Well Protection Plan
Lot owners of the Savary Shores Improvement District need to be aware of the changes that have come about as a result of the passing of the BC Drinking Water Protection Act and the setting of regulations to enforce the Act.
We have a community well system that has new requirements that must be met, including the application for a water licence and the payment of a yearly water fee. The legislation also requires that Improvement Districts have a Wellhead Protection Plan that helps protect community wells from contamination that would affect the safety of their drinking water.
As directed by the Drinking Water Officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, SSID engaged a hydrogeologist in July to determine the shape and size of a Wellhead Protection Area in Savary Shores. The resulting Wellhead Protection Plan has now been completed and approved by the Drinking Water Officer, so SSID must move forward with a Bylaw to incorporate the Plan’s recommendations. It is anticipated that the Bylaw will be completed by year end.
The PDF Well Protection Map shows the 2 outlined areas that will be affected by SSID Bylaw No. 123, currently in draft stage. The Setback Area includes properties within 60 metres of the two community wells, and the larger Well Capture Zone is the area that drains toward the wells.
DRINKING WATER SAFETY
First, it should be said that both the hydrogeologist and the Drinking Water Officer have commended SSID on a well-run system. SSID’s operations have ensured that the community’s drinking water is well within the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines for purity. The Wellhead Protection Plan states that, “There has been a good monitoring record of physical and chemical water quality dating back to 1989.”
There is concern however, that if the current sewerage use in the Well Capture Zone were to increase, which is probable due to population increase, the drinking water for all 216 properties of SSID could be affected by increased levels of contaminants.
SSID Bylaw No.123 will include moderate restrictions on land use of all properties within the Well Capture Zone. The Capture Zone lots include 15-19, 30-36, 41-57, 123-128, and portions of lots 7-9, 14, 40, 58, and 118-120.
More stringent restrictions will be applicable to land use within the Setback Area. Properties within the Setback Area include lots 126-127, and portions of 118, 125, and 128. Septic systems already in these lots, and those still to be developed, present a risk to the safety of the community’s drinking water.
RESTRICTIONS ON SEPTIC SYSTEMS
Effective immediately, no septic system may be installed or changed within the Setback Area.
SSID is currently researching methods and costs for alternative septic systems that might serve as exceptions to the Setback Area restriction. These alternative systems would have to significantly reduce or eliminate the production of certain contaminants, and if so, would become part of the Bylaw as an option.
Download the full Well Protection Plan PDF here.
Dan Glover is the Drinking Water Officer at Vancouver Coastal Health. He may be contacted at Dan.Glover@vch.ca, or by mail to 5000 Joyce Avenue, Powell River, BC V8A 5R3.
Dale Gregory, Chairperson
Bryan Miles, Trustee
Jeff Isert, Trustee