Private wells on way out

Privately owned wells within the City of Kelowna will have to be closed on properties connected to the city's drinking water system.

The bylaw, enacted by the city Monday, was a condition placed by the province before it would release the final grant payment for the SEKID water integration project.

"We have substantial motivation to get this wrapped up," said utility manager Kevin Van Vliet.

Van Vliet says the province is looking to the city to help manage wells to reduce the potential for aquifer contamination.

"From a city perspective, it's our goal to make sure our drinking water supply is safe, so being aware of wells, and being able to have some participation with the province in regulating well use is important to us," Van Vliet told council.

"Ideally, we can make sure well use is not connected to our domestic drinking water supply."

Van Vliet said the province also wants to ensure wells that are decommissioned are done by certified professionals.

He adds that, under certain conditions, there are provisions for property owners to continue using wells while also receiving city drinking water.

While closure of privately owned wells would be required in most cases, Van Vliet says the city does not have the authority to manage, or close them.

"The only thing we can say is we either are going to connect our drinking water to your property or we won't."

He added implementation will primarily involve the South East Kelowna customer base, as they get connected to the city water system over the next few years.

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