On Tuesday, July 16, the District of Barriere sent out notifications to Barriere residents that the community was once again being put on Stage 2 Watering Restrictions due to a lightning strike which had impacted the entire municipal water system.
This comes after a previous shutdown of the main well, Deep Well 2 (DW2), due to mechanical failure on Feb. 18, 2019. The shutdown caused almost four months of water restrictions, and ongoing problems with the quality and aesthetics of the water from the two new Bradford wells being used during that time. When DW2 finally came back online May 31, both residents, municipal staff and council breathed a great sigh of relief.
Unfortunately, that relief has been short lived, and now with another shutdown underway, plus another large repair bill for the municipality, no one is smiling at city hall.
Mayor Ward Stamer says he is more than frustrated with the turn of events that have plagued the community’s water system this year, but he also says it was Mother Nature that knocked it down this time.
“Lightening took out the tower at our North Reservoir, and it ties into the South Reservoir which then affected the electronics in the system,” said Stamer, “One of the new Bradford Wells ended up over pumping, which resulted in those wells (Pw1 and PW2) having to be shut down.”
Stamer saws PW1 is fine, but the pump has had to be pulled out of PW3, and currently engineering is taking place onsite.
“We could be able to pull PW3 and DW1 pumps this week and then would have a better assessment of the situation by the weekend,” said Stamer, “Once repairs are made we will purge the well and then put the pump back in, which could take two weeks to a month.”
Can the municipality protect itself from well problems and water restriction situations as experienced this year?
The Mayor says there are plans for “going forward”.
“We are going to bring DW1 back online as a backup so that we have more options,” said the Mayor, “Right now there is only DW2 that is functioning, and if that goes down we are basically then into an emergency situation with only a couple 100 gallons range for the whole system – that’s it!”