A new water treatment plant in Bamfield means a five-year-old water advisory has been lifted. The public will get a chance to see the new treatment plant at an open house on March 1. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Five years later, Bamfield’s water is finally safe

New treatment plant cancels West Coast village’s longstanding water quality advisory

The west coast community of Bamfield has finally cancelled its water quality advisory—after five years.

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) opened a new water treatment plant in Bamfield in August 2018, and has been given the all-clear from Island Health to lift the advisory.

In November 2013 the ACRD issued the water quality advisory after elevated trihalomethane (THM) levels were discovered in the water system. Water quality testing that had been done throughout 2013 showed consistently high levels of THMs in the drinking water.

THMs are a group of chemical compounds that are made when chlorine reacts with organic matter in water, such as wood and leaves. The level of THMs in drinking water depends on the amount of organic material in the water source.

Bamfield’s community water system was built in 1980 and uses Sugwaw Lake, three kilometres northeast of Bamfield, as its source.

In June 2017 the ACRD was awarded a federal/provincial grant of $1.4 million through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. The federal government provided funding of up to 50 percent for the eligible project cost and the BC government provided an additional 33 percent. The entire project cost $2.36 million.

Koers & Associates Engineering Ltd. coordinated the testing of various systems to make sure the technology they eventually chose—dissolved air flotation (DAF) equipment—would work for Sugwaw Lake. Koers designed the new water treatment plant starting in the spring of 2018. Equipment was purchased from AWC Water Solutions and Ridgeline Mechanical Ltd. built the plant.

The plant treats seven litres of water per second and now provides potable water to 197 households.

Bamfield’s water technician, Les Butler, has overseen the entire project, ACRD general manager of environmental services Rob Williams said.

The new treatment plant went online in August 2018, but Island Health required the water quality advisory to stay in place until a “consistently high” record of high-quality potable water production had been established.

Anyone curious about the new water treatment plant can have a peek on March 1 between 3–5 p.m., during an open house of the facility. The plant is located at 315 Grappler Rd., Bamfield.

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