A $6 million plan to create three miniature water treatment plants could restore clean local water to Murrayville and Brookswood residents.
Langley Township council debated issues such as cost and preserving the Brookswood-area aquifer at Monday afternoon’s meeting.
Ultimately, the council voted to send the matter to a Council Priorities Committee meeting for further in-depth discussion.
It was unclear exactly when that will happen, as the agenda at the next CPC meeting, in November, is likely already full, according to Township staff.
Since last September, there have been issues with brown water in several Brookswood and Murrayville neighbourhoods, issues which were eventually traced to five local wells.
The issue was spread across multiple areas, but it was intermittent and could be highly variable even on a single street.
Ramin Seifi, the Township’s general manager of community development, noted that some houses would report discoloured water, while others at the other end of the same street would see no issues.
Natural manganese and iron deposits in the groundwater were reacting with an increase in chlorine levels in that part of the municipal water system, resulting in the dark coloured tap water.
Although the issue came to a head last fall, it had apparently been taking place intermittently in some areas as far back as two years, according to Anna Remenik, who spoke on the issue to council last year.
As a short-term solution, in November the Township council voted to cut off the affected wells and switch homes in the area to receiving pure Metro Vancouver water.
Water in much of the Township is “blended,” with some water coming from Metro Vancouver reservoirs, and part coming from local municipal wells.
However, there was a cost to the change. Local water is cheaper to supply, and much of the Township receives water from local wells as a result.
Township engineers have put forward a plan to create three localized water treatment plants, and on Monday asked for the go-ahead to begin detailed design work.
Although the total cost is estimated at about $6.4 million, it will be cheaper in the long run than switching over to Metro Vancouver water, according to the report to council.
It will take about five years for the Township to break even on the new water treatment systems.
If approved, the three small plants will use an oxidation and filtration system to remove the excess minerals before the water heads out to people’s homes.