Dale Ross (L), Director of Public Works with the Village of Burns Lake attends a ceremony in West Vancouver on Aug. 27 when the investment of millions of dollars in water infrastructure for British Columbia communities was announced. Also attending the event was (L-R) Morgan Guerin, Councillor with the Musqeum First Nation; Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country; Sheila Malcolmson, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Member of the Legislative Assembly for Nanaimo; Tony Rainbow, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District Board Chair; and Paul Albrecht, Councillor with the City of Langley. (Ingrid Hart photo)

Construction of water treatment plant begins

Ground work started on Sept. 4 as part of the construction of the new water treatment facility in Burns Lake, at 102 Eveneshen Road.

Construction of the $4.8 million project is expected to finish in the summer of 2021, as Sheryl Worthing, Chief Administrative Officer with the Village of Burns Lake told Lakes District News.

Canadian Western Mechanical has been contracted to build the plant and Procesco Inc. will be the treatment equipment supplier.

The ground work follows an announcement on Aug. 27 of a total of $240 million in combined investments from the federal, provincial and municipal governments. The contributions are under the Investing in Canada plan and the Small Communities Fund of the New Building Canada Fund.

For the Burns Lake water treatment plant, the federal government will contribute around $1.9 million, the British Columbia government will chip in $1.5 million and local governments $1.2 million.

The remaining $1.3 million will come from the Village of Burns Lake, the Burns Lake Band and the Lake Babine Nation.

In 2018 the Village submitted an application for a grant that would fund a water treatment plant.

LOOK BACK: Village seeks funding for water treatment plant

It is hoped that the new facility will filter out manganese in the drinking water. Manganese is a naturally-occurring mineral in water, soil and air and can sometimes turn tap water brown, though it is harmless in small amounts.

Earlier this year, Health Canada changed its regulations on the acceptable standards of manganese in drinking water.

The new maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) is 0.12 milligrams per litre, up from the older standard of 0.05 mg/L.

The manganese level in Burns Lake’s tap water is currently at 0.35 mg/L, according to well site tests, said mayor Dolores Funk.

READ MORE: Manganese level in Burns Lake water above new standard

The water treatment plant project comprises three phases. The first was completing a treatment facility pilot study, geological studies and tests on wells on Gerow Island. The second was upgrading the Gerow Island wells, which was also part of the plant’s engineering design. The third phase is the plant construction.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
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