Communities resolve drinking water service woes in time for holiday season

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Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant
Regina started out December by asking residents to limit water use after outages at its Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant. Photo Credit: Brian Bosley courtesy of Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant

Boil advisories in Ontario’s Halton Region for parts of Milton, and the southern Manitoba town of Carman, have been lifted in time for the Christmas holiday season, while power has returned to a water treatment plant in Saskatchewan.

Both boil water advisories were issued in early December, with Milton’s due to a water main break, and Carman’s in relation to the province discovering turbidity in the water.

“We are continuously upgrading and expanding our water management systems to meet the needs of our growing population so we can continue to provide reliable access to clean, safe drinking water for all to enjoy,” Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr said in a recent press release.

Last month, the city of Thompson, Manitoba, had also been placed under a boil water advisory after test results revealed total coliform bacteria in the treated and distributed water supply.

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In Saskatchewan, meanwhile, Regina started out December asking residents to limit water use after outages at its Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant, which services Regina, Moose Jaw and other smaller communities. In 2011, the plant had two significant power failures which put the cities in danger of running out of water. In 2015, there were three major outages.

The plant, which is completing at $32 million electrical system upgrade, is located in a remote area serviced by just a single power line that may have been affected by frost this month, officials said. In addition to replacing the plant’s aging electrical substation, improvements are coming to the power supply and raw water pumps to prevent future electrical failures.

The plant was built in 1950 and was last upgraded significantly in 1989.

During the recent outage, the City of Regina used its reservoirs and activated wells to supplement the supply of water, resulting in cloudier water clarity as the well water worked its way through the system. The plant has an emergency plan in place and generators capable of operating the plant at 25% – 30% capacity were used to offset the power outages.

After three power outages in five days, power was fully restored on December 6.

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