A new Well No. 2 is needed by the District of Houston to provide a safe backup water supply. (Anqelique Houlihan photo)

A new Well No. 2 is needed by the District of Houston to provide a safe backup water supply. (Anqelique Houlihan photo)

District needs a new back up well

Risk of contamination if current one ever used

The District of Houston is applying for a $1.176 million federal/provincial grant to replace its Well No. 2 because the current one, a back up to Well No. 1, is only suitable during emergencies.

And because of the high risk for contamination should the well be used, a boil water advisory is then issued.

That dollar value requested works out to just over 73 per cent of the anticipated project cost and the District must come up with the remaining 27 per cent or $428,054 for a total cost of $1.605 million, a briefing document from deputy corporate services director Madelaine Swift and reviewed by council at its Jan. 4 meeting indicated.

This will be the second time the District has applied for a grant to replace Well No. 2. A first application in 2019 was rejected but the District was encouraged to re-apply to a different federal-provincial program.

Swift told council the estimated cost would include needed piping, electrical controls and a building to contain them, a power supply, site preparation and to take not just the current Well No. 2 out of service but also two other unsuitable wells, No. 3 and No. 4, both of which are no longer used.

Further information provided by the District’s consultant, Urban Systems, highlighted the need for a new Well No. 2.

“Well No. 1 is critical to the District’s water supply and there is currently no redundancy other than Well No. 2 in the event it fails,” the consultants noted in information presented to council.

“However, Well No. 2 cannot sustain the community’s water demand [it] is a risk to public health.”

But while the deadline to apply is Jan. 26, the District might not hear if it is successful until the Spring of 2023. If successful, the remainder of 2023 would be spent planning the project and then starting construction with completion set for 2024.

The District’s portion of the project cost, $428,054, would come from the water capital reserve.