A sewer master plan will be developed to identify deficiencies in the sewer system and prioritize repairs and replacements. Since no funding was approved in this year's budget for the study, and the city's sewer utility fund may not have sufficient funds to cover the cost of the study, council approved the transfer of $75,000 from the water utility fund so the study could be initiated in this fiscal year.
At their last regular meeting on Aug. 29, councillors heard from Kevin Heath, resident of 1525 Chamberlain Drive, who was speaking on behalf of more than 20 of his neighbours about issues with reoccurring sewer backups following heavy rainfalls. He said not only did their sewer lines backup twice following heavy rains earlier this summer, but also following two other events dating back to 2001.
In a related story, an overview of the City of Dawson Creek's efforts to ensure water security in the city was presented to council by Kevin Henderson, director of infrastructure and sustainable development.
The Water Security Report Card provides a timeline of projects over the years related to supply and raw storage, treatment, distribution and treated storage, and studies that have been undertaken related to water security. City council identified water security as one of its strategic priorities this year, but Henderson said what is interesting in the report is that it shows that has been a priority for councils going back a few decades.
"Through the report you can see there has been a significant amount of time spent by previous councils and this council to ensure the security of our water," said Henderson, "looking at things like the Bearhole Weir – which holds back water at the headwaters of the Kiskatinaw River in case we have droughts – to numerous upgrades to the water treatment plant, and obviously the latest one were working on is the reclaimed water plant."
The report states the most feasible measures for ensuring water security continue to be to increase raw water storage, promote conservation through pricing and education, and to shift industrial use to a non-potable source as is being done with the reclaimed water project. It states that according to an investigation of other potential sources of water besides the Kiskatinaw River done in 2003, the preliminary cost estimate for going to the Murray River was estimated to be $25.81 million in 2003, and the preliminary estimate for going to the Peace River was estimated to be $25.02 million, with an estimated annual maintenance and power consumption cost of $1.2 million for either option.
The report cites that the investigation did not include an in-depth study of terrain or local conditions, and did not include costs such as project management, regulatory costs, or land purchase for right of ways.
The report outlines several projects to improve and maintain the supply and quality of the city's water going forward. The most notable is the proposal for a new raw water reservoir to increase the city's storage capacity by 1.9 million cubic metres to provide the city with approximately one year’s worth of stored water. The city has already purchased land for the project just west of the existing Trail Reservoir.
However, the project is estimated to cost between $15 million and $25 million to complete. Through the city's new water rate structure implemented this year, about $1 million a year will be put into a reserve fund to help fund the project. The hope is that fund could be used to leverage other funding sources for the project.
Councillor Marilyn Belak said she believes the report is essential reading for anyone interested in running for city council in the upcoming election, as ensuring water security will likely be a top priority for future councils.
The full report has been attached below.