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City inks $6.9M water contract

City of Prince Rupert approved a $6.9 million contract to replace the pipeline and build an access road to the dam for the city
City of Prince Rupert approved a $6.9 million contract to replace the pipeline and build an access road to the dam for the city's water supply.
— image credit: You Tube: City of Prince Rupert

City council approved a $6.9 million contract to Fort St. John-based Kledo Construction to work on the Shawatlan Raw Water Pipeline Project (or Phase 1) to begin this spring, which will replace the pipeline and build an access road to the dam.

At the March 6 city council meeting, Richard Pucci, director of operations, said the need to replace the 100-year-old dam and 100-year-old supply line at Woodworth Lake will begin this year in a three-phase project.

The complete project will see an access road built to the water source, a new concrete reinforced dam, a high density polyethylene raw water supply line buried under the road and a new submarine line built under Fern Passage for providing potable water into a reservoir for the area.

“Our raw water supply line ... is past any reasonable life expectancy. Therefore this project will not only upgrade and replace the system for the community, but service the potential growth,” Pucci said, adding in his report that a failure of the dam or supply line would be catastrophic to Prince Rupert.

Currently, the 45-inch supply line brings water from Woodworth Lake’s dam, by gravity, to a treatment facility at Shawatlan Lake. The line is “a rolled steel bell and spigot pipe with lead and oakum joints.” Any mudslides or wind-thrown trees endanger its use.

The cost for the project fell outside the approved budget, but the operations and finance departments reallocated approved funds in the 2017 Capital Works Budget to eliminate the shortfall. As well, the city may save $600,000 to $800,000 by sourcing gravel near the construction area, which would take some of the amount off Kledo’s bid.

The city received nine bids, with Kledo’s being the lowest by more than $500,000, at $6,929,214.24.

Coun. Barry Cunningham asked if the company will try to hire as much as possible in the area and Pucci said that the crew will be a mix of those coming down from Fort St. John and offsetting that team with local hires.

Coun. Gurvinder Randhawa asked for a timeline of the project and Pucci responded that the project will last for 145 days of scheduled work, with the hope to have it done by mid-November.

In the meantime, the city will be switching to its secondary water source at Shawatlan Lake, explained Pucci, which does require pumping as the source is at sea level, but is the same water from Woodworth Lake, just lower down the mountain.

Phase 2 (the construction of the dam) will move forward after the completion of Phase 1 and once the city finds out if they have received any funds from the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund grant opportunity from the province and the feds.

The designs for the dam are 35 per cent complete.

A video by the City of Prince Rupert on the city's aging water infrastructure.

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