Construction of North Thompson water intake system progressing

By Chad Klassen
April 10, 2017 - 6:00pm

KAMLOOPS — It's an emergency intake on the North Thompson River that will supply the city with the necessary water in case of an emergency, such as a spill into the South Thompson.

Work has been going on near Westsyde road since the new year, but with the weather warming up, the project is progressing much quicker.

WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen

On Monday, workers with Acres Enterprises worked on what is called the 'wet well,' which is a concrete holding tank that's big enough to meet city demand. 

"The intake structure's already been built," said Dave Griffin with Acres Enterprises, the company hired to build the new intake system. "The piping from that structure is going into what the carpenters are working on right now called the wet well. In essence, it's just a giant well with pumps that'll pump the water up to the city in the event of emergency."

In a month's time, Acres ill be digging up parts of Yates Road, where the water will be piped up to the existing system on Westsyde Road.

The emergency shutdown at the Kamloops Centre for Water Quality plant last month left the city with only days of water supply. But officials say even if the North Thompson intake had been ready at the time, it still probably would not have been utilized. 

"We would've had it essentially ready to go in the event that we were not able to get the main water plant back up and running as soon as we did," said Director of Public Works and Utilities Jen Fretz. "I don't think we would've made the call to actually turn it on and pump raw water through the system."

In October, city council voted 6-2 to go ahead with the nearly $8.3 million project. Councillor Donovan Cavers, as one of two to vote against the project, said the likelihood of an emergency is slim to none. 

Fellow Councillor Ken Christian, though, says as the population grows in Kamloops, which is now at 90,000 people, these kinds of backup systems are all the more important. 

"The intake on the North Thompson will be important in the event of a catastrophic spill in the South Thompson," said Christian. "You have to remember we've got Highway 1 and the CP Rail line right along the side of the South Thompson River. So I think the probability of an incident increases, and you have to be prepared."

Back on site on Yates Road, metal sheets that have been used to keep water away from the project as they pour the concrete will be removed on Wednesday, and the river will resume its regular flow. 

The project is expected to be finished by the end of October. 

Tickets for Dream Home Lottery selling at record speed