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Okanagan conference: Certification of three new trades welcomed

Bruce Ingimundson, with the British Columbia Groundwater Association, says the new trades designations for drillers should help as B.C. starts regulating groundwater. - Jennifer Smith
Bruce Ingimundson, with the British Columbia Groundwater Association, says the new trades designations for drillers should help as B.C. starts regulating groundwater.
— image credit: Jennifer Smith

B.C. has three new trades, those attending the national groundwater biannual conference at the Delta Grand Hotel learned last week.

With the death of the Canadian Ground Water Association in 2013—it went bankrupt after becoming embroiled in a lawsuit—geotechnical experts were at a loss to certify some of the tradesmen and women needed to drill wells, drill geothermal exchange holes and provide some of the other geotechnical drilling expertise needed in this province.

“We recently developed a relationship with the  Industry Training Authority, so that now we can certify these trades in this province,” said Bruce Ingimundson, managing director of the British Columbia Groundwater Association.

The new trades are: well pump installer, geotechnical/environmental driller and geoexchange driller. The certification for water well drillers has also been revived.

This is a very important year for groundwater in B.C. as the province has finally put legal controls on water beneath the Earth’s surface, bringing B.C. in line with every other province and 48 of the 51 States to have groundwater legislation.

“It really puts guidelines and regulations on volume,” said Ingimundson, noting it’s not targeted at the family farm.

Those operating golf courses, pulp mills and even municipalities will soon be required to start recording how much groundwater is drawn, its chemistry and how much remains in a given area as the province puts the legwork in place to effectively monitor the groundwater supply.

“When you cannot take more creek water or lake water you go underground,” Ingimundson explained. It has been sucking some aquifers dry.

The Okanagan, the Gulf Islands and the Fraser Valley have been particularly prone to development pressure and the legislation, not to mention the trained tradespeople to ensure jobs are done properly, should start to put protections in place to deal with the water cycle as a whole, rather than simply surface water.

It is likely to have implications for oil and gas, should the industry spread further into B.C., stemming the tide of damage done by fracking operations to ensure pristine water remains for human consumption and saline or recycled water is directed to industry use.

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