Thank you for attending the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Clearbrook Waterworks District.
2016 was a busy year for our District and we are planning for exciting capital improvements in 2017. This report details some of the highlights of 2016 and takes a look at what is planned for the near future.
The year started out great, with a win at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Competition; our fourth gold medal in eight years. These consistent first place finishes are not only a testament to our pristine source, but affirmations that our system is sound and our maintenance and operational practices are exemplary.
One of the maintenance practices that we undertake twice per year is flushing. The practice introduces fresh water to the system and allows operators to monitor parameters such as turbidity (clarity of water) and pH (our water is close to neutral). Flushing also ensures that each hydrant in the system is operated at least twice per year, which is necessary to ensure proper operation in the event of an emergency.
In the past, we have always flushed under normal operation, which only ever allowed for a low velocity flush. While this removed loose sediment from the system, the process never actually allowed for any real ‘cleaning’ of the pipes. In 2016, our hydraulic water model was updated and a Unidirectional Flushing Program (UDF) was designed. The UDF is a means of flushing with increased velocities. The system is divided into segments, and the model identifies a series of system valves to be closed so as to move the water in one direction through a targeted section of pipe at higher than normal velocities, creating a scouring effect. During this process, any buildup of organic material is stripped from the walls of pipe, improving water quality and theoretically extending the life of the asset. The UDF program allows the flush to be completed in a shorter time frame while using about 30% less water than a traditional system flush. Moving forward, we will flush unidirectionally towards the end of each summer/early fall and implement a traditional flush in the spring. The UDF does require a full crew to undertake, while the regular flush can be completed with only two crew members.
Last year, we closed Well 1-87 at our Autumn Well Field. Prior analysis had identified that the well was diminishing in productivity and efficiency and therefore, a replacement well (RW 1-87/14) was constructed in 2014. The decision was made to permanently close Well 1-87 to protect the integrity of the aquifer.
Last winter, we started experiencing communication issues associated with our SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system that resulted in the intermittent starting and stopping of our newest well. Our SCADA technician investigated the problem and was unable to find any issues with either the hardware or the programming. This resulted in a telemetry study being undertaken. All of our sites (wells and pump stations) are monitored and controlled through our SCADA system. These sites communicate with each other via radio signal. The telemetry study identified problems with our radio communication. The antennae at all sites were replaced and lightening arrestors and grounding kits were installed and all of the radios were replaced with updated technology. The old were radios were operating on outdated technology that left our system somewhat vulnerable in the event even one piece of hardware failed. The old system also required use of a driver at considerable annual cost. Since we no longer need to use the driver, the new hardware, with increased security, will pay for itself within five years and we have had no communication issues since the new system came online in March.
Our major capital undertaking in 2016 saw nearly 500 meters of water main replaced by our own field crew. Over the summer, the CWD crew replaced (and upsized) water mains on Carlsrue Avenue, Casper Court and Castle Court. The original main sizes ranged from 50 mm (2”) plastic up to 150 mm (6”) A/C and the new water mains are 150 mm and 200 mm Bionax PVCO, which we have been exclusively installing in our system since 2009. All three of the previously dead-ended water mains are now tied together inside Charlotte Park, and we are grateful to the City of Abbotsford for permitting us to do so. By eliminating undesirable dead-ends, we have improved water quality and system hydraulics.
The project also saw the 22 water services drawn from these new mains upgraded to one inch services and an additional fire hydrant installed on Casper Court.
In addition to this, we had approximately 300 meters of water main upgraded to 250 mm Bionax pipe as developer contributions related to commercial projects on Hillcrest Avenue and Mt. Waddington Avenue. These water mains were upgraded as per CWD development bylaw at the developer’s cost.
This past year saw the launch of our new website and with it, the ability to connect with our customers through digital media. Our 2016 Open House was successful and we look forward to connecting with all of you again this summer.
The total volume of water that the District extracted from the aquifer through our wells in 2016 was 1,088,183.2 m³, an increase of slightly less than 1% over the previous year. Of this total, the actual volume of water sold (water that passed through rate payers’ meters) was 856,542.24 m³. The total volume that was discharged to ground was 73,271.28 m³. This number includes reservoir overflow, system flushing, metered hydrant discharge for developer usage, etc. The total volume of unaccounted for water was 158,369.68 m³, or 14.6% of the total that was extracted from the aquifer. This number represents leakage, fire department hydrant usage, fire line flushing in condos and any other discharge that does not pass through a meter.
