Well testing underway at James White
City of Fernie crews have begun to commission and test run the James White Wells, with work expected to run between July 17 and 24.
The testing and start-up of the wells may cause temporary water issues. Changes in drinking water system pressures and turbidity may be possible for a short period of time over the next few days. If there is a quality issue, the city will advise the public
The City of Fernie water system currently relies upon Fairy Creek as its main water source for serving the municipality and West Fernie. The Fairy Creek source is essentially a spring that is enclosed by a structure that directs water into a pipeline that supplies the system. The water is chlorinated and then piped to residents for consumption.
James White Well
The City of Fernie experiences water quality issues each year- typically during spring freshet between April and June, which potentially results in the need for residents to boil their drinking water before its consumption. The city is planning to use two new production wells installed within James White Park to provide safe drinking water quality throughout the year. The new wells are intended to be used for approximately three months (April through June) during the freshet and potentially on other occasions if the main source water quality becomes low. While in operation the well’s water will be extracted at a rate not to exceed 200 litres per second.
The project consists of two well houses in James White Park containing the new production wells, a well control facility located adjacent to the City of Fernie Main Sewage Lift Station in James White Park, and a new water main connecting the pumped water to the existing water system.
Use of the wells was conditional on receiving an Environmental Assessment Certificate approved by the BC Ministry of Environment in keeping with the BC Environmental Assessment Act. This Environmental Assessment Certificate was granted to the city in November 2015.
The information about the Environmental Assessment process and the official certificate are available online.
The city is continuing work to ensure that all 23 conditions of the Environmental Assessment Certificate are being met. As commissioning moves closer, the city is committed to ensuring that well owners and water tenure holders adjacent to the James White Park Wells (within in an approximate three-km radius) will not be negatively impacted during times when the new production wells are in operation. As conditions of the Environmental Assessment Certificate mentioned above, a Well Owner and Surface Water Tenure Holder Engagement Plan, an Aquifer Monitoring Plan and a Surface Water Management Plan were created.
The city will be following the commitments in these reports, which include detailed procedures and frequencies to test water quality and quantity in a large variety of monitoring locations. The monitoring locations will include, the Elk River, Coal Creek, Brewery Creek, the city’s six monitoring wells spread throughout James White Park and the city, and the eight private wells identified as the highest risk for potential impact.
The construction of the wells and associated facilities is nearing completion and the City of Fernie is preparing for the operational phase of this project in 2018.
City of Fernie