Our Faith in You is Leaking

Here is an example of the, for lack of a better term, absurdity that is occurring at the North Salt Spring Waterworks District Board these days…

“A discussion was held on how to raise awareness of the consequences of water leaks. Suggestions put forward included providing information on the website, advertising in the Driftwood, updating the Welcome Package, and confirming contact information including business numbers.

Moved by Gary Gagne – …the Board directs staff to amend the leak allowance policy to allow for up to six weeks to apply for a leak allowance subject to proof being provided that the leak was fixed within 30 days.

Seconded by Chris Dixon,

Approved by All”

The absurdity in this is you have a Board that has ignored their own 20,000,000 gallon leak(s) PER YEAR in the St. Mary Lake system literally for decades, which, the last time I looked was far beyond 30 days.

Every month we get a report from NSSWD about how water is scarce….no bloody wonder with a 20 million gallon a year leak.

PS – That is 20 million gallons of TREATED WATER from our new treatment plant.

PPS – What does it cost ratepayers to treat 20 million gallons of water each and every year that we get no return from? Best guess about $800,000/year.

And it is us who are paying the water bills.

3 Responses to Our Faith in You is Leaking

  1. paulmarcano@outlook.com says:

    Eric… Hmmmm perhaps your ‘inner Trumpian conspiracy-prone nature’ is in error predicting the fault?… I immediately consulted with NSSWW to verify your assertions… of course it may only be a mainstream media public relations slant I got back… but hey, if you have some secret science or evidence to back up your theory, I am all ears and will liaison your evidence to the operations manager to clarify why he may be mistaken.

    Response to an email I sent:

    Hello Mr. Marcano,

    I am the Operations Manger at North Salt Spring Waterworks District.

    Thankyou for you email inquiry to confirm information you received in an email. I also believe that it is important for rate payers to understand their system and have the correct information. I welcome this opportunity to comment.

    We closely monitor how much water is removed from the lake and how much is leaving the plant. I can tell you confidently that the St Mary Treatment Plant is not leaking 20,000,000 Imp Gal of water per year. 2. I am not sure how the $800,000.00 was calculated. However, as I indicated, we are not leaking 20,000,000 Imp Gal of water from the plant. However, recently in the news (Driftwood) it was identified that a customer had a leak in their private plumbing amounting to 800,000 Imp Gal. Perhaps this is where that number came from. 3. You ask if this is the reason that yearly water ‘fee’ on top of our billing is now approaching $1000. No, there is no St Mary Treatment Plant leak of 20,000,000 Imp Gal. I believe you are referring to the annual property tax of $1000.00 . This fee is used to pay for infrastructure upgrades including the new Maxwell Lake Water Treatment Plant that is currently being designed. Construction is expected to be complete in 2025.

    Once again I thank you for giving me the opportunity to provide you with accurate information.

    Sincerely,

    Vaughn Figueira Operations Manager

    Sent from Outlookhttp://aka.ms/weboutlook

    • Hi Paul – The last available water audits are listed here – https://northsaltspringwaterworks.ca/water/annual-water-demand/

      If you look for “unmetered losses” you will find losses in the St. Mary system ranging from 15 to 25 million gallons a year….Curiously there has been no water audits published by NSSWD since 2018. I have gone through NSSWD minutes and can find no mention of any major St. Mary leaks being dealt with (as opposed to the major 14 million gallon leak which was stopped in December 2014).

      In lieu of any such confirmation/report to the contrary the assumption is the system is still leaking 20,000,000 GPY.

      The latest NSSWD Board minutes indicate there may be a water audit conducted in the near future. ..the first in 4 years….

  2. June 21, 2021 NSSWD Meeting- “Motion – That, the Board receive the correspondence and direct staff to respond that we do not have more updated information yet, as a 2019 water audit was not completed due to the construction of the new St. Mary Water Treatment Plant, and the 2020 water audit is still being completed.”

    November 24, 2022 (17 months later) – “Water Audit – Due to the loss of the Waterworks Technician position, this project has been delayed. Once the new Senior Water Quality position has been filled, efforts to complete this work will resume.”

    Thus, there has not been a water audit since 2018 to determine how much water is leaking out of the St. Mary Lake system.

    In 2018 the leaks amounted to 14,167,062 gallons.

    So, while Mr. Figueira may be unaware of how much is currently leaking, because there hasn’t been an audit since 2018, there is no evidence whatsoever that “unmetered losses” have improved over the past 4 years.

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