We are looking forward to building on the successes of the past few years and having another big year in 2017!
In 2017, we have committed to replacing water mains on Springhill Street and Old Yale Road. The water main in this area is 150 mm A/C and we will be upgrading to 250 mm Bionax. The project will be a coordinated effort with the City of Abbotsford, as they will be replacing storm and sanitary works in the area.
This project will be contracted out with CWD conducting inspection and oversight.
In addition to our regular maintenance schedules, our operators will also be busy installing pipe at the Autumn Well Field in support of a new well that is to be completed later this year.
Project RW 2-63/15 was started late in 2015 with test holes and a geological study to determine a productive site for a fourth production well. Our hydrogeologist, Dr. Ineke Kalwij is the project manager and she worked closely with well drillers from Fyfe Well and Water to drill test holes, analyze core samples and locate an ideal location where a portion of well casing and surface seal were installed. Throughout 2016, Dr. Kalwij has been onsite conducting pumping tests and drawing water quality samples in anticipation of the upcoming well construction.
The Fyfe Well and Water crew and Dr. Kalwij will be onsite later this spring and then throughout the summer to undertake construction and completion of the well and will be supported by the District’s field crew.
The well will be the fourth well drilled as part of our Well Replacement Program and the District will now have two wells at each of its sites to add redundancy to the system in the event that one site ever becomes compromised.
As part of this project, the existing pump station will be expanded to house the added controls and equipment. The design will incorporate housing for the generator that was purchased in 2016 so that the well site will continue to operate in the event of a power outage.
The other major capital project that has been planned to start this year is the construction of a new operations facility at our reservoir site to replace the existing facility at the Janzen Street works yard.
The field crew currently operates out of a facility on Janzen Street which is also home to CWD’s original well, 4-54. The building was constructed in 1984 and an addition was built in 1994. With the smaller size of the property, the existing building and storage area present a constricted workspace for the field crew. Because of this, aggregates and emergency response stock are stored up at the reservoir site, where there is space available. It is also necessary to store stock for capital projects such as main replacements up at the reservoir site due to the lack of space available at the Janzen Street works yard. When performing work inside the shop, it is often necessary to move equipment outside to create workspace.
In late 2005, the Board of Trustees formally acknowledged the need for a larger works facility and different options were explored. The original idea was to look at a second expansion of the existing building but lot size, required setbacks and the lack of exterior storage prevented any further planning.
In 2006, the Board directed staff to investigate proposals for a four-bay facility to be constructed up at the reservoir site at 2889 Grandview Crescent. At that time, the thought was that the crew could operate out of both facilities.
In 2007, a consultant was retained to design the new facility. The Board was not satisfied with the proposal and the suggested budget and the project was re-introduced later that year as a design-build with a smaller budget.
In 2008, minor earthwork was started and the plan was to proceed with construction in four phases. However, the need for a comprehensive SCADA system and improvements to the reservoir site became more pressing and the project was tabled.
When the project was re-addressed in early 2010, the idea of consolidation was considered. At that point, management was exploring the idea of consolidating field operations and administration and the idea of a mixed use building was explored. A proposal for a building at the reservoir was investigated and rejected due to cost and logistics. The project was again tabled while the District took on other necessary capital upgrades.
In 2014, management was requested to further investigate consolidation and the replacement of aging buildings. The crew had long since outgrown the existing works facility and the office was nearly 45 years old. The idea was to review our existing properties with an eye towards creating a mixed-use facility so that we could then vacate one or more of our existing properties.
After several ideas were reviewed and rejected, we came to the conclusion that the best location for a larger field operations facility would still be the reservoir site, as that is the only property large enough (and zoned correctly) to suit our needs without having to purchase more property in an inflated market. We also concluded that it would not be practical to house the administration and field operations together because field operations in and around the building may cause conditions unfavourable to customer traffic.
