Costly master plan proposed for District of Clearwater

The District of Clearwater should be prepared to spend close to $19 million over the next 10 years to improve its water system and slightly more than that for sewer upgrades.

That was the news from Chris Crowell, of TRUE Consulting, who presented a draft infrastructure master plan to the Clearwater district council Nov. 16. The last master plan was done in 2013.

The biggest ticket item in the draft plan includes a $7.2 million reservoir for the Sunshine Valley.

The 2,800-cubic metre (750,000-gallon) project, which would include construction of a 2.3-km water-main on Camp Two Road, Road 2 FSR and Ogden Road, would replace the existing 1,500-c.m reservoir at Archibald Road, which is not big enough to meet the 10-year forecast.

According to data collected in 2018, Clearwater uses 55 per cent more water than other communities in the B.C. Interior of similar size.

Last summer, with its record heat, the water usage was 20 per cent higher. It is not clear why the community’s water usage is so high, but Crowell said a possible solution would be to introduce universal water metering which, at a cost of $5.4 million, is the second biggest item on the list.

The third-largest ticket item would be to add or replace the existing 200 mm water main on Clearwater Valley Road to the Archibald Reservoir with a 300-mm main.

The existing pipe is inadequate for fire flows and anticipated growth, plus is nearing the end of anticipated useful life.

Other items on the water system list include replacing the pressure reduction valve on the Strawberry Flats ($875,000), adding backup power for Wells 1 and 3 located in Reg Small Park ($532,000), and installing water main loops on the Flats ($467,000), the Woreby/Hillside area ($330,000) and in the high school and arena area ($236,000). Adding a third pump for Wells 1 and 3 ($245,000) is also included in the plan. Another leaks assessment is also on the list.

Sewer system needs improvements

The most expensive item on the list of sanitary system improvements is expansion to the Dutch Lake area at $8.7 million. Extending the sewer system to and around the lake has been a priority for many years as it would improve the lake’s water quality.

At the moment, Clearwater’s sewer system only serves the area around the Weyerhaeuser subdivision, across the highway to Dairy Queen, and down Park Drive to the hospital and Raft River Elementary.

Nearly as expensive as the Dutch Lake extension would be expanding the sewer system to Strawberry Flats, which is estimated at $7.7 million.

The third most expensive project would be replacing the siphon that carries all municipal sanitary flows from near Weyerhaeuser subdivision to the wastewater treatment plant. The siphon is a critical piece of infrastructure but is getting old and has a high risk of clogging.

It would be replaced with a gravity sewer at a cost of $1.4 million.

If projected developments near the hospital go ahead then the lift station near the hospital would need to be replaced, at a price tag of $1.1 million.

Removing the sludge from Cell 2 at the wastewater treatment plant would cost close to $500,000 and would increase the treatment capacity plus reduce maintenance costs.

Clearwater CAO John Thomas told the Times the district is hoping to apply for and secure grants from senior levels of government to fund the infrastructure program.

“There is no guarantee we will get the grant(s) as these funding streams are often heavily subscribed. However, we will do our best,” he said.

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