Princeton loses senior water operator

Princeton loses senior water operator

Remaining workers need more training

The sudden departure of the town’s senior water operator from the municipal payroll has left Princeton without a worker certified to operate its water distribution system under provincial guidelines.

However director of infrastructure Michael Mazurek says the town is following protocols to manage the situation, and there are other competent town staffers who can oversee the system at this time.

“The security and safety of Princeton water has and will always be at the top of our priority list,” said Mazurek. “From a public works perspective the quality and safety of our water and water system are not compromised by the lack of a Level 3 operator. The water system is, in fact, the same water system that it was before this change in staff.”

Britt Fraser, who worked for the municipality for more than a decade, left the town’s employ October 20.

Mazurek could not comment on the circumstances surrounding that move.

It leaves the town with two public works employees who have some water distribution certification for the system, but neither with the Level 3 certification required to operate the Princeton facility.

Water operators perform various duties including sampling water for analysis, regulating water quality and production, analyzing instrument readings and making adjustments to equipment, monitoring chemical supplies and maintaining and repairing equipment.

“The Town of Princeton’s water system is currently rated as a Level 3 water distribution system by the Environment Operators Certification Program. This rating normally requires that at least one operator working on the system be certified to that level…Many municipalities are struggling with this as a requirement.”

Mazurek said that it was only in 2016 that Princeton came into compliance with the regulations to begin with. The town’s water distribution system was classified as Level 3 fourteen years ago. Level 3 operators are in high demand, he added.

“This is the same situation the town had been in since the year 2003 when our water system was classified as a Level 3 water system,” he said.

Classifications are determined by a system’s size and complexity.

Of the remaining water system operators one is a Level 2 who is now working on additional credits and logging time to achieve Level 3 status. A Level 1 operator needs to meet certain requirements to maintain his credentials in good standing with EOCP, and will work towards Level 2 certification.

Mazurek could not estimate when a Level 3 operator will be in place.

“It depends…Our water operators are responsible for other duties. We don’t have enough water work on a day-to-day basis to make it a sole responsibility of one person. Everybody who works for the town has to do many things.”

As required by the province Mazurek has contacted both Interior Health and the provincial health ministry to advise them of Fraser’s departure.

“We will continue to work very closely with Interior Health, as we have always endeavored to do, until we have a Level 3 water distribution operator working for the Town of Princeton,” he said.

Mazurek said he could not overstress the safety and efficiency of the Princeton water system.

“The town is required to have an emergency response plan to effectively handle a variety of water issues that may arise and affect the health of the water supply. This plan is on file at the town hall and available for review upon request.”

Fraser was also the only public works employee holding a certification in waste water treatment, although no certification is required under the town’s permits to operate that system, he said.

“We do a very simple method of water treatment and that is aeration. We don’t use any chemicals and we don’t use any other process.”

However, he added, “that’s another area where we are looking to expand our skill sets as a group.”

Just Posted

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

.
Princeton’s Spotlight wins two provincial awards for excellence

Publisher takes first place for investigative reporting

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

Most Read