City of Powell River councillors approved additional money for the drinking water system upgrade at the April 19 council meeting.
The request for $66,301 included covering a $16,301 overrun, as well as funding for environmental monitoring, equipment for an alarm system installation and additional contract administration costs. The money will come from the 2012 water fees and charges.
Richard Stogre, manager of engineering services, and Jeremy Sagebiel, engineering technologist, attended the council meeting to explain the request, as well as Mark Biagi, a qualified environmental professional who owns Vision Marine Consulting Ltd. Biagi has been contracted by Opus Dayton and Knight Ltd., the city’s engineering consultants on the project, to monitor environmental impacts of draining the approximately six million litres of water that is in the reservoir.
The budget for the drinking water system upgrade project was $8.485 million. The work included connecting Wildwood to the Haslam Lake water system, constructing a pump station in Townsite and building an ultraviolet disinfection facility and the reservoir on Haslam Street.
Sagebiel outlined a number of challenges that were encountered during the project, which added to the cost overruns. They included finding rock underneath Oak Street and Highway 101, where the new water main to connect Wildwood was being installed, realignment of the water main as it reached the bridge crossing Powell River and discovering clay in the ground where the reservoir was being built.
As well, there was additional reconfiguration of the electrical work at the treatment facility required by a new BC Hydro project manager, Sagebiel said, and a redesigned roof hatch required by Vancouver Coastal Health.
Most of the changes to the original contracts reverted back to Opus Dayton and Knight, Sagebiel said, to review the proposed cost and to re-engineer where necessary.
The water from the reservoir, which was put into the structure to test for leaks, is going to be drained through the storm water system. The city is extending the system by approximately 60 feet. While the contractor is responsible for discharging the water into the storm system, because the system flows into Cranberry Lake, the city has to pay for environmental protection.
Biagi explained that the temperature of the water, as well as the flow, pH levels, chlorine content and turbidity are all being monitored to protect the environment and fish habitat. Three monitoring sites are being set up, at the outfall from the storm system, Cranberry Lake and McFall Creek, he said.
Biagi said he doesn’t foresee any problems. “The only issue would be with regard to flow. If the flow gets too high, then we will have to reduce the flow, but that’s easily done,” he said. “In terms of the chemistry, I don’t see any problems with lethal levels of chlorine in the water.”
Cutthroat trout, which are present in Cranberry Lake, are blue-listed, Biagi explained, and are particularly sensitive to chlorine, which is why it had to be determined that the levels were low and would not harm fish.
There are also two populations of turtles in the lake, but the process is not expected to harm them, Biagi said.
Mayor Dave Formosa said there were still a few other issues about the project that are in-camera which council is not happy about. “Stay tuned,” he said. “There are a few more little issues that may come as we wrap up this $8.6-million project.”