Construction on an ultra violet (UV) disinfection facility is expected to begin this fall, as part of the municipality’s $12 million upgrades to Whistler’s 21 Mile Creek water system.
Council is expected to award the construction contract within the next month, and the Resort Municipality of Whistler has budgeted $1.7 million for the UV system, which has been on the books since 2006, according to capital projects manager John Nelson.
“We still chlorinate both our surface source and our ground water source, but the UV is just an added level of treatment that is necessary on surface sources,” Nelson explained.
The 900 square foot UV facility will be built next to the Whistler cemetery and will be accessed via the cemetery’s road off Alta Lake Road.
Residents can expect some disruption while construction of the facility and road repaving are underway, but the cemetery will be open for internment services and visitors, said an RMOW press release.
The municipality will also make sure burial area boundaries and the scattering garden are both marked and protected throughout the construction period. And contractors will stop building during any burial services.
Currently, the 21 Mile Creek water is disinfected by chlorination and piped to the village under Alta Lake.
The UV disinfection facility is part of four upgrades to Whistler’s 21 Mile Creek water system, which provides about 75 per cent of the town’s water supply. The upgrades are intended to improve the safety and capacity of the municipality’s water system, said RMOW staff.
The municipality is tapping into a new groundwater source at Rainbow Park that will connect to the village’s water grid through a pipeline along Lorimer Road. Both the pipeline installation and the pump station construction are underway. Each is expected to cost $5.2 million, said Nelson.
An upgrade to the 21 Mile Aquifer Wells is also scheduled to take place between 2010 and 2012.
Both the Alpine Meadows and Emerald Estates neighbourhoods have their own water systems, and the Benchlands is serviced by the Blackcomb system, which is connected to the main system.
The RMOW is also looking to develop a new groundwater source at Function Junction to supply the athletes’ village.
Whistler’s water is continually checked by the municipality, which spends $1.19 million per year on water operations. The sampling and testing program involves 33 different sample points where the water is tested for bacteriological contamination like E. coli and coliform.
In 2007, E. coli and coliform tests showed there were no bacteria in the water.