New Brunswick’s Sussex undertakes well work to reduce manganese

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The New Brunswick Town of Sussex has begun work on its Ward 2 Water Distribution System to adjust chlorine levels in disinfection systems, as well as undertake remediation for high turbidity and elevated levels of manganese.

Sussex currently has five production wells within its potable water distribution system capable of supplying up to 9,964 cubic meters per day. In an update to residents, local officials explained that they’re in the process of securing continuous chlorine and turbidity monitoring equipment, which is expected to cost $60,000 for the well work.

A CAO report before council in September revealed a troublesome trend in manganese test results from Saint John Laboratories. The sampling revealed that manganese levels have increased every year since 2019, the last time Sussex was below the federal aesthetic value guideline of 20 micrograms per litre.

By summer 2023, the manganese levels had spiked to 146 micrograms per litre, exceeding the federal maximum acceptable concentration of 120 micrograms per litre.    

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“Such a significant report reporting to the Provincial Director the Village’s Water Quality should have been reviewed at the Village’s operations committee at the very least, and clear merit to review this report at the Council level to assess and implement corrective actions,” states the report by CAO Scott Hatcher.

Manganese is an essential element for humans that occurs naturally in the environment and is widely distributed in air, water and soil. Canada’s threshold for manganese is among the lowest in the world.

To address the elevated manganese levels, Sussex Council has hired a specialized hydrogeologic consultant to begin the process of introducing preventative maintenance on the production wells in Ward 2. The council budgeted $130,000 for the work, which has been created and approved by the Departments of Health and Environment.

Also In July, a 10-day boil water advisory in Ward 2 was issued over concerns around coliform contamination.  

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