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Barrowtown Pump Station in Abbotsford to get backup generator

Council awards $3.3M contract out of $6.5M grant from the province
The Barrowtown Pump Station is getting a backup generator to keep it running during power outages. Funding of $6.5 million is coming from the provincial government. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

The Barrowtown Pump Station in Abbotsford is getting a new piece of equipment that will keep it operating during power outages.

City council recently awarded a $3.3 million contract to Cummins Canada ULC for the supply and delivery of a backup power generator at the station, which Mayor Henry Braun described as “a critical piece of infrastructure.”

Funding of up to $6.5 million has been provided through a grant from the provincial government. (In addition to the contract to Cummins, costs include $313,000 for engineering and $2.9 million for construction and contingency.)

The four large pumps at the station on a daily basis prevent excess water from entering Sumas Prairie and refilling Sumas Lake – which was drained in the 1920s to make way for farmland on Sumas Prairie – by funnelling it to the Fraser River.

The site worked non-stop during the recent flooding event to mitigate the damage, but Braun said power lines that were brought down in Abbotsford meant the city had to switch to the Chilliwack side to get power.

RELATED: Keeping the lake at bay in Abbotsford

“Had we lost the Chilliwack power for any reason, those pumps would have been shut down and that lake would have filled up and eventually flooded the Barrowtown Pump Station, and we would be sitting here today with eight to 10 feet of water on Highway 1,” Braun said at the council meeting on Dec. 20.

Braun said Abbotsford Regional Hospital is first in line for BC Hydro’s priority customer list during an outage, and the pump station is second.

“Despite this, the pump station has experienced power outages on several occasions and does not currently have a standby power system to maintain pumping operations during power failure,” a staff report to council states.

The process to fund the backup generator began more than a year ago after the provincial government announced on Dec. 1, 2020 the Adaptation, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation program.

The program is focused on structural and natural infrastructure programs to address the impacts of flooding and flood-related hazards.

Abbotsford council determined that the backup generator for the pump station was a good candidate for the program, and a grant application was submitted. The funding was approved in June of this year.

A request for proposals for the supply and delivery of the generator was issued, and the city received four proposals.

The project is expected to be completed in mid-2023.

RELATED: Sumas Lake film from early 2021 asks: What happens if Barrowtown pumps in Abbotsford fail?

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Vikki Hopes

About the Author: Vikki Hopes

I have been a journalist for almost 40 years, and have been at the Abbotsford News since 1991.
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