The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has awarded a contract for engineering design and construction of a new water treatment facility in Pritchard, located about 30 minutes east of Kamloops.
The $475,000 contract has been awarded to WSP Canada Group Limited. The TNRD issued a request for proposals for the project over the summer and staff evaluated five proposals. The board voted in October to approve awarding of the contract. Detailed project design comes next, with completion expected in 2022.
TNRD director of environmental services Jake Devlin said the Pritchard water system currently involves treating surface water from the South Thompson River with chlorination, but does not involve filtration. He said the process is similar to that in Kamloops before the city’s state-of-the-art water-treatment facility was built.
Devlin said when the river in the springtime has high turbidity, Pritchard residents are placed on boil-water advisories by Interior Health. It is unclear how often that happens, but he said the new water-treatment facility will improve drinking water for about 370 residents.
The regional district has 11 small community water systems, mostly involving surface water. The largest systems serve Pritchard and Savona, a community along Kamloops Lake about 30 minutes west of the city.
Savona is slightly larger than Pritchard. However, the area has had land issues and technical challenges. At the same TNRD meeting earlier this month, the board also approved submission for grant funding in the $8.5-million to $9.5-million range for a facility to serve that community.
Devlin explained the challenge with small community water systems is cost. Water-treatment facilities come with big price tags to build when serving a small number of people. Residents can rarely foot the bill themselves and Devlin said the only way to solve the issue is for the regional district to go after provincial and federal infrastructure grant funding.
Traditional grant funding programs typically split the cost equally between the federal and provincial governments and the community.
Devlin, however, said Ottawa is pitching in more and the Pritchard capital project is being funded 100 per cent by federal grant funding, save for a limited number of ineligible costs, such as TNRD staff time.
Meanwhile, Black Pines residents will vote in a referendum, likely to be held in spring of 2021, to borrow up to $455,000 on behalf of property owners to cover one-third of the costs to convert its water system to a groundwater supply. The regional district received a grant in recent years to cover two thirds of the cost of that project, north of Westsyde.