The water system for the City of Castlegar is quite complex for a city of this size. There are many components of this system which interact with each other in order for the water to reach its final destination.
The source of our water is the Lower Arrow Lake. Celgar Pulp co. has a pump house just above the Hugh Keenleyside dam and the City of Castlegar has one pump in this facility which is dedicated to providing water to the city.
The water is piped to a point just above the chip dump at Celgar and this is called the “water treatment centre”. At this location a small amount of chlorine is added to the water to provide for disinfection as mandated by the Ministry of Health for the province of British Columbia. This site is also where the flow is measured and some simple testing is done. The water is checked daily for temperature, ph, and residual chlorine. The amount of chlorine that is added to the water is one milligram per litre; another way of stating this is one part per million. The City of Castlegar is very fortunate that our drinking water source is both clean and abundant.
The water continues its way into the city via a pipeline along Arrow Lakes Drive to the "Meadowlark pump house". This pump house moves water to the Meadowlark reservoir that provides water for North Castlegar and also pumps water to the “Park” facility which is another site of reservoirs and another pump house.
The “Park” pump house and adjacent reservoirs are the central hub for the water supply to south Castlegar. Water flows from the park site with gravity to the reservoirs at the Kinnaird elementary school. The “Park” site also pumps water to the “upper bench” zone. The top zone has three reservoirs, which are designated as Meadowbrook, Merry Creek, and Blueberry.
Another important component of the water system is the pressure reducing valves or PRV's. Due to the great difference in altitude between some of the top water levels in some of the reservoirs and the elevation of the end users, some zones need to have the pressure reduced by means of hydraulic valves to bring the pressure down to a useable level.
In order to tie all of the above systems together to enable them to function together as a unit we utilize a series of computers linked by radios to tell the pumps when to run and to monitor such things as tank levels and flows. This system is called SCADA which is an acronym for Supervisor Controlled Access Data Acquisition. The SCADA system also does all of our alarming functions and in the case of a situation such as a pump failure or a low tank level an alarm is sent to the public works portable radios as well as to the Standby persons pager. The system is also capable of sending an alarm to regular telephones so it is enabled to call the Chief treatment plant operators phone and cellular phone. This gives the City of Castlegar several levels confidence for alarm conditions.