Suspects in water leak investigation whittled down

Bashaw, Ab
Written by Stu Salkeld

Slowly but surely the Town of Bashaw is whittling down the suspects in its ongoing investigation of missing water. Councillors heard the results of an investigation at their Nov. 1 regular meeting.

Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller presented the results of testing conducted by EnviroTrace Advanced Leak Detection that was dated Oct. 25.

“Two critical areas that warrant further investigation were identified: 50 Street from 48 Ave. and 51 Street and 53 Ave.,” stated the report.

“All other surveyed areas showed no conclusive evidence of water leaks.”

The report went on to explain this contractor employed acoustic leak detection to examine several parts of the Town of Bashaw’s water system.

The CAO stated in a phone call with the ECA Review Nov. 6 that councillors found the report quite interesting and even though no specific leaks were found the councillors were happy to hear that it looks like a good portion of Bashaw’s water system is tight.

She noted EnviroTrace did identify one area around Main Street that involves older infrastructure. Fuller stated EnviroTrace will be invited to return to analyze another part of town, across the train tracks, that wasn’t analyzed before.

Fuller stated that part of Bashaw has mixed uses, including residential and connections to the agriculture industry.

She added her opinion is that area of town holds the potential for a leak or water issue of some kind.

Readers should note the Town of Bashaw has noticed for quite some time a discrepancy between the amount of water purchased for residents through the water commission and the amount consumed at the end of the year and has been working to find the leak or issue that explains it.

Councillors accepted the report as information.

Councillors unanimously approved appointing accounting firm Gitzel & Co. of Stettler as the municipality’s official auditor. Fuller noted some time ago councillors had faced the question of tendering the duties out or negotiating with Gitzel, who had performed the work in past.

Utility billing
Councillors also passed first reading of a new bylaw governing the frequency of utility billing; Bashaw currently bills water, sewer and garbage pick-up every two months. The new bylaw would change that to every month.

Fuller explained one of the main reasons for the change is that problems such as water leaks are easier to detect with monthly billing.
The Town of Bashaw is also looking at a paperless billing option, noted Fuller.

The main drawback to a monthly billing cycle was listed as increased financial cost to the town, including more staff time for preparing bills.

As the bylaw passed first reading, the CAO noted the changes are open for public comment and it will return to council for discussion at a future meeting.

Holiday fun
Councillors directed the Town of Bashaw staff to organize a “hot dogs and hot chocolate” event at the arena open to the public and hosted by municipal staff and council.

Councillors discussed the best time to hold the event and decided the week between Christmas and New Year was ideal, as the days leading up to Dec. 25 were already filled with events.

The event will be free of charge to the public, includes free public skating and may even feature an appearance by Santa Claus.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.