Barriere Wellhead Protection Committee members hit the streets

Submitted by Colleen Hannigan, CAO,

District of Barriere

With two brand new deep wells ready to be added to the District of Barriere’s municipal water system, protecting the deep aquifer these wells draw from is a critical factor in our quest to maintain quality drinking water for Barriere water users.

Our deep wells provide water to over 1700 residents and businesses in Barriere and this water must be protected at its source. It is mandated by provincial legislation that each community develop Well Protection Plans and this work is now underway by the District of Barriere’s Wellhead Protection Committee. The committee members include Chair/Councillor Ward Stamer, Councillor Mike Fennell, Councillor Pat Paula, local citizens Jim Warman and Chris Matthews, area experts Thierry Carriou (Hydrogeologist BC Groundwater Consulting), Dave Thomson (Hydrogeologist Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations), Jessy Bhatti (Interior Health Specialist Environmental Health Officer) and District staff Doug Borrill (Water and Wastewater Manager/ Senior Technician) and Colleen Hannigan (Chief Administrative Officer).

Mapping has been completed of the area most likely to affect the aquifer we draw from, to the best of our abilities, and wells in this area that are over 150 feet in depth, that are registered in the provincial well databases, have been identified. Over the next few weeks some of the Committee members mentioned above will be going door to door to these properties with information on how to make sure your deep wells do not affect this important aquifer that provides water for so many community members. Things such as storing hazardous materials like fuels, solvents and pesticides adjacent your wellhead, keeping the area free from debris, manure piles or clutter, not allowing groundwater to pool at or drain into the wellhead location and making sure your well is properly capped and then decommissioned if it is no longer used are just some of the things that should be carefully considered by all well owners. More information on groundwater protection can be accessed at www.gov.bc.ca/water.

Mapping, gathering well database information, disseminating information and drafting a strategy to protect our water source are steps in producing a long term Wellhead Protection Plan for Barriere as well as for rural properties that also draw from this source.

If you know you have a deep well (over 150’ deep) in the Barriere River Valley or its tributaries, as far east as the old landfill site and are unsure as to whether it has been registered, please contact Colleen Hannigan by email at channigan@barriere.ca or by phone at 250-672-9751 for more information on how you can be part of the plan to protect our water.

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