Based on the original idea of the new facility, we had originally identified a budget of $400,000 to complete the project. However, we have since refined the scope of the new building so as to completely vacate the field works from the existing Janzen Street facility. The new building will have a much larger footprint, with office space, staff area, training space, water quality lab and work/testing benches inside the facility. With this, we are also building for the future in the event we expand our equipment inventory and/or staff to accommodate growth. The projected budget for this facility is now $700,000. The building is intended to stand for the next 50 years and could be constructed to support all field activities moving forward.
The Janzen Street facility is home to the District’s original well, Well 4-54. While not currently used as a production well (diminished capacity), we do value the well as an important emergency response piece should we ever experience a major catastrophe. Therefore, we have proposed to move our administration to this site and vacate our existing office at 2564 Clearbrook Road. Once vacant, we would have a choice of maintaining the space for rental income or putting the building up for sale and recouping most, if not all of the construction costs associated with a new facility.
We had originally investigated the idea of “re-purposing” the existing field operations building on Janzen Street into useable office space and the budget that we had proposed in 2016 was $200,000. However, our consultant has conducted a review of the building and has provided us with an opinion that the code deficiencies are too numerous and that the building cannot be renovated to suit our needs. Therefore, we have adjusted our budget to $600,000 to construct a new building in its place.
With construction and material costs continuing to rise, the time to replace our aging facilities is now. The two buildings, properly planned and constructed will support operations for the next generation. At this time, we are well positioned in terms of our savings and our financial projections to manage these projects.
Once the operations facility has been constructed, we intend to investigate the integrity of our existing reservoirs and determine the possible need for increased storage.
Abbotsford’s new Official Community Plan identifies the Clearbrook area as a high density corridor. Should the current growth projections continue as estimated, we may need to increase our reservoir storage.
Reservoir B, our half-million gallon reservoir was constructed in 1972 and is now nearing the end of its estimated useful life. We have budgeted $2,000,000 in 2020 for a replacement and we have budgeted $150,000 in 2019 for some renovation work on Reservoir C, our 1,000,000 gallon reservoir. The need for this work was identified by Phoenix Marine Services, who conduct inspections and cleaning on our reservoirs every 2-3 years.
These numbers may change, depending on the outcome of the study. We will investigate the best possible use of funds, which may include a renovation of Reservoir B if it is proven to be structurally sound and we have sufficient storage for the next few decades of growth. The money planned for this project could then be reallocated to other capital projects, such as water main replacement.
Over the past few years, we have renewed and increased our commitment to capital infrastructure renewal. We have replaced all of the pipe at our reservoir site, built a new pump station, replaced four wells, deleted one aging and problematic reservoir, and we have replaced almost 2.5 kilometers of pipe since 2010, with goals of increasing that rate once the ‘above-ground’ projects are completed.
Our ten year strategic plan is heavy on capital spending but the District is approaching 70 years old and the time for renewal is now. We have worked hard to build a sustainable rate structure that fully supports the system’s operational and capital needs. After the metering project was complete, we saw a time of significant increase in order to get the District’s revenue to the point of full cost recovery, including annual capital revenue. Since 2013, we have seen a sharp decline in rate increases to the point that the 2017 increase is .30%. There have been some adjustments to the fixed rates to ensure that each segment of the District pays its proportional share. Moving forward, our goal remains to keep our rate increases down to the level of recent years, which have been less than the cost of living.
CWD employs a team of skilled and dedicated individuals who are committed to protecting our source, maintaining the integrity of our system, safeguarding the public health, and providing excellent customer service. I would like to commend the entire District staff for their diligence and commitment to success:
James Wiens, Field Supervisor
Ryan Federau, Water Quality Technician
Thomas Page, Safety Liaison
Clint Holness, System Operator
Danette Haar, Comptroller
Kathleen Selinger, Administrative Assistant
I would also like to acknowledge the expert guidance of Dr. Ineke Kalwij, our hydrogeological consultant.
On behalf of the staff, I would like to thank the Board of Trustees for their ongoing support, oversight, sound decision making, and responsible stewardship that is required to maintain the integrity of our water system.
Lastly, we want to extend our sincerest gratitude to you, our stakeholders for your ongoing cooperation and stewardship of our resource. We thank you for your patience during periods of interruption and your willingness to work with our staff to resolve issues and your support of capital projects. Thank you for entrusting us with the care and maintenance of your system and we remain committed to doing so.