The North Salt Spring Waterworks District will not act on an offer by a resident to supplement its supply with private wells, with the difficulties of meeting specifications expected to outweigh any benefits.
Channel Ridge resident Bryce Chapman has proposed leasing the district wells from his property to directly supply the neighbourhood and thereby head off a lawsuit related to NSSWD’s moratorium on new connections. District trustees and staff discussed Chapman’s proposal at a December board meeting after reviewing his material but did not advance a vote to support the idea.
Marshall Heinekey, who chairs the NSSWD board of trustees, told the Driftwood the district often receives ideas from ratepayers about supplementing its supply, but the reality of meeting health and system guidelines is complex.
“I think we have a duty to listen and not just pooh-pooh everything that comes along, but I think a lot of people don’t realize how difficult it is to integrate a new source into our system,” Heinekey said.
The district’s environmental manager Meghan McKee identified several issues after reading the hydrogeologist report that Chapman supplied.
According to Dec. 7 board meeting minutes, McKee noted Chapman’s two productive wells could be vulnerable to sea water intrusion given their location, and that water quality tests showed extremely high levels of arsenic and antimony. Using the wells would therefore require building a treatment plant or transporting the water to one, and then removing the toxic residual produced. McKee said more information on water quality would also be needed since only metals and bacteria testing were done and new drinking water sources require more comprehensive testing.
For more on this story, see the Jan. 3, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.