The Town of Hay River’s water intake pipe, which stretches for about eight kilometres into Great Slave Lake, begins at the water treatment plant.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

The so far unsuccessful search for Hay River’s water intake line in Great Slave Lake may begin again in the winter.

Mike Auge, the director of public works with the Town of Hay River, told the Sept. 15 online meeting of council that he had received a report from an Alberta contracting company, which could not find the line for an inspection after three days of searching in August.

“The contractor has also provided us with estimates on getting the inspection completed, suggesting we do it in winter and suggesting a method on that,” said Auge. “The new estimate, along with the price we paid for the original work, is still under our 50 grand budget for getting that item.”

Auge said the town is waiting on a response to a few questions on procedure and process for the inspection, if the contractor does return, to ensure there is not a repeat of the issues with finding the intake structure and the intake line.

The search in August was hampered by high turbidity – or muddiness – in the water of the lake and the age of previous reports on the line.

Coun. Brian Willows wondered if there’s a Plan B in the search for the intake line.

“If they weren’t able to find it now, what’s the chances they’re going to find it in the winter?” he asked. “What’s the plan?”

Auge noted he has been informed by the contractor that it has other technologies or devices that they can bring up with them.

“They have two different options they’re looking at bringing up that will help them track the line and be able to follow the line, essentially follow it all the way out with some tracking technology,” he said. “I’m not sure exactly the piece of equipment they have. That is part of the questions I’m waiting for answers from them.”

Auge said, once all the information is received, the town can make a decision on whether it wants to proceed with a winter search.

The intake pipe, which was built in 1977, has not been inspected since 1994. It begins at the water treatment plant and stretches about eight kilometres into Great Slave Lake.

In comments to The Hub, Glenn Smith, the town’s senior administrative officer, said the inspection is preventative maintenance that should occur.

“We think there’s a low probability of risks associated with the line, but given everything that’s going on with the turbidity and boil-water issues and our own asset maintenance and inspections of that plant, you want to check that line,” he said.

Smith noted the original search involved divers and cameras on drones.

While the contractors were in town, they inspected both of the town’s water reservoirs, and the company has proposed some work on reservoir cleaning, which Auge noted would put the combined work with the intake line search a little bit over budget.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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  1. Hasn’t the Hay River city council and all parties involved ever thought of placing a GPS tag on the location (especially at the source) of the water intake line? The GPS tags would be accurate regardless of weather and turbidity. It seems the invested parties are relying on inefficient aged technology to find the line and failing to find it, resulting in wasted time and funds.