Town endorses groundwater monitoring program

Town council has agreed to take a proactive approach towards ensuring the town’s water supply coming from the town’s largest producing

Town council has agreed to take a proactive approach towards ensuring the town’s water supply coming from the town’s largest producing well is not being affected by groundwater below the northeast wastewater lagoon.

At its regular meeting last Monday council gave the go-ahead to a recommendation by CAO Lucien Cloutier to spend $50,000 on a groundwater monitoring program and environmental assessment of the aquifer near the town’s lagoon.

The town also agreed to allocate $18,000 in operational funding to continue to monitor the groundwater.

The study is to establish whether or not connectivity exists between the water that is below the well and the lagoon, said Cloutier in his report to council.

“It is important to emphasize that, at this time our water supply is safe and being carefully monitored in compliance with all Alberta Health Services and Alberta Environment requirements,” he said.

However it is prudent to determine if there is connectivity (between the lagoon and the well), as this will determine whether or not the well needs to be shut down in the future, he added.

Public works foreman Rick Schmidt said he believes the cost of the monitoring program is money well spent.

“It’s in the best interest of the town so we can be sure and provide high quality drinking water.”

The lagoon has been monitored since 2011 when there was concern of a leakage due to problems with the liner, but tests have shown the groundwater has not been affected, he said.

However, Schmidt said the study by AMEC Environment & Infrastructure will be more comprehensive and detailed than previous tests.

“It definitely is a proactive approach and would determine (positively) whether or not there is a leak,” he said. “If there is a leak we need to fix it. The aquifer in Well 13 is the same as in many, many wells in the area.”

The monitoring program is to include measuring groundwater elevations and taking samples which would be analyzed according to Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

Fieldwork on the project is to be completed before winter and analysis completed six weeks prior to the field data collection.