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WHEREAS the Code of Practice for a Waterworks System Consisting Solely of a Water Distribution System was approved under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Regulation in 2003; and WHEREAS many rural municipalities are developing and expanding water distribution systems to rural residents. Several rural jurisdictions have also taken over the operation of rural water co-operatives that couldnt meet the testing and operational requirements of the Code of Practice. Other rural municipalities may have a smaller water distribution system within a Hamlet, and could have also inherited a water system through an amalgamation or dissolution process; and WHEREAS systems operated by a rural municipality might well have been designed and built prior to adoption of the Code of Practice, and not be capable of being operated fully in compliance with all the requirements of the Code of Practice; and WHEREAS no formal review of the Code has taken place, and no opportunity has been provided to Alberta municipalities to provide input into the application of the conditions of the Code of Practice; and WHEREAS the Code does include operational requirements that are onerous in practice, including provisions that require the water distribution system to be operated and maintained at all times within its design capacity, and a requirement to maintain a minimum pressure of 150 kPa (21.76 psi) at all points in the water distribution system, at all times
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties encourage the Province of Alberta to initiate a complete review of the Code of Practice for a Waterworks System Consisting Solely of a Water Distribution System, and that the review accommodates the operation of rural and smaller community water systems.
Alberta Environment has moved to develop general codes to guide systems or operations that formerly were contained within an Approval of License to Operate. In 2003, the Code of Practice for a Waterworks System Consisting Solely of a Water Distribution System was adopted pursuant to the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Regulation. There has been no formal review of the code since it was approved. Many rural municipalities are working to expand water systems to serve rural residents. New systems are generally designed to comply with the regulatory requirements as outlined in the Code of Practice, and certainly this minimizes operational issues. Requirements in the Code of Practice can, however, have an impact on the cost of a system. For example, Part 4 of the code requires a minimum system pressure of 150 kPa at all points in the water distribution system at all times. As such, if the rural distribution system doesnt have an emergency backup pump and power source, a simple short term power failure will result in a non-compliance situation. Starland County and several other rural jurisdictions in Alberta have been asked to take over the operations of rural water co-operative systems that were developed several years ago. These systems are usually operated by area farmers, and they simply cant meet the operational requirements of the Code of Practice which requires daily testing, monthly and annual reporting, operations planning and minimum training levels. As the municipality takes over these systems, they inherit any operational issues that might exist, even though the system was once engineered and approved by Alberta Environment. The system Starland County has assumed has issues with chlorine dissipation, availability of flushing points, lack of backup or emergency power and several other operational problems. An example of how this code has been applied in our municipality on a rural co-op line can relate to a simple water break. Following a relatively short six hour repair to fix a water break, the County was required to flush the entire rural line three times. On this rural system, it took our staff over a week to flush over 258,000 litres of water through and out of the line because of the break and the resulting zero pressure situation. In addition to the flushing, the County had to implement a boil order, notify all water users, and increase testing and sampling programs under the supervision of Alberta Environment. This despite the fact we never drew a sample that didnt comply with the water quality requirements imposed by the Department. We feel a more common sense approach could have been taken in this instance, and hopefully a review of the Code will accommodate this.
Resolution 17-05F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta review the AMWWP eligibility criteria to include Business-Industrial Parks and country residential developments. This resolution identifies a related issue with water systems resulting in a specific burden to rural municipalities.
In September 2008, the Association advised members, via a bulletin, that the Code of Practice had been revised by Alberta Environment. There were several significant changes that address this resolution’s concerns, and full details are available from the Alberta Queen’s Printer website at http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca/catalogue.