Construction work in 2020 at Nelson’s Mountain Station reservoir. The reservoir will receive more upgrading work this year. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Construction work in 2020 at Nelson’s Mountain Station reservoir. The reservoir will receive more upgrading work this year. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Construction work in 2020 at Nelson’s Mountain Station reservoir. The reservoir will receive more upgrading work this year. Photo: Bill Metcalfe Construction work in 2020 at Nelson’s Mountain Station reservoir. The reservoir will receive more upgrading work this year. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson sewer and water fees up 2% for 2023 to cover inflation

Planned sewage treatment plant replacement will be funded partly by grants

Nelson City Council voted on Jan. 17 to increase water and sewer rates in Nelson by two per cent for 2023.

Water and sewer costs are not included in city property taxes but are paid for by households and businesses with an annual user fee.

The sewer fee increase looks small compared with the city’s multi-million-dollar plans to replace its sewage treatment plant over the next few years. That’s because the money for project will come from provincial and federal grants and from the city’s $10.6 million wastewater capital reserve fund, to which the city has added an annual budgeted amount for several years in anticipation of this cost.

Because of the lengthy planning process involved, construction is not expected to start until 2026.

Meanwhile, in 2023, the two per cent increase in the wastewater budget will be used largely to keep the aging plant functioning until it is replaced, according to public works director Colin Innes at a Nov. 14 meeting of council.

He said this includes continuing the work already underway to analyze the composition and the volume of the wastewater at different times of the day and year so the plant can be better prepared for it.

This includes understanding the type and timing of the effluent of businesses, especially restaurants and breweries, which vary throughout the day.

An important reason for the planned rebuild of the plant is that extreme rainfall events tend to overwhelm the facility. Many of the city’s storm sewers flow into the sanitary sewer lines and then run through the treatment plant and flood it, occasionally causing partially treated sewage to spill into the Kootenay River. There is ongoing work at the city to understand and contain this problem, Innes said.

Wastewater fees for residents in 2022 amounted to $710 per household and will increase in 2023 to $724.50. These figures include a 10 per cent discount for timely payment.

Water

At the Nov. 14 meeting, Innes outlined work that has been done on Nelson’s water system in the last several years, including new drinking water supply lines from Selous and Anderson Creeks to the Mountain Station reservoir.

He told council that work on repairing leaks in very old water lines has resulted in an 18 per cent reduction in water use in Nelson since 2011 despite a nine per cent increase in population.

Consultant Rory Gallaugher explained that some of this savings has been accomplished by installing water meters in business and institutions and identifying leaks. The most significant water waster was leaking toilets, he said. Fixing these, and dealing with waste in the use of water-cooled coolers and ice machines, resulted in an average reduction of 63 per cent or 67,160,000 litres per year.

The water work plan for the coming year, Innes said, includes finishing the pumping station for the Anderson Creek water line, replacement of some water lines in the city, and upgrades to the Mountain Station reservoir.

Water fees for residents in 2022 amounted to $378 per single residential dwelling unit and will increase in 2023 to $386. These figures include a 10 per cent discount if payment is made on time. Council voted to continue the 75 per cent water rate discount for legal suites that are rented long term.

Water and sewer rates for businesses and institutions vary greatly depending on the size and nature of the enterprise.

READ MORE:

Leaking toilets a leading cause of water loss in Nelson commercial buildings

Nelson council adopts water plan

Completion of Selous Creek line improves Nelson’s water supply

Sewage from Nelson treatment plant runs into Kootenay River during storms: environment ministry

Planning for new Nelson sewage treatment plant will take three years

New report outlines how to protect Nelson’s water sources

Kootenay Lake re-considered as drinking water source for Nelson



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter