The owner of a Quispamsis, N.B., car wash will be able to use well water at his business after all.
Dr. Jeffrey Sheppard has been trucking in water for Wash 66 on Pettingill Road since the business opened about 18 months ago. The car wash is not on a municipal water route.
He went before Quispamsis Town Council in the summer asking for approval to use well water to supply the car wash, arguing the provision was included in the original agreement he signed with the town when launching his business.
But town council voted down his request.
Sheppard said he threatened to file for a judicial review of the decision, but in the end, he didn’t have to.
“After doing a little bit of research, my lawyers and I found that municipalities, such as the Town of Quispamsis in this situation, they do not have any legal jurisdiction to regulate any business or individual’s groundwater,” Sheppard said. “And that was explained last night by the town planner.”
That revelation prompted another council vote, which passed 5-1.
Sheppard is now allowed to use 50 cubic metres of well water per day. If the water level in the well drops 20 metres below the ground surface, he is required to turn off the pump, notify town officials, and have approval from the province before being able to use restart the system.
He said staff will be keeping a close eye on the water.
“We are going to be monitoring our water levels daily, which is what we had agreed to the whole time,” Sheppard began. “Our water usage, the water that goes from the wells into the storage tanks, our water heights in the wells.”
Wash 66 client Seamus Byrne said he brings his vehicles to the car wash almost daily.
He said a dispute over water doesn’t make any sense.
“It doesn’t affect anybody else,” Byrne said. “They’ve built a water system that works here. The other thing is the fact that they recycle their water, is a major, major thing that the community doesn’t realize.”
With an agreement now in place, Sheppard said he can finalize plans to pump water from his well into holding tanks for use in his business. Part of his agreement states he cannot pump well water directly into the car wash.
He said his well water supply could be operational in about a week without any further setbacks.
Sheppard said he’s pleased to be able to move forward and said moving to well water will help make his business more viable.
But he said he’s still disappointed he needed to sign an agreement at all.
“The only issue — if I had an issue — would be none of the other businesses in the community have any kind of oversight at all on their water use,” Sheppard said. “So do I feel like I kind of got singled out a bit? Sure.”
Attempts to reach Quispamsis Mayor Gary Clark and Municipal Planning Officer Dwight Colbourne were not successful.