Cove Bay Water Treatment Plant

In 2014 the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) advised Bowen Island Municipality that the current system of chlorination of Cove Bay water is inadequate to address the issue of contamination.  The Cove Bay system is supplied water from an unprotected watershed and is required to upgrade the water treatment process. Using a multi stepped treatment process, the new water treatment plant will address issues required by VCH, as well as other enhancements to provide the community with high quality water.  It will:

  • Remove small particles of organic matter and minerals (turbidity), which is the current cause of discolouration and a contributor to the health risk
  • Remove microscopic viruses and parasites
  • Adjust the pH level of the water
  • Remove manganese, which is a naturally occurring element
  • And, as required today, kill any coliforms and E.coli

The Cove Bay water treatment plant will result in clean, clear and safe drinking water for over 600 properties connected to the Cove Bay Water System.

Project Updates

October 28, 2019: Alternative Approval Process Results

Council received the results of the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) for Bylaw 488, 2019. During the 32 day submission period, a total of seven Elector Response Forms were received. Elector approval was obtained through the AAP as fewer than 10% of eligible electors objected to the Bylaw. Council adopted the Bylaw, and approved staff to proceed with the process for borrowing $2,533,000 to build the Water Treatment Plant.

September 10, 2019

Bowen Island Municipality received approval of the Inspector of Municipalities for Bylaw 488, 2019.

At its regular meeting on September 9, 2019, Council approved the following for the Alternative Approval Process (AAP):

  • The Elector Response Form;
  • The estimated number of electors in the area defined for the AAP is 1,190;
  • The deadline for receiving Elector Response Forms is 4:30 PM on Monday, October 21, 2019.
  • Read the staff report

July 8, 2019

Council gave three readings to Loan Authorization Bylaw No.488, 2019. Adoption of the bylaw would allow long term borrowing of up to $2,533,000 to be used for the construction of the Water Treatment Plant. The bylaw will require elector approval by means of an Alternative Approval Process (AAP).

June 24, 2019

Council received an update on the Cove Bay Water Treatment Plant. The Municipality will take ownership of the land when the subdivision - part of the Grafton Lake Lands development - is completed. The next step is to borrow the funds required for the Municipal portion of construction costs. Council directed staff to bring forward a loan authorization bylaw to the July 8th Council meeting, and to undertake an alternative approval process.

May 13, 2019

Council received a staff report from the Public Works Manager with an update on the Cove Bay Water Treatment Plant project.

December 10, 2018

At a Committee of the Whole meeting held on December 10, 2018, the Manager of Public Works presented a project briefing and a PowerPoint Presentation providing an update on the Cove Bay Water Treatment Plant including the history, work-to-date and planned next steps.


Background Information

The project was set in motion in 2017 when Bowen Island Municipality received a $3,890,367 grant from the joint Federal/Provincial Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Component. The grant represents a 2/3 share of the cost of the full-scale water treatment plant.

The pilot project was operational until the end of November 2017, during which time water samples treated with the ceramic ultra-filtration membrane process were analyzed, and municipal staff trained on the operation and maintenance of the system. The ceramic ultra-filtration membrane process – a technology developed in Canada – filters out bacteria, pathogens and organic matter in the water.  This means less chlorine is required to be added to the water in order to meet Vancouver Coastal Health Authority’s Drinking Water Treatment Objective.

Report: Result of the Water Treatment Plan Pilot Study (PDF)

Frequently asked questions

What is being built?

A water treatment plant is being built to provide additional cleaning and disinfection of Cove Bay Water.  This added treatment will satisfy the recommendation of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) to use improved treatment methods for Cove Bay Water.

The heart of this treatment plant will be ceramic filters, providing “ultra-filtration”.  These filters will be supported by a number of other processes including coagulation and flocculation of particles ahead of the filters, and then ultra-violet (UV) disinfection and chlorination after the filters.  In this case chlorination is still required to ensure water remains disinfected throughout the systems distribution system.  However, the quantity of chlorine will be reduced and the stability of the chlorine residuals in the water will improve.  Finally, the treated water will enter a new storage tank prior to distribution to the users.   This tank provides temporary storage of treated water to balance the difference between the average and maximum water demands throughout the day.

How is the water currently treated, and is it safe to drink now?

The water is currently drawn from Grafton Lake and run through a screen that separates out dirt and debris. Chlorine is then added to provide disinfection.  Cove Bay water quality currently meets BC Drinking Water Protection Regulations, however the VCHA recommends incorporating a second method, such as filtration and/or UV disinfection to improve the water quality.

Why is Vancouver Coastal Health recommending Cove Bay Water build a water treatment plant?

Regulation of drinking water quality is a provincial responsibility. Each province and territory has developed legislation and/or policies to protect the quality of drinking water from source to tap. All jurisdictions base their requirements on the Canadian Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality and enforce them through legislation, regulation or permitting.

