For the first time in over 20 years, Boston Bar residents have access to clean, safe drinking water.
A new integrated water system and treatment facility officially opened last Thursday, ending a long-standing boil advisory in the community.
“It’s a wonderful system,” said area director Lloyd Forman.
“We have been a depressed area since the mill closure and this is probably the first bright spot we’ve had in the last five, six years. We’re sort of hoping this is a stepping stone towards better things.”
The Boston Bar treatment facility was designed similar to the one in North Bend and integrates seven separate drinking water systems into one.
Water travels through a pressure sand filter to remove large particles before passing through a series of cartridge filters, which are changed about every three days.
It is then disinfected by UV reactors and low levels of chlorine prior to entering the 465 cubic metre reservoir. The entire system flows by gravity from the intake at One and One Quarter Mile Creek, through the plant, into the reservoir, and then to the distribution system through a pressure reducing valve.
There is also an extensive computer control system in place to allow the FVRD to check the status and make adjustments remotely at anytime from anywhere in the region via computer or smartphone.
“It’s surprising to think that in this day and age in our country, for years now this community has had to boil water,” said Chilliwack-Hope MLA Gwen O’Mahony, noting that it’s been a “tremendous battle.”
In 2007, residents petitioned the Fraser Valley Regional District to provide potable drinking water in Boston Bar.
Water from the old systems wasn’t treated and didn’t meet health requirements. Adequate fire protection was also not possible in the past due to low water pressure and the lack of reservoirs. Over 2,750 metres of new water mains and fire hydrants were installed during the upgrade.
The FVRD received two-thirds funding for project from the Canada/British Columbia Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund and provincial Towns for Tomorrow Program.
The $1.8 million grant contributions, along with the support of the Boston Bar First Nations, allowed the FVRD to undertake the $2.5 million water system upgrade.
“Our government recognizes that investments in infrastructure, like this new integrated water treatment facility, play an important role in strengthening our communities and economy,” said MP Mark Strahl.
“This project has stimulated the local economy during its completion and will continue to grow economic growth by providing reliable, modern infrastructure.”