Thank you for your interest in the operations and affairs of the Clearbrook Waterworks District and thank you for taking the time to attend our 65th Annual General Meeting.
2017 saw some major capital projects completed and we have exciting projects planned for 2018. Please read through this report for a full 2017 review and details of what is in store for 2018.
Water Main Upgrade
130 meters of A/C water main on Old Yale Road and Springhill Street were replaced with high density polyethylene pipe. The water main that was replaced was at risk of fracture, as the original trench was situated in an area rich in peat and was sinking. With the new main, we have eliminated a section of at-risk pipe and replaced it with a stronger, lighter weight material. Additionally, the new main was bedded with light weight fill so as to avoid further sinking. Six services were upgraded along with the new section of main.
This project was completed at the request of the city of Abbotsford, as their storm and sanitary infrastructure in the area is also in need of replacement but could not be accomplished until our works were completed. With this project, we replaced A/C water main at critical risk but we also upsized for future growth.
Replacement Well Project
We added a fourth well as part of our well replacement project, which has been ongoing since 2010. RW 2-63/17, as the new well is named, is located at our Autumn Avenue Well Field. With this addition, we now have two high capacity wells at each of our well sites. The new well runs in regular rotation with the other three. We have improved security and redundancy with two wells at each site.
Autumn Pump Station Expansion
In order to house the controls for the new well, we expanded the existing pump station. The pump station expansion was also designed to accommodate a generator that was purchased the year prior so the Autumn well site is fully automated in the event of a power outage. We have also added a chlorine storage room so that we are able to store material on site in the event we are ever mandated to use our temporary emergency chlorinators.
Along with the well and pump station expansion, our own field crew installed the on-site piping necessary to accommodate the new well.
Pump Station Demo/Well Closure
In advance of construction of a new operations facility at our reservoir site, we have attended to site prep which included demolition of the old pump station, no longer in use, which sits in the construction footprint of the new building. We also closed Observation Well 5-78. The exploratory well was drilled in 1978 but was not productive in terms of quantity or quality. The site has been cleared and gravelled and awaits construction.
Our second replacement well, RW 7-00/13 was constructed in 2013. In late 2017, we performed preventative maintenance on the well. During the process, the pump, motor and drop line are removed and a downhole video inspection is performed. Following the initial inspection, the well screen is chemically treated, scrubbed and the detritus is bailed out. Once the cleaning is completed, another downhole inspection is performed. The well is then disinfected and brought back online.
Hydraulic Capacity Analysis
We commissioned GeoAdvice Engineering to conduct a hydraulic modeling and capacity analysis for us. Based on the City of Abbotsford’s growth projections, we looked at ranking water main improvements and infrastructure upgrades in order to support population growth through 2041. We looked at whether or not we should increase reservoir storage and how we can better support high density development. The analysis has provided us with another tool to help inform our capital planning for years to come. We will build on this in 2018 with the production of a fully formed Water Master Plan.
Along with the capital projects listed above, we continued to implement our regular maintenance schedules which include water main flushing and hydrant maintenance. We have improved on our asset maintenance tracking this year with the implementation of Mobile311. Our field operators now carry tablets and they are able to input all of the maintenance data, including information pertaining to our hard assets. This is part of our asset management program and will help to extend the useful life of our assets. The program also allows us to issue and track work orders, with a history being stored that can be called up instantly.
The total volume of water that the District extracted from the aquifer through our wells in 2017 was 1,063,324.70 m³, a decrease of about 2% over the previous year. Of this total, the actual volume of water sold (water that passed through rate payers’ meters) was 852,998 m³, down 0.4% over the previous year. The total volume that was discharged to ground was 63,546.05 m³. This number includes reservoir overflow, system flushing, metered hydrant discharge for developer usage, etc. The total volume of unaccounted for water in 2017 was 146,780.65 m³, or 13.8% of the total that was extracted from the aquifer. This number, a historical low, represents leakage, fire department hydrant usage, fire line flushing in condos and any other discharge that does not pass through a meter.
