2016 Chemainus Wells Testing Program Update

The Municipality of North Cowichan (MNC) submitted an application to the BC Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO) on March 31, 2015 to amend the existing BCEAO Certificate #W09-01 to be able to run the Chemainus Wells year round.

Presently, operation of the wells is restricted to the period between October 15 and June 15.  During the June 15 to October 15 period the water supply is from Banon Creek and Holyoak Lake. The Amendment Application asks for approval to run the Chemainus Wells between June 15 and October 15 yearly, in addition to the presently approved October 15 to June 15 operation.  The presently approved maximum well pumping rate of less than 75 litres per second will remain.  The application commits to continue monitoring aquifer and river levels and temperatures.  The application also includes a requirement to release up to 73 litres per second continuously from Holyoak Lake via Banon Creek to the Chemainus River during the June 15 to October 15 period to supplement flow in the Chemainus River.  The full Amendment Application can be viewed here.

In support of this application, MNC will be undertaking a well testing program in July, August and September 2016 and operating the wells to supply the community of Chemainus with water. During the testing program we will be switching between the Banon Creek supply and the well supply a number of times with the wells supplying the community with water for at least two, 3-day tests and two, 14-day tests. Further testing and investigation of the potential impact of well pumping on the flow in the Chemainus River, and the release of water from Holyoak Lake to the Chemainus River as a mitigation measure, will be undertaken during this time.  During the testing program, excess water not used by the community may be discharged to Fuller Lake and Askew Creek.

Summer testing of the Chemainus Wells in 2015 was not undertaken due to a wet September.