Cobble Hill Improvement District offers to pay for water monitoring. (File photo)

Improvement district offers to pay for Cobble Hill water testing

CVRD will wait for staff report before any decisions are made

The Cobble Hill Improvement District has offered to pay to monitor four water-testing wells on Fisher Road.

Spokesman Jens Liebgott said that by using the CHID’s staff technician, who is a fully licensed and qualified water technician, the monitoring costs could be kept as low as $750 per test, twice a year.

Staff at the Cowichan Valley Regional District, which own the wells, tabled a report in May that recommended that annual sampling and analysis of the four wells be conducted, at an estimated cost of up to $24,000.

RELATED STORY: MORE WATER TESTING SOUGHT IN FISHER ROAD AREA OF COBBLE HILL

The district’s regional services committee sent the report back to staff for more information.

Liebgott said the test wells were drilled at the expense of the taxpayers, at a cost of more than $100,000, and are meant to be regularly tested.

But he said the CVRD has indicated that the district can’t afford it, even though the district is now receiving $750,000 a year to deal with water issues after residents approved a new water protection function last fall.

RELATED STORY: AFFORDABLE HOUSING, WATER PROTECTION REFERENDUMS BOTH PASS

“We can safely test the wells for only $750 and are ready to do so to make sure we can continue to provide safe water in the future,” Liebgott said.

The Cobble Hill aquifer adjacent to Fisher Road provides ground water to almost 15,000 residences in the area.

The aquifer is a known location of elevated nitrate concentrations in groundwater largely as a result of land-use activities, such as a greenhouse which is now closed, and composting operations that have operated there for years.

As the CVRD has limited jurisdiction and budget to effectively investigate groundwater quality concerns, in 2017, after concerns were raised by local residents, the ministry formed the Cobble Hill Aquifer Interagency Task Group, consisting of officials from several government ministries and Island Health, to take a collaborative approach to evaluate the risk to groundwater users in the Fisher Road area.

The task group commissioned Western Water Associates Ltd. to conduct a study of the groundwater in the area and make recommendations.

Western Water concluded that the nitrate concentrations in the water detected in the Fisher Road area most likely result from past surface activities that have since either ended, like the greenhouse, or have been modified to be more environmentally friendly.

RELATED STORY: GOVERNMENT OKS CONTAMINATED SOIL AT SHAWNIGAN TO REMAIN

However, Western Water’s contention that the current risk to groundwater users in the Fisher Road area has been determined to be low was questioned by many water users in the area, including Mike Wilson, the CVRD’s director for Cobble Hill.

Wilson has asked the CVRD to consider spending $75,000 a year for five years for extensive monitoring and analysis of the water.

CVRD chairman Ian Morrison said the district is aware the water issues around the aquifer are a concern for a lot of people, including the CVRD itself.

But he said the matter has been referred back to staff for more information, so it’s not appropriate that he comment on the offer by the Cobble Hill Improvement District until staff table another report with all the required technical data.

“We want to hear back from staff first and than all the ideas and proposals will be considered and debated at that time,” he said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Editorial: Election vandalism poor way to express an opinion

It was discouraging to hear that two acts of vandalism targeting candidates… Continue reading

Rain raises water levels in Cowichan Lake

Possibility that pumps could be shut down soon

Caps beat Chiefs at home, then bow to Kings

Injuries, suspensions, travel all effect trip to Powell River

Cowichan residents invited to apply for seats on affordable housing committees

“Lack of affordable housing is a critical issue in the Cowichan region”

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

B.C. population on pace to fall behind Alberta

Provincial population could reach almost seven million in 2043, but Alberta is growing faster

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Most Read