Erin to spend $900,000 on two wells

ERIN – The Town of Erin will spend an additional $900,000 for the drilling and testing of two new municipal wells.

Council approved the plan at a special meeting on June 25, awarding a contract to Aardvark Drilling of Guelph, the lowest bidder.

Part of the water servicing environmental assessment (EA) ongoing since 2015, the move provides redundancy for existing wells and supplies water for development.

The total cost is now $1.3 million. CAO Nathan Hyde said a further $1 million may be needed for pump houses and water mains.

The town had tested potential well sites, but had difficulty finding sufficient groundwater supply.

Wells offered to the town by Nestlé Waters would not have been adequate for redundancy, according to drilling supervisor Andrew Pentney of Groundwater Science Corp.

Ray Kirtz of Triton Engineering said two “promising” locations have been found; one near Currie Drive in Hillsburgh and the other on Wellington Road 23 north of Erin village. He stated small-diameter test wells showed a good quantity and quality of water.

Larger diameter wells are now needed, with extensive testing to confirm the production rate and possible impact on existing private wells and natural features.

Kirtz hopes the EA will be complete by December. His report states that in addition to providing redundancy, “preliminary estimates indicate that with these two new wells on line, at least 50% of the ultimate development scenario could be serviced.”

For the well work recently tendered, there were three bids: from Aqua-Tech Dewatering at $909,037; Well Initiative,  $722,188; and Aardvark Drilling, $609,244. Kirtz had hoped bids would come in at about $440,000.

Councillors Mike Robins and Rob Smith were upset at the cost escalation for wells initially estimated at $120,000 each. As of Dec. 31, 2018, the EA had cost $355,000.

Councillor John Brennan said the early low estimates were for reviving existing dormant wells, which turned out to be unusable.

There will be more hydro-geological and engineering work done by Triton and Groundwater Science, estimated at $214,000. With a contingency allowance and HST, the total for remaining work comes to $900,000.

The town still has $505,669 for this in its capital budget, so will need an additional $395,000.

Since the wells will service existing properties as well as new development, council agreed with  finance director Ursula D’Angelo to fund half from development charges and half from the water lifecycle reserve.