ROSE PRAIRIE, B.C – The Peace River Regional District is leaning towards closing the Rose Prairie water station after explosive gas levels were found.

In a March 4th report to the PRRD, Kari Bondaroff, Environmental Services Manager, recommends the Regional Board authorize the closure of the Rose Prairie Potable Water Bulk Fill Station and cease all operations. This includes termination of all legal agreements and removal of all physical infrastructure assets located within the district.

A final check was being done to the station on February 21st when the operator noticed a change in the treatment storage tanks, which turned out to be the gas levels. The station was expected to open to the public the next day.

Lower explosive limits (LEL) monitors detected high gas levels in the well casing, but none were detected in the pump house, which was also tested. The well, where the source water is from, is contained in a small pump house, 1.4 km from the bulk tankloader.

On February 22nd, when the station was expected to open to the public, more tests were conducted on the water storage tanks, the pump house and
well casing. LEL levels were dissipating in the storage tank but so were oxygen levels at the floor and ceiling level of the pump house. High levels of LEL were still detected in the well casing.

The station was immediately powered off, and production of water was ceased. WorkSafe BC, Northern Health, and the BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) were notified.

“To date, the information by site operators and verified by the OGC, makes it clear that the water chemistry from the source well has changed since Friday, February 19th, to the point where it is affecting operator safety. Prior to this date, there have never been LEL concentrations detected at either the well pump station or the tankloader site,” says Bondaroff in the report.

Bondaroff adds the OGC found similar LEL levels in the well casing on February 25th with no levels detected at the tankloader. However, the station had also not produced water in four days.

The PRRD has spent $919,169 to build the station, with another $407,233 being spent on operational costs, including contractor rates, property lease payments, electricity, and insurance.

Along with the recommending for the Regional Board to authorize the closure of the Rose Prairie Potable Water Bulk Fill Station and cease all operations, Bodnaroff is suggesting a virtual meeting be held with residents before the end of March.

The board is also asked to authorize a feasibility study to identify potentially treatable surface and/or groundwater sources to establish a potable water bulk fill service station.