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The chair of Charlottetown’s water and sewer utility committee says the city will begin developing a new water source later this fall.
Shovels are expected to be in the ground in the Miltonvale area by November.
“This is a big step,’’ said Coun. Edward Rice. “It shows, first of all to everybody involved who had doubts after years of waiting and waiting, that we are finally moving forward.’’
Craig Walker, manager of the utility, said the multimillion-dollar project will be completed in phases as federal and provincial dollars become available.
“We’re hoping, perhaps in November, to be on the property to finish well drilling,’’ Walker said. “We’re (also) hoping to be in the field doing the next piece of the construction that’s involved.’’
Altogether, the property is going to have five new wells on it. Pumping will be set up so that only three of them will be required at any one time to meet the daily demand on the system. The other two wells will be rotated in and out as the city carries out typical maintenance or if problems occur.
“It allows a little redundancy to deal with any problems or maintenance that we have to do going forward,’’ Walker said.
When the water begins to flow from the wells in Miltonvale, the city will have access to a total of 18 wells. It currently draws water from the Winter River-Tracadie Bay watershed via 13 wells — four at its Brackley location, five at the Union station and four at Suffolk.
“The number of wells aren’t as important as what we can pump from each of them.’’
Right now, the city is pumping 3,050 imperial gallons of water per minute. Once the new well field comes online in 2016, the city will be able to pump 4,100 imperial gallons per minute. That’s more than 18,600 litres per minute.
“When (the new well fields) are in place they’ll supply a quarter of the capacity.’’
The initial round of funding came through from both the federal and provincial governments last week to make the first phase of work possible.
The project also calls for a giant water tower, similar to the ones that rise above the trees in Stratford and Cornwall. Walker said Charlottetown’s tower will be slightly larger and will have the capacity to carry a little more than two million gallons. The city does have storage capacity now but that infrastructure is aging and no longer adequate to cope with a growing municipality.
The new water source will also supply the homes in Miltonvale, including the trailer park. It’s part of an agreement for allowing the city develop the new well fields in their community.
Rice said the project is going to create jobs.
“It means that we’ll be able to create employment for the contractors over the winter, which is always great.’’
Rice added that residents in Charlottetown are to be commended for their patience and for following the city’s water conservation guidelines the past two years.
“We took a giant step forward. (Residents) recognize the value of water and have taken ginormous steps.’’