A request to drill a fresh water well within the town limits has Souris councillors and staff concerned over possible cross contamination.
The Centre for Aquaculture Technology, CATC, a research and development business located in at the east end of town sent a letter to council asking for permission to find a source of freshwater backup for their facility.
The business uses town water, which is chlorinated, but some of their trials require fresh water.
“We are currently using large dechlorinators to take the chlorine out of the incoming town supply. If these fail, we have no option to get fresh water to our tanks,” a part of the letter read.
Maintenance Supervisor with the town Greg Jay says he understands the company’s need for a fresh water source, but the town’s distribution system is priority.
Though any well the company could drill is outside the town's protected well field area, the close proximity to the system could bring up issues such as cross contamination or cutting into the town’s water supply.
The company says a backup supply at their disposal would eliminate some safety risks for staff as well.
“Last summer for weeks we had to bucket ice to the system during a trial 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep the temperature within the protocol standard,” the letter stated.
The company said this practice is physically taxing on its staff.
At Monday night’s town council meeting councillors agreed further discussion and clarification is needed.
Even so, ultimately water well permits are under provincial jurisdiction.
Bruce Raymond, Manager of Water and Air Monitoring with Environment, Water and Climate Change confirmed CATC did put in an application to drill test wells.
“Whenever any well applications come in we always assess whether or not they are in close proximity to other wells,” Mr Raymond said.
The existing high capacity wells that serve the town are on the north side of the community to where the proposed well would be.
“In this particular case there is the added complexity of it being within an area serviced by a utility,” Mr Raymond said.
“It is not unheard of for there to be a private well inside a utility serviced area, but generally they are not.”
There is no timeline as to when a decision will be made, but Mr Raymond confirmed no decision would be made without including both the utility and the applicant.
“Any kind of application such as this is by no means a rubber stamp; it is a real assessment process,” he concluded.