West Quesnel Land Stability Program to initiate trial dewatering program

May 29, 2007
News Release

QUESNEL, B.C. – The West Quesnel Land Stability Program will move forward with a trial dewatering program this year now that much of the scientific analysis of the issue is complete.

The trial dewatering program is needed in order to design a large-scale dewatering solution. It will target various soil types and use different methods to evaluate the effectiveness of each.

“Now that we’re going to start some remediation measures to see how they affect the area, we’re moving into a new era,” said Mayor Nate Bello. “This will provide us the right information to take to the provincial government to help them understand the issue and to gain their support.”

“Council is committed to finding the right solution to this matter and I look forward to making more progress in the coming months,” said Committee Chair Coun. Ron Craigmyle. “This program has been supported all along by the members of the West Quesnel Land Stability Advisory Committee and the residents of the affected area, and I thank them for their efforts.”

Two types of dewatering methods have been proposed. The first is to drill two vertical wells that pump water out of the ground at a constant rate from different areas and discharge it into existing storm sewer drainage systems. The second method is to bore two horizontal drains into the side of two different slopes at a slight angle that will allow ground water to run out of the hill, again into a water collection system.

The purpose of the trial dewatering program is to determine:

  • The rate of change in groundwater pressure during dewatering.
  • How large of an area is affected by dewatering efforts.
  • Which method is most effective.

A detailed work plan for the trial dewatering program will be provided soon that includes technical details, schedules and cost estimates. Funding for the trial dewatering was included in $1.2 million provided by the provincial government in March 2006. The work order for the trial dewatering program has already been issued.

The trial period will last for at least eight months in order to secure reliable test results. However, there is additional work to be done that will further our understanding, including:

  • Continued monitoring of GPS hubs, piezometers and inclinometers.
  • Continued collection of other data that supports the Land Stability study, including climate data.
  • An annual engineering review of instrumentation and other sources of data so we can continue monitoring any potential correlations between precipitation and ground movement.
  • Repair or re-installation of piezometers that have been damaged.
  • Continued tracking of infrastructure damage.
  • An ongoing leak detection program of the City’s water system.
  • Completion of the water balance model (how much water is a result of groundwater and how much from precipitation and other surface entry).
  • Installation of a storm drainage lift station at Uplands Park.
  • Storm drainage upgrades at the bottom of the Lewis Drive hill.

Once the trial dewatering program is complete, along with the items mentioned above, the City should have a very good idea as to how best to proceed with a full scale dewatering program designed to slow the rate of land movement to a manageable rate for current development levels.

The City of Quesnel has spent more than $1.3 million on the West Quesnel Land Stability program since 2000.

There are more than 750 homes and 2,100 residents in the slippage area.

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