Whonnock’s community well has been re-opened after vandalism in mid-May left it out-of-service.
An alert was posted on May 12 advising the well would be closed until further notice after vandals broke into the building at 10918 272 St. damaging the door and stealing supplies and equipment used for maintaining the well.
They also stole lights from inside the building, said Fred Armstrong with the City of Maple Ridge.
Armstrong didn’t know how many people were impacted by the well’s closure.
“We don’t have a way of tracking that,” he said, adding that there are two other bulk water fills stations available in east Maple Ridge where people, who do not have their own wells, could access water during the repair period.
Even though the water source and distributing equipment did not appear to be tampered with, Armstrong said that out of an abundance of caution, and per the city’s safety protocol, they had to shut down the well.
They reported the incident to the RCMP, as well as Fraser Health.
“As per City of Maple Ridge protocol the well was kept off line to repair the building and per our protocol for a breach of the building to ensure the water source was safe for public consumption,” said Armstrong.
The door had to be repaired and maintenance equipment – including buckets, chlorine, injection pump, filters and spare parts – replaced. The storage tank had to be drained, flushed and disinfected along with the distribution pipes, said Armstrong, and the interior lighting replaced as well.
The system was then refilled and the water was lab tested to meet Fraser Health water guidelines.
The total cost of repairs, he estimated, was about $5,000.
“Once the repairs were completed, and the Fraser Health were notified, the well was placed back in service,” he said.
Police received an online report and are currently investigating the incident, confirmed Const. Julie Klaussner with the Ridge Meadows RCMP.
The city announced the reopening of the well on May 21.