BC moving forward with Union Bay water treatment plant

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With a boil water advisory in place for British Columbia’s Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) since December of 2018, the community is welcoming the construction of a new water treatment plant and reservoir confirmed for spring 2019.

Last week, UBID announced that Ridgeline Mechanical Ltd., a Comox Valley-based municipal waterworks firm, will undertake construction of the $4.2-million project, designed to service nearly 700 properties by as early as December 2019.

The current water system comprises 40 km of main line pipe drawing from Langley Lake, with the only water treatment process being chlorination. Langley Lake is primarily a spring-fed lake with a peat bottom and floating islands of peat. When there are higher levels of turbidity, cloudiness can reduce the effectiveness of chlorination and increase the risk of bacteria not being eliminated. As a result, boil water notices are required to be issued to ensure safe drinking water.

According to a UBID document, the system is not meeting all elements of current provincial surface water quality treatment guidelines regarding inactivation of viruses; protection against parasites; two treatment processes; less than or equal to one nephelometric turbidity unit (NTU); no detectable E. Coli; fecal coliform and total coliform in the treated water.

Union Bay Improvement District project timeline
Project timeline graphic. Credit: Union Bay Improvement District.

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UBID worked with Koers Engineering to develop and design a new water treatment plant consisting of four components: installation of a new water filtration system; construction of a new building to house water treatment equipment; construction of a new steel water reservoir; installation of new water main and tie-ins.

Island Health has just approved the water supply system construction permit for the Langley Lake water treatment plant and the Comox Valley Regional District has approved UBID’s application for building permits.

According to documents, $700,000 of the project’s cost will be contributed from UBID’s Public Works Capital Reserve and $3.5 million will be borrowed and amortized over 25 years.

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