(L-r) Carol Schaffer, TNRD director for Area A (Wells Gray Country), sits with director of environmental services Jake Devlin and director of utility services Arden Bolton during a meeting held Wednesday of last week to discuss Vavenby’s water difficulties. The meeting was held in Vavenby Community Hall with about 35 people attending.

TNRD restores Vavenby water

High consumption plus sand in the system cause 48-hour outage - and problems persist

Robyn Rexin

The week before last, Vavenby residents were without water for 48 hours but had their water running again by Saturday, Sept. 30.

There was a public meeting at Vavenby Community Hall on Wednesday evening, Oct. 4, to explain what had happened and to answer any questions.

Thompson-Nicola Regional District Area A director Carol Schaffer introduced the speakers: Jake Devlin, who is the director of environmental services, and Arden Bolton, who is the manager of utility services.

Devlin chaired the meeting. Approximately 35 people attended.

Devlin spoke first, giving a brief history of Vavenby’s water system. It had been built in 1970 and then in 2003 the TNRD was requested to take it over.

READ MORE: Vavenby water system develops leaks

READ MORE: Vavenby water petition goes to TNRD

Bolton gave information on the cause of the stoppage of the town’s water.

Due to the amount of water consumption and because the pumps were in sand, the pumps had overheated and then burned out. When the second pump burned out on Tuesday, Oct. 3, (something considered unusual) the whole crew came from Kamloops to work on the problem and put in an 18-hour shift.

Removing the sand from the 25-foot deep intake well proved difficult. However work continues and approximately half of the sand has now been removed.

The TNRD is confident that they will be able to get the rest out. On the day of the meeting a new tool was created to help dig the sand out of the well.

A leak detector was brought from Blue River. The crew found two leaks, one of which was repaired. The other was worked on the next day. A contractor and more equipment were needed.

During the question period one resident had a couple of possible remedies to help fix the problem. He was told that the TNRD was always looking for solutions and asked to tell Bolton and Devlin at the end of the meeting.

Another person wanted to know what was going to be done so that this did not happen again. The audience was told that the situation would be monitored more carefully.

Some people at the meeting let the representatives know that they were still having sand and or dirt in their water. Others were worried about the pressure.

Everybody was told that if they had any concerns to phone water maintenance operator Tighe Hewlett at 250-674-7851 or Bolton at 1-250-377-7056.

Vavenby residents got a call on Thursday, Oct. 5, to let them know that that day was the last one for getting bottled and bulk water at the fire hall as water service was back to normal.

Any resident of Vavenby still having a water service interruption should contact Hewlett to receive bottled water until the problem is fixed.


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