Nelson to build emergency lakeside water treatment plant

A new facility will treat water from the lake to be used in an emergency shortage.

The water intake at the Mountain Station reservoir

Nelson city council has developed a contingency plan in case of an emergency water shortage.

Public works manager Colin Innes is leading the development of a small water treatment system to be installed in the city somewhere on the lake shore. It would treat water for a portion of the city the lower part that would not require uphill pumping.

Introducing lake water into the city water mains without treating it would create the need for a boil water advisory, Innes said.

The treatment plant, consisting of pumps, filters, and chlorine mixing equipment, would cost upwards of $250,000 and city manager Kevin Cormack says this money is available in the current water budget. Innes says the proposal will go before council within the next couple of months and the plant would, if approved, be built in the spring.

The idea for an emergency water treatment plant has been around since the city wrote its water master plan in 2006, but Innes says that because of this past year’s water shortage, “it has been pushed to front burner.”

Nelson gets its water from Five Mile Creek and secondarily from two other creeks that originate in West Arm Park that are not glacier-fed but depend on annual precipitation. This past spring and summer, low precipitation and high temperatures resulted in a low supply of water and heavy use by residents until water restrictions were imposed in the summer. Those restrictions continue.

“We have got a quarter of the water normally available at this point in the year but we are able to meet the demand,” Innes says. “But we have very little extra.”

The chart accompanying this story shows the water available from the creek for each of the past four months, the average amount for each month going back to 1984, and the amount actually used by the city for each month. Most notable are the differences between the average availability over the years compared to this year (columns 1 and 2) and the small gap between this year’s availability and this year’s use (columns 2 and 3).

Innes added that if the city had not been making repairs to leaky water mains since 2006 we would already be running out of water.

Asked by email if water volumes were ever taken into account when deciding on new housing developments which would perhaps increase water demand, Cormack replied: “Water supply has not been identified as a restriction to growth in the past. Secondary source has always been identified as insurance against the loss of Five Mile due to slide or wildfire and resiliency to the potential impact of climate change.”

City of Nelson water availability and use, in megalitres per day

 

2015 creek discharge

Average creek discharge

2015 city use

July 13.6 139.1 12.6
August 6.2 34.6 8.0
September 7.2 25.9 5.1
October 7.3 31.9 5.1
Source: City of Nelson

Just Posted

Tailings site near Salmo could be remediated

The tailings came from the historic Jersey-Emerald mine

Greyhound service cuts decision expected next week

Nelson could see its bus service reduced on Wednesday

Nelson to review city council pay levels

The results would apply to the next council following the municipal election this fall

Petition: reinstate band program at Mt. Sentinel

SD8 superintendent is surveying Slocan Valley students to gauge interest

Logging planned for Cottonwood Lake and Apex areas

The private land to be logged is owned by Nelson Land Corporation headed by Mike Jenks

What it means to be human (without a smartphone)

Two LVR teachers take control of phones in the classroom

Leafs lose regular season finale

Nelson was resting several players in a 3-2 loss to Beaver Valley

SKI TIPS: Sequence is everything in skiing

Whitewater Ski Team coach Dylan Henderson on the importance of movement sequence

Nelson Leafs fall to Rebels 4-1

The Leafs open the playoffs next weekend

Nelson speedskater wins two races

Ian Walgren was on the podium at a Special Olympics event

Nelson Nordic Ski Club hosts two races

The Clearwater Challenge and Kootenay Cup both ran last weekend

Five gold medals at provincials for Nelson Boxing Club

Local fighters put on a clinic last weekend

COLUMN: Love in the pages – and on the plate

Check This Out with Anne DeGrace

LETTER: Cannabis Compassion Club optimistic in legal battle with city

The downtown non-profit has been operating since 2000

Most Read