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Aquifer could solve Devine's water quality problems



The hamlet of Devine?s ongoing problems with its drinking water quality could be solved by a groundwater source.

"It?s the best solution for the area," said Len Clarkson, a public health officer with the Coast-Garibaldi Health Services Society.

According to Clarkson, there is a significant aquifer that runs from Anderson Lake through D?Arcy to Devine that is located 15-30 metres below ground.

"The water quality is excellent and it is quite large and productive," he said, noting that the water tastes "sweet."

The D?Arcy-based N?Quat?qua First Nation currently uses wells connected to the aquifer for its water system.

Devine currently uses a surface source ? Spruce Creek ? for its drinking water and the system is at the risk of being contaminated by logging in the watershed.

Local residents have refused to have their drinking water disinfected with chlorine, leading to a high-hazard rating that puts the system under a constant boil advisory.

Clarkson said a groundwater source requires far less treatment than surface water.

"Using a groundwater source would get us away from chlorination and free the system of turbidity and protozoa problems," he said.

According to Clarkson, residents approved the idea of testing a groundwater source at a public meeting last January.

"A groundwater source is a high priority," he said.

But raising the funds could be the only problem.

Andrew Reeder, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District?s utilities manager, told Pique Newsmagazine in June that he has applied for an infrastructure grant from the provincial government to drill a test well.

According to an SLRD-commissioned water supply study, a test well in the Devine-D?Arcy area would cost $7,500. The development of such a well would cost more than $35,000, plus an annual operating cost of $1,500.

Devine is located about 40 kilometres north of Pemberton.