Source Water Protection Study for the Sault Ste. Marie Municipal Wells

Project Details
  • Location
    City of Sault Ste. Marie
  • Project Team
  • Client
    City of Sault Ste. Marie
  • Completion

    2014

  • Download

As part of the study, Cole Engineering produced Tier 1, 2 and 3 Water Budgets, mapped wellhead protection areas, and conducted a risk assessment to evaluate aquifer vulnerability in order to identify short and long-term risks to the municipal drinking water system.

Project Highlights

The City of Sault Ste. Marie in Northern Ontario is located along the banks of the Ste. Mary’s River and is bordered by the State of Michigan. The City has a population of 70,000. Most of the City residents are serviced by potable water, the source of which is a combination of both river water and groundwater. In order to protect water supply sources in Ontario, the Municipalities have been mandated by the Provincial Government through the Clean Water Act to conduct source water protection studies to identify and mitigate short and long-term risks to the water supply systems. Cole Engineering was retained by the local conservation authority on behalf of the Municipality to conduct a source water protection study for the groundwater-based system. The Municipal groundwater supply system includes four wells that extract water from a confined aquifer, formed within bedrock valleys under alluvial environments. As part of the study, Cole Engineering produced Tier 1, 2 and 3 Water Budgets, mapped wellhead protection areas, and conducted a risk assessment to evaluate aquifer vulnerability in order to identify short and long-term risks to the municipal drinking water system. The study included field mapping, pumping tests, development of conceptual hydrogeologic models and, finally, using MODFLOW to build a 3-D numerical model to identify different risk scenarios and develop management plans. The study combined the concepts of resource development and management by taking into account the watersheds, the ecosystems they support as well as climate change. These studies are key in defining sustainable resource extraction and are incorporated into long-term planning for growth in urban areas.