Berkeley Springs Gold Medal
We have started the year off on a winning note, having been awarded our fifth gold medal for having the world’s best municipal tap water. A panel of judges deemed our water the world’s best at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition, the largest and longest running event of its kind. Clearbrook Waterworks is the winningest water in the history of the event. Rayna Federau, our Water Quality Technician had this to say:
“It’s great to reaffirm what the people of Clearbrook have known for 65 years: We have the best water there is. We take a lot of pride in ensuring that this award winning water is of the same quality and taste at your tap as it is at the source. With this 5th gold medal, we are reminded again that there is something very special about our water, and it is important that we all do our part to make certain that future generations can enjoy it as well.”
As previously mentioned, we continue to push forward with plans to construct a new operations facility for our field crew to operate out of up at our reservoir site. For this project, CWD will act as the general contractor, hiring subcontractors in order to reduce construction costs. The field crew will be active, installing all of the required civil works and taking on some of the construction finishing ourselves. We are planning to install the civil works this spring and will endeavour to help out with construction finishing in the fall.
Water Main Upgrade
This summer, our own field crew will install approximately 260 meters of upgraded water main on Stanley Street, with the main continuing through the parking lot at Ten Broeck Elementary and tying in on Hill Tout Street. With this project, 11 services will be upgraded and 60 meters of the project will be at developer’s cost.
The upgrade was a recommendation of the hydraulic water modeling and capacity analysis. The existing 150 mm A/C water main is considered a bottle neck with flow impedances. The upgraded main will be 250 mm Bionax pipe.
Advanced Metering Infrastructure
In 2018, we will begin the process of adopting advanced metering infrastructure. Later this spring, we will start converting existing meters with registers that will send a signal to our office, allowing us to read the meters remotely, frequently and in real time. This will enable us to catch leaks as they start, saving the rate payers money and boosting our conservation efforts. Consumers will even be able to install an app on their phones that will give them alerts if a leak starts. The consumer can even set notification alerts that will send a note when they’ve reached a predetermined threshold.
Emergency Water Supply Equipment
In January, we received our first shipment of emergency water supply equipment from Israel and we will be placing a second order this spring. The new equipment will enable us to set up temporary mobile water supply stations in the event of an emergency. The idea is that no one should have to walk more than 500 meters to get access to potable water in the event we suffer failure of the system due to catastrophic events. We will be able to supply Clearbrook residents with potable water until our system is up and running again. Look for this equipment to be on display at our annual open house this summer, on August 24th.
At our last AGM, we introduced three proposed projects that we deemed as ‘generational’. The intention was to construct the operations facility last year and start on the administration office in 2018. However, permitting delays have altered the schedule and the construction on the operations facility is slated to start this spring, with the administration office pushed to 2019 and the reservoir replacement pushed to 2021. Please read on for a description of the projects:
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. 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.
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. Based on contractor submissions, we have increased the budget from $700,000 to $1.2 million. However, we are expecting to undertake much of the work ourselves which should produce some cost savings. The building is intended to stand for the next 50 years and will 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.
Reservoir B, our half million gallon reservoir was constructed in 1972. With the reservoir nearing the end of its useful life, we have budgeted $2.5 million for a replacement in 2021. We have also budgeted $150,000 for rehabilitation of Reservoir C, our one million 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.
We have been in regular contact with engineers and reservoir specialists regarding our aging reservoirs. Originally, we had hoped to rehabilitate Reservoir B, but seismic codes have changed over the years and the original construction of the building makes rehab difficult and costly. We are currently studying how population growth and projected development will impact our system and how that relates to storage capacity. We are still studying various options for new construction versus rehab and whether or not both reservoirs can or should be consolidated.
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, expanded a pump station to include automation and emergency response scenarios, and we have replaced almost 3 kilometers of pipe since 2010, with goals of increasing that rate once the ‘above-ground’ projects are completed.
Ten Year Strategic Plan/Zero Rate Increase for 2018
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 2018 increase is 0%! 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
David McWilliams, Operator-in-Training
Danette Haar, Financial Administrator
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.
I would like to highlight and acknowledge the service of Trustee John Taves, who has served as a Trustee of our District since 2003. Trustee Taves has dedicated countless hours to the District and his thoughtful guidance, dedication and service as a Board member has left the District in a sound operational and financial position. On behalf of the staff, we are grateful for Trustee Taves’ diligent stewardship.
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 the task.