The District of Hudson’s Hope and representatives from Northern Health recently had a meeting regarding the community’s water treatment situation as it transitions back to river water.
The district is currently undertaking a phased approach moving from well water back to a surface water system from the Peace River.
According to a Feb. 27 update from the district, the treatment plant is now running with source water from the Peace River and passing through prefilters, also known as sediment filters, which are meant to prepare the water for further purification.
The water is then passing through two groups of cartridge filters in sequence and a chlorine option.
During this trial period, district operators are facing difficulties with 1-micron absolute filters which are getting plugged within two to three days.
The district says regular bacteriological tests are continuing to be conducted with good results. However, the boil water advisory is still in place.
To withdraw the boil water advisory the plant needs to run with two groups of cartridge filers as there is not yet a UV system for further filtration installed.
This work is part of Phase 1 of the approach, which began with the installation of installing two pumps across the berm into the river along with the associated piping infrastructure and electrical work had to be completed in order to receive the river water to the plant.
This allowed the district to be able to pump river water directly into the distribution system and start the flushing process.
Throughout last year, the district’s water treatment plant had seen multiple repairs.
The plant failed in July 2022 due to bio-film clogging the system, which lead to a boil water advisory and eventually a “do not consume” order which lasted from April until Oct. 14.
The building of a shoreline berm for the Site C reservoir adjacent to the community necessitated a choice and the district switched from river-drawn water to a groundwater aquifer. B.C. Hydro agreed to fund test wells and a new water treatment plant.
In February 2021, the plant was completed but upon use residents began to notice the water smelled and tasted bad and was heavily chlorinated. As the plant hasn't been able to produce quality water, in November 2022 both the district and B.C. Hydro agreed to return to a river source as soon as possible.
Phase 2 of the project involves the installation of a UV system, which will support surface water treatment during times of higher turbidity which is expected during the spring freshet and heavy rain events.
The UV System is on order and expected to be available mid-April and installed at the end of April 2023.
[Editor’s Note: Article updates to clarify the reasoning of Site C berm construction in Hudson’s Hope.]