The town of Gull Lake uses a groundwater source north of town and has been seeing elevated levels of Trihalomethanes (THM) for the past few years. This year the Water Security Agency required the Town to develop a plan to decrease the levels of Trihalomethanes(THM) in the water supply. Town Council contracted the services of M2 Engineering to conduct a water plant upgrade feasibility study.
The current water plant was constructed in 1960 and was designed to treat surface water from the 5-mile dam and ducks water sources. The report says, “The facility was originally designed to target typical surface water parameters, based on regulations and available technology at the time.” A well was drilled north of town in the 1980s and the plant received some upgrades at that time. The Water plant is now 60 years old and is reaching the end of its useful life expectancy.
The complete report is available to download at the bottom of this post.
Report Long Term Recommendations.
Six options were investigated and only two options were deemed as feasible long term solutions to deal with the Trihalomethanes (THM) problem (section 6 page 51). In either recommendation retrofitting the current water plant is deemed not feasible for the following reasons:
Lack of available space.
Multiple shutdowns would be required to perform work since only short windows would be available to work in the existing plant.Temporary measures would be required to continue operating the plant during construction, which would be costs that would not provide benefit for future use.
High risk nature of construction in operating WTP with unknown condition of concrete that is near the end of its expected service life would increase cost of construction.
The elevation of the water storage under the plant requires additional pumping.
In summary, due to the age of the WTP, the multiple single points of failure, and the elevations of the existing structures, there is very little of the existing WTP that could be efficiently retrofitted. The high risk involved with construction would provide minimal benefit for the costs associated with a retrofit project.
The report recommends constructing a new water plant to implement one of the two options needed to address our water quality issues. The estimated cost of either solution today is approximately 10 million dollars. The town does not have the ability to build a new water plant on its own as the cost far exceeds the town’s financial capabilities. Council has been applying for federal/provincial grants where 70 percent of the cost is picked up by the federal/provincial governments and the town picks up 30 percent.
Obtaining a provincial/federal grant is the only viable option available if the town is to construct a new water plant. In order to be grant ready, we need to increase water rates so we can meet our financial obligation of any future grant we may receive. Council will be reviewing rates in the near future to determine the increase that will be needed to ensure the town is grant ready should we receive a grant.