In the coming weeks, the City of Fernie will have a contractor installing test groundwater wells on City-owned park land alongside Cedar Valley Road on the Cedars subdivision.

The City’s primary drinking water source is the Fairy Creek Source. Our secondary source, the James White Wells, are used when Fairy Creek is unavailable due to increased turbidity. Testing by the City and Teck has found that the James White Wells are influenced by the nearby Elk River and can experience increased selenium concentrations due to seasonal fluctuations. Testing has shown no selenium concentrations of concern in the Fairy Creek water source.

In addition to regular testing and monitoring of selenium levels in the James White Wells, City staff and Teck have scheduled field investigations of an alternative secondary drinking water supply beginning next week. The City will have a contractor installing test groundwater wells on City-owned park land alongside the Cedars Subdivision. The field program will include borehole drilling and installation of three test wells. To maintain a safe working environment, pumping tests will occur in the spring at this location.

Contractors will be on site starting December 7th, with groundwater drilling operations planned to begin the week of December 11th and completed on December 24th. To complete the work in the short time window, the groundwater drilling operations are scheduled without weekend breaks.

The drill site is near the active bike and walking trail, Purple Monkey Dishwasher, that is maintained by the Fernie Trails Alliance. During construction, access to the trail will be controlled. Once the wells are installed, there will be no issues accessing the trail. The public is asked to avoid the area while work is underway, and respect all posted signage. There will be some noise associated with the drilling, but we anticipate minimal impact to nearby homes.

In addition to exploring alternative secondary drinking water sources, the City of Fernie and Teck are investing significantly in additional turbidity treatment and improvements for their primary source, Fairy Creek.

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