Windermere water quality advisory lifted-celebration time

Monday, June 29th was is a big day for the community of Windermere as the Water Quality Advisory was officially lifted following the community’s connection to the East Side Water Service.

“This day has been over 15 years in the making and is the result of an incredible amount of work and commitment by so many: from the RDEK Board and staff, to the members of our Utility Advisory Commissions, the community, the contractors and consultants, and the provincial and federal governments who provided funding,” says RDEK Area F Director Susan Clovechok. “We also share this milestone with former Electoral Area F Director Wendy Booth who worked tirelessly to see treated water in Windermere.”

The Windermere Water System has been under a Water Quality Advisory since 2006 and efforts have been underway since then to implement a solution that would bring Windermere Water into compliance with Interior Health’s Drinking Water objectives.

“From the first referendum in 2011 to the eventual purchase of Parr Utilities and the connection of Windermere to the East Side Water Service, this has been a highly complex project and is a good example of community collaboration and collective problem solving,” adds Clovechok. “I want to extend a special thanks to our RDEK staff including Engineering Services Manager Brian Funke, Project Supervisory Elizabeth Ahlgren, CAO Shawn Tomlin, former CAO Lee-Ann Crane and CFO Holly Ronnquist who have been pivotal in this project and its success.”

Following the unsuccessful 2011 referendum, which proposed the purchase of bulk water, the RDEK undertook a comprehensive community consultation process and evaluated a host of other possible options.

In 2015, a secondary reservoir was constructed to increase community capacity while work continued to find a long-term solution to bring potable water to the community.

In 2016, the RDEK Board supported pursuing the purchase of Parr Utilities and its water treatment plant. Hank Swartout, owner of Parr Utilities and the Windermere Water and Sewer Co. Ltd., came to the table with the RDEK to find a workable solution.

Following extensive negotiations, a purchase agreement was reached, community referendums in October 2017 were successful and work began to connect Windermere to the water treatment plant.

The final connection was completed in early June and following flushing of the lines and required testing on Friday, Interior Health approved the lifting of the Water Quality Advisory and effective today, June 29, 2020 the Water Quality Advisory and signs will be removed.

– From the Regional District of East Kootenay.

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