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Upgrades needed on Abbotsford's wells

A halt in supply from Abbotsford and Mission’s main water supply last fall led to failures in the well system and operational difficulties.

Council recently approved an additional $153,000 be designated to the water budget for critical well upgrades.

The wells are only operated during peak demand to keep costs down. The wells were used for prolonged periods after a landslide severed the Norrish Creek water supply pipe on Oct. 2, keeping the water source off-line until late November.

Norrish Creek supplies water to both Abbotsford and Mission, and when the supply was shut down, Mission received water from Cannell Lake and Abbotsford drew water from wells. Most of the wells’ infrastructure is 25 to 45 years old and has not been upgraded in that time.

The wells generally supply additional water to deal with short-term high demand. But with Norrish down, the ongoing use quickly deteriorated their condition.

The total funds for the work is $200,000 of which Abbotsford will pay 76 per cent, and Mission will pay 24 per cent. The cost to repair the damage to the Norrish Creek supply cost $450,000, with $150,000 paid for by Emergency  Management BC and the remaining $300,000 by city water reserves.

The cities will also take part in a reassessment of the operational strategy for water use.

The Norrish outage revealed that it is critical that there is an adequate water level in Cannell Lake to ensure a supply of water to Mission. Staff say that to maintain an adequate water level in the lake it will be necessary to increase the contribution from the wells.

The work will begin soon to address the problems before any future emergency may occur.

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