The District will undertake the following detailed steps to achieve the GPP:
Phase 1: Project Start-Up & Baseline Data
- Host a meeting with the District and Consultant Team to initiate the project.
- Compile all available aquifer data including provincial water well database information.
- Develop a conceptual hydrogeological model to better understand the aquifer’s characteristics.
- Conduct field inventory of well information to verify the conceptual model’s input data.
- Prepare a gap analysis to identify missing hydrogeological data and the risks associated with proceeding without this data.
Phase 2: Determine the Groundwater Protection Plan Area
Through additional field work and modeling, the extent of the groundwater protection area will be defined.
Phase 3: Contaminant Inventory
- A risk analysis will be developed based on the existing well and groundwater data, and potential sources of contamination associated with local land uses. Potential contaminants will be identified to be used to develop protection strategies.
Phase 4: Groundwater Protection Strategy, Contingency Plans, Monitoring and Evaluation Plans
Four plans will be prepared:
- The GPP
- Contingency Plans to prepare for the possibility of a spill, disruption of water supply, or other emergency
- Monitoring plan for groundwater quality
- Evaluation plan to test the effectiveness of the GPP over time.
Phase 5: Aquifer Capacity
- District requirements for future water supply will be identified
- Recommendations will be made regarding the potential for drawing additional water from the Athalmer Aquifer and will be based on modelling completed in Phase 2.
Groundwater Protection Plan – Recommendations
The District is considering a number of general groundwater protection measures and specific actions for the four highest priority risk areas identified in the Groundwater Protection Plan. They include:
- Improve the security of the existing and potential future wellheads by: limiting site access; installing secure well caps; banning the use of herbicides near the well heads; regarding the surface around the wells to improve drainage; and requiring that nay new well drilled within the DOI comply with the B.C. Groundwater Protection Regulation.
- Designate a formal groundwater protection area.
- Conduct a detailed well inventory/survey in the areas closest to the current Athalmer well and future well location to identify vulnerable wells and wells that do not comply with the GPP.
- Conduct a survey of businesses in designated Groundwater Protection Area to identify the type of activity, type and volume of chemicals used, chemical storage conditions and chemical disposal methods on these properties.
- Approach relevant local businesses to inform them of the DOI’s ongoing groundwater protection planning efforts and request access to the results of environmental site assessments and on-going remediation efforts.
- Inform Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) of the ongoing groundwater protection planning efforts and identify ways to work together to mitigate any risks the railway may pose to groundwater quality within the groundwater protection area.
- Assess current stormwater controls within the designated groundwater protection area to provide enhancement to the existing stormwater controls if required.
- Implement a hazardous waste collection program within the designated groundwater protection area to help limit the presence of potential contaminants in the stormwater runoff.
- Prepare specific policies to ensure the development review process includes careful consideration of proposed new development in the groundwater protection area.
- Implement a public education plan to provide information in the overall groundwater protection plan and best management practices for various land uses.
The next steps of the Groundwater Protection Plan will including developing a Contingency Plan and a Monitoring Plan.