Sewer line tie-ins funded

Turner Valley: Province agrees to pay for infrastructure

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 08:33 am

Caulkins Place resident Ellen Smith stands near the entrance to her septic field. The Province recently approved funding to run Town sewer lines to the properties.
Caulkins Place resident Ellen Smith stands near the entrance to her septic field. The Province recently approved funding to run Town sewer lines to the properties.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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Homeowners in a Turner Valley subdivision expecting to dig into their pockets this year are breathing a sigh of relief.

The provincial government approved the Town of Turner Valley’s request for $550,000 in flood funding to connect 18 homes in the Caulkins Place subdivision to a main sewer line installed in front of the homes in 2012. Residents were initially required to pay to connect to the line and decommission their septic tanks.

“This is excellent news for us,” said Caulkins Place resident Ellen Smith. “We are very pleased that is going to be covered.”

Residents were given a deadline of fall of 2014 to connect to the pipeline, and Smith said she and her neighbours were not looking forward to the cost.

“We assumed it would be in the $10,000 range but we didn’t have a clue,” she said.

The Town’s request to the Province for financial assistance came as it was desperately searching for additional water sources for its depleting water supply.

Turner Valley has been supplying water to Black Diamond since the town’s water treatment plant was destroyed in last year’s flood, and has since been operating on just one well. Three wells were destroyed in the flood.

Turner Valley business plan administrator Ray Reid estimates the town reservoir has 70 days of water left.

Town of Turner Valley director of engineering and operations Andy Pfeifer said three raw water wells installed in Caulkins Place about 50 years ago were decommissioned in the 1970s due to the threat of contamination from backyard septic tanks, but two of the wells were recently discovered to be in good shape.

“Now all of a sudden the flood happens and there’s an immediate need for those wells,” Pfeifer said. “To reconnect and bring those wells on stream, which we desperately need, we would have to have all the septic fields decommissioned that may contaminate those wells.”

Pfeifer anticipates the project will begin in April and be completed sometime during the summer. The funding will also cover the cost to pump, flush out and fill the 18 septic tanks with gravel and return the yards to their previous state, he said.

Turner Valley Mayor Kelly Tuck said the community is in a desperate situation.

“We are using more than we are able to pump back into the reservoir,” she said. “The sooner we get these wells in the better.”

Tuck said the Town will likely hold a meeting this month to provide information to Caulkins Place residents regarding the situation.

“As soon as consultation is done let’s get it going,” she said. “I want everything lined up.”

Three Turner Valley subdivisions aren’t connected to the Town’s sewer lines, but an agreement was made with Caulkins Place residents following requests to subdivide property so new property owners have a sewer line to connect to, Tuck said.

Residents living in North Royalite Way and Okalta Drive are also on septic tanks, but Tuck said those areas have not yet been addressed.

The Province is also providing $3 million in funding to protect and redirect a portion of the Town’s sewer line along the Sheep River.

Two sections of the line were exposed, but not damaged, during the flood and need to be built up with gravel material to protect it from freezing and possible damage in the spring. A new pipeline will be built on higher ground in the summer, said Pfeifer.

Pfeifer said six or seven metres of the pipe is visible in the water and has shallow cover in another area.

“It’s crucial to protect it now before the spring flood,” he said.

Pfeifer anticipated the project will be complete sometime in the summer.

The Province is also footing the bill for a raw water well adjacent to the Sheep River and a web of perforated intake pipes adjacent to the Sheep River to intercept water flowing along the bedrock to supply the reservoir with much-needed water.

Residents in both communities are on strict orders to conserve water.


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