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Progress made with power plant

Posted on May 15, 2014 by Westwind Weekly

Over recent months a relationship between the Ridge Water Quality Commission and Irrican Power has been forged. A relationship which will ideally correct the issues surrounding the taste and odour concerns in Ridge Reservoir.

“(Our initial meeting) went well. We were glad they gave us an audience and that’s more than they have been able to produce in the past. Obviously what we are doing is getting some attention,” said George Bohne a few months ago, after meeting with Irrican power to present the concerns of the commission.

“It was agreed at the meeting that this is a difficult, complex problem. It was also agreed at the meeting we would do more work together, which I think is a huge step in the right direction.”

During the meeting Irrican also offered to have the Ridge water technician, Rick Lowry, attend their regular water management meetings in the future, which was “readily accepted” by the commission.

“We thought that was a great move,” said Bohne. “Secondly, we agreed that we would work toward establishing some performance measures, jointly. Thirdly, they wanted to make a presentation to all the council members of the communities that take their water out of Ridge Reservoir, so the water commission agreed to host a meeting on April 30.”

At the meeting Irrican was given an opportunity to present their views on the water quality issues.

Although the problem isn’t going to be resolved immediately, Bohne thinks “those are three great steps in the right direction,” to resolving the issue together.

Back when the water treatment plant was constructed, engineers did studies on the water quality to determine whether or not a taste and odour component would be needed. At the time the study was done, “there wasn’t one factor that indicated taste and odour was a factor at the time the plant was being considered for construction,” Bohne said of the hydro-power plant operated by Irrican. “Municipalities were not consulted at the time that those power plants were put in, so that’s Irrican’s argument of course is that’s not the reason the water has deteriorated.”

The position of the commission is that the water has in fact deteriorated due in part to stagnancy in the lake, because of the location of the hydro power plant.

Despite conflicting view points for each group respectively, they both agreed in order to solve the problem and move forward a partnership was necessary,

“We have our own viewpoints, which is fine, but we need to find a way to bring those things to a melding of the minds. We look forward to working with Irrican and we really believe that they are sincere in trying to solve this problem,” Bohne said. “They recognize it’s a problem and we recognize the complexity of the issue and we both want to solve it. And since we both have the same conclusions and agenda in mind we should be able to come up with a way to solve it, I’m positive.”

However there isn’t just one solution to this problem, which is why the organizations have come up with a multifaceted approach to solving the issue.

“I think we were able to let them know we don’t have an issue with the power plant as much as we are just looking for a solution for the water quality in the reservoir, and there must be a way for the two to co-exist,” said Bohne. “We are trying to cooperate in solving this complex issue.”

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