Wednesday, February 8, 2023

City of Prince Rupert announces return to primary water supply at Woodworth Lake

The City of Prince Rupert has announced that the
community is back on the Woodworth Lake water supply as of today.
Above Former Mayor Lee Brain, Council and MLA Jennfier
Rice at the official ribbon cutting in October.
(Image from the City of PR)

Almost Four months after its official opening, the Woodworth Dam is now in full operation and has returned residents of Prince Rupert to their primary supply of water.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the project took place in mid October, with former Mayor Brain, members of Council and MLA Jennifer Rice all on hand to celebrate the completion of the lengthy project 

The announcement coming today from City Hall has Mayor Herb Pond making note of the scope and historical moment of the project that was launched in 2015 starting with the replacement of 2.2 kilometres of supply pipe.

“This final return of the City to our original water supply marks the end of one of the biggest infrastructure endeavours the City has seen in recent history. This project was no small undertaking, and it’s a credit to the former Mayor and Council as well as staff that we were able to see it through, despite challenges along the way.”

The community had been on the water supply from Shawatlan Lake since 2016, a supply which at time meant for Boil Water requirements owing to turbidity and other issues.

The city's information release pays tribute to their Federal and Provincial partners that contributed to the infrastructure project and breaks down their contribution towards the project, though no final tally of the cost of the Dam project for  the City,  was included in the statement.

The dam project was funded in part by the Canadian Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF), with the Federal government dedicating $4,295,000, the Province $2,834,700, and the remainder covered by the City through dividends from Prince Rupert Legacy Inc. and borrowing.

The Spillway of the Woodworth Lake Dam
(Image from City of PR)

Todays statement notes that following the completion of the dam structure in the fall, the City’s contractors experienced some delays in obtaining materials needed to reconnect to the Woodworth Lake supply, and additional works were needed to ready the dormant new supply line for service 

Richard Pucci, the City's Director of Operations and Intergovernmental Affairs also notes for residents that it may be a bit of time yet before residents see an improvement to the water as it comes through their taps. 

Advising as to how the switchover may not mean an immediate change in turbidity/colour, due to an increase to the overall lake height, which has introduced new sediment into Woodworth Lake.

“Although, overall things are trending positively, we do not anticipate a drastic change in the water quality with the switch, as the wetted parameter of the Woodworth reservoir basin has increased, and so has the influx of sediments because of it. 

Due to these changes, the community may not see the benefits of cleaner, clearer water until into the summer when the weather calms and the reservoir settles out.”

The last update on the Dam came from the Director of Operations in early January, at that time he had noted that the ability go online for the facility was awaiting the approval Northern Health.

Today's announcement does not explain why it took so long to gain that approval.

As to the next stage of the city's water infrastructure planning, the statement today notes: 

The City is still in the engineering phase of the next phase of our water infrastructure replacement efforts – a water treatment facility – and is currently exploring our options for operating models. 

Updates will be provided to the community regarding the treatment phase of our water infrastructure as they are available.

The Full announcement featuring a range of quotes from Federal and Provincial politicians has been posted to the City Website and their social media stream.

More notes on the city's Major Projects and themes related to the construction of the Dam can be explored through our archive page.

1 comment:

  1. When does the city start getting money back from the power we are generating with this project? As the city has stated we need the money.