Water and Wastewater

Summary of Findings / Recommendations

A requirement of subdivision is the verification that each subdivided lot has a well that meets the requirements set out by MOTI and Interior Health. For our zoning application we have engaged Western Water Associates to review available literature and data and to confirm the availability of suitable water for development of individual drinking water wells for the subject property.

Western Water Associates found that there are two mapped aquifers in the vicinity of the proposed subdivision: Aquifer 532 located underlying the eastern part of the proposed subdivision, and Aquifer 534 located to the northwest in the Cedar Valley. The bulk of the subject site is not underlain by a mapped aquifer, but it is very likely Aquifer 534 or a similar fractured bedrock aquifer is present, but has not yet been mapped as such due to a lack of reported wells in the area. A small area in the eastern part of the site likely overlies sand and gravel Aquifer 532. There is a very good potential for wells intercepting this aquifer to have yields that easily surpass the RDEK Subdivision Bylaw Quantity requirement. Wells drilled on the majority of the property are expected to be completed in a fractured bedrock aquifer similar to Aquifer 534 to the north. The average driller-reported well yield for wells completed in bedrock near the site is 9 USgpm, which is substantially above the Bylaw sustainable yield requirement of 0.42 USgpm. While many of the well logs are missing details on well yield, only one dry well was noted (a very shallow test well at the Fernie Alpine Resort).

Overall, Western Water finds that the groundwater development potential for the contemplated subdivision, utilizing individual onsite domestic wells, is favourable. The Fernie area receives significant annual average precipitation of more than 1.2 m, which is available to recharge aquifers and there are several drainages traversing the property, which can also serve as seasonal recharge sources.

Handshake Holdings has committed to connecting the Galloway Lands homes to a wastewater collection and treatment facility to handle all wastewater from the development.

As a result of ongoing planning and discussions the project can now proceed with one of two options. The first option is connecting to the Fernie Alpine Resort Utility Company facilities, conditioned on agreement between that company and Handshake Holdings. Alternatively, a freestanding wastewater treatment facility will be built on the Galloway Lands. 

Questions and Answers

We have committed to answering all the questions submitted to us.  Some of the questions submitted are very similar in substance.  We have aggregated those questions and provided the answers in the summary below.

1. Are there any concerns about providing water for 75 homes?

There are no concerns about providing water to the homes.   Western Water Associates Ltd. (WWAL) has completed a Groundwater Feasibility Assessment for the Galloway Lands to confirm that suitable water supply is available for the number of homes proposed. WWAL concluded that the groundwater development potential for the contemplated homesites, utilizing individual onsite domestic wells, is favourable. Further, the capacity of nearby wells suggests that all wells will be suitably productive to meet RDEK requirements.

Each home within the Galloway Lands will have its own well to provide water. Based on the assessments completed to date, providing a suitably productive well for each homesite will be achievable and interference with existing wells in the area will not occur.

2. How will septic for 75 homes be dealt with?

Handshake Holdings has committed to connecting the Galloway Lands homes to a wastewater collection and treatment facility to handle all wastewater from the development.

3. What is the difference between the types of septic systems?

Handshake Holdings has committed to connecting the Galloway Lands homes to a wastewater collection and treatment facility to handle all wastewater from the development.

4. What is required to confirm availability of water?

Confirmation of availability of water and septic is addressed by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) during the subdivision stage of the project.

A certified well driller must drill a well on each proposed residential lot and pump test each well to confirm suitable quantity of water is available. A certified laboratory must confirm that the water meets the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. The Regional District of East Kootenay review all well test results and provide confirmation to MOTI that the wells are acceptable. 

If the conditions for provision of a well cannot be met on a lot, the subdivision will not be permitted by MOTI.

5. Why are you not connecting to existing water/sewer systems – especially given that these services were required and provided to adjacent communities (Cedars and FAR)?

The Cedars community is within the City of Fernie. All new development within City boundaries is required to connect to City services. City services are not available to property outside of City boundaries.

Fernie Alpine Resort operates a private water utility and sewer utility to service the resort and its own development.

Handshake Holdings has committed to connecting the Galloway Lands homes to a wastewater collection and treatment facility to handle all wastewater from the development.

As a result of ongoing planning and discussions the project can now proceed with one of two options. The first option is connecting to the Fernie Alpine Resort Utility Company facilities, conditioned on agreement between that company and Handshake Holdings. Alternatively, a freestanding wastewater treatment facility will be built on the Galloway Lands. 

6. The review of the hydrology and groundwater issues in the development seem cursory at best. Is there intent to provide more detailed and thorough studies on the impact on Lizard Creek and other waterways (particularly with the construction site water containment)?

The review completed to date by Western Water Associates was to ascertain that there were no foreseeable issues with providing potable water to the proposed homesites. The study confirmed that suitable water is available. If we are not able to provide a well on a lot that meets the requirements of the RDEK, the lot will not be able to be subdivided. Quite simply, no water = no subdivision.

Addressing stormwater containment from future residential construction sites will be dealt with as part of the statutory building scheme to be registered on title of each homesite. Given the large buffer around each building envelope, we do not foresee any issue with ensuring the stormwater management is suitably addressed and does not create issues for watercourses within the property.

7. How can you guarantee owners will install the correct septic systems and especially ensure they are properly maintained to make sure they perform as designed? At first you said it will be type 2 or 3. Now you say it will be encouraged. Sounds like you will not be able to enforce this.

As a result of ongoing planning and discussions the project can now proceed with one of two options. The first option is connecting to the Fernie Alpine Resort Utility Company facilities, conditioned on agreement between that company and Handshake Holdings. Alternatively, a freestanding wastewater treatment facility will be built on the Galloway Lands. 

8. Will there be oversight by the developer or other regulatory bodies/jurisdictions to monitor septic usage and performance?

Handshake Holdings has committed to connecting the Galloway Lands homes to a wastewater collection and treatment facility to handle all wastewater from the development.

As a result of ongoing planning and discussions the project can now proceed with one of two options. The first option is connecting to the Fernie Alpine Resort Utility Company facilities, conditioned on agreement between that company and Handshake Holdings. Alternatively, a freestanding wastewater treatment facility will be built on the Galloway Lands. 

9. In the case of any leakage such as sewer or chemical, however, the flow of ground water may affect Lizard Creek and other water flow areas off the mountains. Shouldn’t this be a concern?

Handshake Holdings has committed to connecting the Galloway Lands homes to a wastewater collection and treatment facility to handle all wastewater from the development.

As a result of ongoing planning and discussions the project can now proceed with one of two options. The first option is connecting to the Fernie Alpine Resort Utility Company facilities, conditioned on agreement between that company and Handshake Holdings. Alternatively, a freestanding wastewater treatment facility will be built on the Galloway Lands. 

10. Should there be a fund for clean-up should Lizard Creek be affected by the Development or the increase in population living in the area?

That process requires that no negative impacts result from the development, this includes impacts to Lizard Creek. The process of establishing water wells on the lots is similarly required to adhere to Provincial standards and guidelines that consider the health of the surrounding waterways. Given the nature of the development and the process for subdivision the risk to Lizard Creek is very low.

In addition to that, the lots will have a charge on title that requires the payment of a transfer fee with the sale of the lots. The fund created by these fees is intended to be used to maintain public and common areas of the plan which include Lizard Creek.

11. Will the pre-development phase involve drilling of monitored water wells for each of the 75 proposed lots in order to confirm Western’s initial phase study of sustainability of the project?

This is not planned. We are obligated to provide proof of water to MOTI or the subdivision cannot proceed.

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