City of Trail considers removing historical dam

Trail is looking into decommissioning the Cambridge Dam, near Violin Lake.

It has been almost 20 years since Trail has drawn water for municipal use from an open water source known as the Cambridge reservoir in the area of Violin Lake.

Now, the city is investigating measures to decommission the Cambridge Dam, a barrier to water drawn from Violin Lake and stored in the reservoir, historically known as the mill pond.

“The dam is in good shape and kept up to specifications,” said Warren Proulx, Trail’s working foreman and engineering technician. “But we want to eliminate this responsibility because it no longer has value to the city.”

In 1994 Trail established the Columbia River as the city’s main water supply source and built modernized water treatment facilities, in part due to the 1990 community outbreak of giardiasis (beaver fever) a parasitic gastrointestinal infection traced to inadequately treated drinking water pulled from the reservoir.

After the treatment plant using the Columbia River was completed, the city decided to maintain the infrastructure of the Cambridge Creek/Violin Lake water system as a back up water supply.

However, four years later, Trail’s conditional water license was cancelled by the Ministry of Environment (MOE), under the Water Act, because the water system was deemed no longer actively used for domestic water supply purposes.

The reservoir is still active as a man-made lake (on private property) and the city is responsible for monitoring the dam.

However, in light of increased costs and tightened government regulations to maintain privately owned dams, council has backed the decision to decommission the Cambridge Dam, said Proulx.

“There is a cost to inspect and maintain the dam,” he explained. “It would save us time and time is money,” Proulx continued. “And it would release the city of any liability if the dam ever burst.”

Since the breach of the privately-owned Testalinden Creek Dam eight kilometres south of Oliver in 2010, which caused enormous debris and mud torrent that impacted homes and agriculture in the area, the ministry has stepped up efforts to monitor B.C. dams to mitigate loss of life and damage to property and the environment in cases of a dam break.

According to the MOE, the Cambridge Dam is classified as high consequence, meaning if it ever breached, downstream impacts would be devastating.

“There is no fear of that right now,” said Proulx. “Other than it being beautiful up there, we don’t need it, so let’s get rid of it.”

Proulx accompanied a team of engineers to the dam last week and expects an expansive report in the next six weeks, detailing how the dam can be retired and the reservoir drained according to ministry regulations.

“We don’t know what the costs will be,” he said, adding, “but it will include reverting the area back to its natural state.”

Once an engineering plan and costs for decommissioning the dam are determined, the project will be submitted to council for consideration in the 2014 capital budget.

Since the 1920’s the area around Cambridge Creek and Violin Lake was the primary source of water to half of the city’s annual water demand.

At that time, the city purchased the lands, and over the decades, built infrastructure to draw water from creeks, lakes and reservoirs in that area.

Included was an intake on Cambridge Creek, with a pipeline to reservoirs and a chlorination plant, with the city maintaining water licences for diversion use and storage of the water in the area.

Just Posted

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read