BLACK PINES — It will take about six months to figure out if groundwater is a viable source for the Black Pines community water system, about 30 residents were told at a meeting Monday night (Jan. 18, 2016).
The meeting was originally scheduled to begin a petition approval process for borrowing a third of the expected $1.345-million cost of a new river intake and other improvements to the system. Two-thirds of the cost has been approved for infrastructure funding from the federal and provincial governments.
However, the TNRD has found through further testing on the North Thompson River that the chosen site for the intake is infilling with silt, and there are now two options: the first being a well, the second being to move the intake downstream.
TNRD Environmental services director Peter Hughes told residents at least 50 gallons per minute of flow would be needed to meet the needs of the community with well water. He said the TNRD and consultants will look at possibilities in Black Pines and possibly across the river in Vinsulla.
The TNRD expects to be able to use federal gas tax funds for a limited number of test wells.
CAO Sukh Gill said the federal-provincial grant commitment remains secure for now, though a “change in scope” might have to be applied for if the eventual project differs significantly from the one originally designed.
Residents had several suggestions on possible locations for groundwater and river intakes, such as moving to a location further north. Hughes will send out a survey to residents to receive input, and I and the Black Pines ad hoc water committee can also assist in collecting ideas and getting answers to questions.
I suggested the TNRD also look at putting a page on the regional district’s website to keep residents updated on progress.