In most Canadian communities, drinking water is treated, stored and delivered to homes and businesses by the local government. The Municipality manages the day-to-day operation, maintenance and monitoring of the drinking water treatment and distribution to ensure the water delivered to consumers meets the required drinking water quality standards. Water quality standards for all districts in British Columbia are established by the BC Drinking Water Protection Regulation. VCHA has the authority to enforce the regulation through treatment standards and by attaching conditions to water system operating permits.

A VCHA Inspection report in January 2014 observed several violations and required the Municipality to submit a compliance plan to satisfy progressive treatment expectations.

Work and studies to date

  • 1997: Dayton & Knight recommended that the Cove Bay Water System develop a plan involving filtration to enhance water treatment and to monitor water quality both in the watershed in Grafton Lake.
  • 1998: Dayton & Knight produced a Cove Bay Water System Drought Management Plan.
  • 2001: Dayton & Knight presented a water treatment plant predesign with recommendations.
  • 2002-2003: Grafton Lake Watershed Study.
  • 2005: Cove Bay Water System Universal Metering Project was introduced. It took about 5 years to install water meters for all houses and businesses in the district.
  • 2009: Dayton & Knight presented the Cove Bay Water System Long Range Plan Update. Recommendations were that the available storage in Grafton Lake should be increased to match the storage allowed in the water licences by raising the spillway 20 feet, and that the Cove Bay Water System should seek to install a filtration system to better treat and secure its water supply.
  • 2012: Opus Dayton Knight produced a Cove Bay Water Conservation Plan.
  • 2012-13: Creus contracted the replacement of Grafton Lake Dam.
  • 2012-13: Opus Dayton Knight produced an Affordability Study on Water Treatment Plan, recommending a Dissolved Air Flotation Plant.
  • 2015: Bowen Island Municipality applied for funding but did not receive any grants.
  • 2016: Dayton & Knight (Opus International) looked into alternative treatments.
  • 2016: Bowen Island Municipality applied for funding of a Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration plant and the grant was approved.
  • 2017: a Pilot Treatment Test was completed with successful results.

What was the Pilot Treatment Test, and why was it necessary?

The first step in the project was to set up a Pilot Treatment Test of the Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration technology. A mini treatment plant was housed in a container beside Grafton Lake.  This test operated throughout the summer, and the resulting treated water was analyzed to assess the finished quality.  The test was necessary to ensure the technology worked for Grafton Lake water. 

While there are several instances of this treatment technology in Canada and the United States, there are no similar plants located in British Columbia.  In 2017, Public Works Staff and the Engineering Consultant visited a Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration plant in Vicksburg, Mississippi to research the technology and learn more about its operation.

What kind of filtration will the water treatment plant use?

The chosen technology is a Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration system manufactured in Canada. Water is pushed through a ceramic filter. Particles that cannot pass through the ceramic pores flow to a thickener and the wastes can be hauled away or drained into settling ponds.

Why was Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration technology selected?

Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration was selected based on Water Sampling from Dayton & Knight and the Municipality in 2010-11. This technology was chosen because it is approximately 25% cheaper than traditional Dissolved Air Flotation plants, and is expected to cost significantly less per year to operate.

What are the benefits of Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration technology?

  • It can accommodate facilities needing a small “footprint”.
  • It can help to remove microscopic parasites from treated water by physically removing their cells.
  • It is very effective at reducing colour. Coupled with filtration, the Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration process will provide extremely clear water that is suitable for disinfection by Ultraviolet light. The primary issue for Cove Bay is colour and organics which are generally too light to settle on their own.
  • The Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration process is very effective at removing disinfection by-product precursors.  These compounds react with chlorine to product Trihalomethanes (THMs) and Haloacetic Acids (HAAs) both regulated disinfection by-products. Once these substances have been removed, it is possible that less chlorine will be required for primary disinfection and the taste and odour of the finished water will be significantly improved.

What water quality can we expect from a new plant? Will the Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration process improve my household water quality?

The new Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration facility is intended to deliver clean, clear, high quality drinking water. Users should experience a significant improvement in taste and odour with this updated treatment process.

How much will the treatment plant cost?

The estimated cost to build the plant is $7.6 million.

How will the plant be paid for?

The Provincial and Federal Governments awarded a $3.8 million grant to Bowen Island Municipality to help pay for the water treatment plant. The Cove Bay Water System has about $1.1 million in reserves, and the remaining funds need to be borrowed from the Municipal Finance Authority.

Council intends to adopt “Bowen Island Municipality Loan Authorization (Cove Bay Water Treatment Plant) Bylaw No.488, 2019”. The purpose of Bylaw 488 is to authorize the municipality to borrow up to $2,533,000, to be repaid over a period not exceeding 30 years, in order to finance the municipal portion of the Cove Bay Water Treatment Plant project. 

