BC Hydro to cover Hudson’s Hope water treatment plant failure expenses

HUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. — BC Hydro has committed up to $500,000 to cover costs related to the water treatment plant’s failure in Hudson’s Hope.

This reimbursement will cover expenses for hauling water to recharge the reservoir; purchasing bottled drinking water for the community; and materials, equipment, and external expertise required for the plant’s repair.

Despite promising to cover expenses related to the failure, the crown corporation insists that the District of Hudson’s Hope is responsible for “all repair, operation and maintenance costs once the system is operational.”

The project, completed last year, began when Site C construction threatened the district’s previous water source: surface groundwater from the Peace river.

“Early in the Site C project construction, we committed to mitigating the effects of the dam and reservoir on the Hudson’s Hope community infrastructure by providing funding to the District so they could replace their water treatment system,” BC Hydro said in a statement.

BC Hydro spent nearly $5 million to fund the project. It says the decisions required in this project— including assessing options to replace the previous water supply from the Peace River, selection, design, procurement, and construction of the project — were made by Hudson’s Hope.

“The district is the owner of the system,” the statement said. “We recognize the numerous challenges that have been created for residents and businesses in the community as a result of their new water treatment plant failure last month. This is certainly not the outcome that anyone wanted and we have offered our help.”

The District of Hudson’s Hope insists that the well and treatment plant was not its idea and the project not its own.

“We have never officially accepted it as our project,” Hudson’s Hope’s mayor, Dave Heiberg, said at the town hall meeting held to inform residents about the issue on July 27th.

Completed last year, the most recent failure of the plant began on July 21st. A month after the first boil water advisory issued by Northern Health, the district now expects another month at least to pass before repairing and cleaning the system is completed.

Residents, frustrated by a lack of water that now cannot be ingested at all, have formed the Hudson’s Hope Water Recovery Committee to seek both long and short term solutions.

A do not consume order was issued for the district on August 9th.

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