SCRD’s Church Road wells near completion
From January 24, there will be commissioning activities within the site’s water treatment plant that will consist of managing various components, including the wells. We test out all the mechanical and electrical processes,” according to the SCRD’s Aidan Buckley.
Final testing of the Church Road Well Field is expected to begin the week of January 30.
Coast Reporter checked in with Sunshine Coast Regional District Communications Manager Aidan Buckley as well as an area resident for updates on activities on site.
Commissioning in progress
“Commissioning is underway. From January 24, there will be commissioning activities within the site’s water treatment plant that will consist of managing various components, including the wells. We are testing out all the mechanical and electrical processes,” Buckley wrote in a Jan. 24 email.
Since such testing requires the release of water, the SCRD installed a 1,000-foot lay-flat fire hose to contain the runoff and avoid a repeat of the erosion and debris flow experienced earlier in January on the lower sections of Elphinstone Avenue. . “Pom-tested water will first be dechlorinated and then run through a six-inch hose laid from the outfall pipe at the water treatment plant next to Elphinstone and fed over the embankment into the pipe hose into Soames Creek,” said Buckley.
While he did not have the installation cost available, Buckley said the cost of the hose was $5,500. He noted that equipment will be reused in future SCRD operations.
Elphinstone Avenue resident Evie Jordan-Knox reported that water has been released along that road “on a fairly constant basis” since January 24. Her reaction to using the hose solution: “It does stop the water from washing down Elphinstone (Avenue), which is pretty creative.”
She reported that a snowplow blade put in place on January 9th to prevent vehicles from driving and parking along erosion-damaged shoulders on the trail was removed on January 27th.
The SCRD began construction on the well field in March last year, which is expected to add up to five million gallons of water per day to its Chapman water system. Completion was slated for fall 2022, but supply chain issues caused project delays. In October 2022, its board approved an amendment to the project’s budget of nearly half a million dollars to allow for costs of up to $9.27 million: $9 million to come from long-term loans and $270,000 from capital reserves.
Drainage issues related to heavy rain and runoff of water from on-site testing have caused flooding and erosion issues for properties on the lower reaches of Elphinstone Avenue. Since December, the SCRD, the Ministry of Transportation and Capilano Highways have been working on solutions to those problems. On January 9, a water release event led to flooding, as well as gravel and other debris flows that led to partial road closures along that route.
Buckley’s details on discharge water
CR: Where does the water drained from the pit field go?
Buckley: The dechlorinated water will flow out into the Soames creek via the lay flat pipe. The water will discharge onto a rip rap splash pad constructed as part of this project. All provincial and local regulations are followed.
CR: Are permits required?
Buckley: Yes, authorizations are required from Vancouver Coastal Health, Ministry of Forests and Department of Fisheries and Oceans. There are specific conditions for each authorization. The purpose of the conditions is to make sure the fish and aquatic habitat are protected. Ongoing consent approval and compliance was properly managed throughout the project.
CR: How is the discharge water monitored?
Buckley: An environmental management plan is developed before the field activity and qualified professionals supervise the implementation of the plan. Dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH and temperature are some of the key parameters monitored. Both the contractor and the engineering team have an environmental monitor, and the contract describes the scope for each.
CR: When is the next planned release of water from testing at the wellfield site?
Buckley: Specific discharge times cannot be provided due to the nature of the commissioning and troubleshooting start-up procedures. The final test will begin closer to the week of January 30 or depending on how things progress on site, which will finalize the commissioning process.