Council may adopt Bylaw 488 unless, by 4:30 PM on Monday, October 21, 2019, at least 10% of the electors in the Cove Bay Water System Local Service Area (shown on map below) sign an Elector Response Form opposing the proposed bylaw. This is called an Alternative Approval Process (AAP).

Will my water rates increase?

Based on current users connected to the water system, user rates will increase by $213 per connected property. This project will also allow new users to connect to the system, and as these users join, the water system impact per connected property will decrease.

When will construction start?

Once funding is secured, a Request for Proposals will be issued and tenders will be awarded, with construction anticipated to start in early 2020.

Where will the new plant be built?

The Water Treatment Plant will be built near Grafton Lake, northwest of Grafton Road and Connelly Road.

What will the new plant consist of?

The main building will be a single floor building with some infrastructure located in below-ground tanks. The main floor will house two ceramic “trains” with an option for an additional train to be installed when needed as flows increase in the future as well as all ancillary equipment such as pumps, pipes and electrical equipment. The building will also contain a small office, lab and bathroom, chemical room as well as chlorine equipment and, if needed, waste de-watering equipment. Finished water will be pumped to an above-ground storage tank.

Who’s going to build the new plant? Will it go to tender?

WSP Engineering has been hired to manage this project and a number of select contractors with experience building water treatment plants will be invited to bid on the contract. The successful bidder will act as the Prime Contractor and sub-contract out specialized segments of the construction.

Will the building have any special features or amenities such as an office or meeting rooms?

There will be a small lab and office for the operator to conduct required water quality testing to manage the treatment process. The only other amenity will be a washroom.

Will the new plant structure allow for additional equipment to be added at a future date or will a building expansion be needed in the future?

The design will allow for the future installation of additional Ceramic Membrane Ultrafiltration train treatment equipment, and is sited to allow for future expansion if required.

How long will it take to build?

Once construction starts, it is expected to take 8-12 months to build.

What is the Alternative Approval Process?

Bowen Island Municipal Council intends to adopt “Bowen Island Municipality Loan Authorization (Cove Bay Water Treatment Plant) Bylaw No.488, 2019”. The purpose of Bylaw 488 is to authorize the municipality to borrow up to $2,533,000, to be repaid over a period not exceeding 30 years, in order to finance the municipal portion of the Cove Bay Water Treatment Plant project. 

Based on current users connected to the water system, Cove Bay user rates will increase by $213 per connected property. This project will also allow new users to connect to the system, and as these users join, the water system impact per connected property will decrease. 

Council may adopt Bylaw 488 unless, by 4:30 PM on Monday, October 21, 2019, at least 10% of the electors in the Cove Bay Water System Local Service Area (shown on map below) sign an Elector Response Form opposing the proposed bylaw.

The number of electors in the area defined for the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) is estimated to be 1,190. The number of responses required (10%) to prevent the local government from proceeding unless a vote is held (for example, a referendum), is estimated to be 119. Read how these estimates were determined.

Elector Eligibility

In order to sign an Elector Response Form, a person must be either a Resident Elector or a Non-Resident Property Elector.

A Resident Elector must:

  • be 18 years of age or older;
  • be a Canadian citizen; 
  • have lived in British Columbia for at least six months;
  • have lived in the jurisdiction for at least 30 days; 
  • live in the area defined for the AAP (shown on map above); and 
  • not be disqualified under the Local Government Act or any other enactment from voting in a local election, or be otherwise disqualified by law.

A Non-Resident Property Elector must:

  • be 18 years of age or older;
  • be a Canadian citizen; 
  • have lived in British Columbia for at least six months;
  • have owned property in the jurisdiction for at least 30 days;
  • own property in the area defined for the AAP (shown on map above); and
  • not be disqualified under the Local Government Act or any other enactment from voting in a local election, or be otherwise disqualified by law.

Note: Only one Non-Resident Property Elector may sign an Elector Response Form per property, regardless of how many people own the property; and, that owner must have the written consent of a majority of the other property owners to sign the response form on their behalf. Property owned in whole or in part by a corporation does not qualify under the Non-Resident Property Elector provisions.

How to submit an Elector Response Form

If you are IN FAVOUR of Bylaw 488 being adopted, do not submit an Elector Response Form. No action is required.

1. If you are NOT IN FAVOUR of Bylaw 488 being adopted, please print, complete and sign an Elector Response Form (PDF)

  • OR pick up a paper form at Municipal Hall during regular hours of operation (Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, excluding statutory holidays)

2. Deliver the Elector Response Form in person or by mail to:

Bowen Island Municipality
Attn: Corporate Officer
981 Artisan Lane
Bowen Island, B.C.  V0N 1G2

Elector Response Forms must be received by 4:30 pm on Monday, October 21, 2019. Original signed forms must be submitted. Faxed or e-mailed copies will not be considered.

Questions?

Please contact Hope Dallas-Kerr, Corporate Officer at 604-947-4255 or hdallas@bimbc.ca.

Last Updated on 2019-11-08 at 10:45 AM