Hudson’s Hope Mayor Dave Heiberg has provided an update to residents on the status of the water treatment plant.
The Aug. 2 public service announcement explains that super chlorination will begin tomorrow to address the iron bacteria that caused the plant to fail through biofilm buildup.
Aerorator cleaning is also expected later this week, while contractors work out options for available pre-filters best suited for the plant. Sixty reverse osmosis membranes scheduled to be replaced have already been installed.
“It’s important to note that the aeration system, pre filters, and [Reverse Osmosis] membranes must all be cleaned/repaired before the water treatment plant can be operational again,” writes Heiberg. “Once the distribution system is deemed safe by Northern Health, we can remove the boil water restrictions.”
Samples for bacteria testing were taken last Wednesday and the results forwarded to the municipality were found acceptable, according to the notice. Testing is for metal is also underway, with results to be posted on the district's website.
Site C community relations manager Greg Alexis says BC Hydro remains aware of the struggles faced by residents.
“We are aware of the current situation in Hudson’s Hope and recognize the challenges this creates for residents and the community,” he wrote.
However, Alexis says the water treatment facility is not owned or operated by BC Hydro, citing a 2017 community agreement to replace the plant, noting the agreement was amended to ‘reflect the District’s decision to build a well system’.
“We can confirm BC Hydro does not own or operate the District’s water treatment facility,” he said. “We value our relationship with the District and remain in regular contact with staff as they work to resolve the situation.”
He said any further questions regarding the current status of the water treatment facility should be directed to the district.
The statement of ownership runs contrary to Heiberg’s clarification at a town hall meeting last week that the plant was never commissioned by the District of Hudson’s Hope – it was to stay in the hands of BC Hydro until the district felt it was operating at an acceptable level.
“We never took over the water treatment plant, because it was never working properly,” he said. “Our council never asked for this project, we were given this project, not once were we asked to take it – it’s not in our capital planning, it’s not in our strategic plan.”
Heiberg says while BC Hydro and the district have a difference of opinion on the ownership of the plant, he hopes it ends amicably. The district did hire the contractors for the plant and sign the agreement, but he reiterated that they had no choice in taking on the project.
"It's the fact that we did not engage this whole procedure because we wanted to, it was because of necessity," said Heiberg. "BC Hydro, to their credit, they paid for the test well, they paid for the infrastructure, over and above the original cost."
He added that discussions have been ongoing with BC Hydro over the plant's ownership, but wasn't at liberty to say more.
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.
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