the standards of domestic and commercial plumbing systems connected to the water system. Bylaw No. 589 was introduced to the Board in June 2010 and is expected to be adopted in June 2011. (See copy of proposed Bylaw No. 589). This bylaw also sets the Fees and Charges related to the service and includes some water use conservation strategies and requirements.
For additional information related to water use reduction visit our Zero Waste Web Page.
Interim Contact Information
Updated April 2011