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Saskatchewan city completes third phase of major drinking water upgrades project

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Estevan drinking water tower
Estevan drinking water tower. Photo credit: Wtshymanski, Wikimedia Commons.

Saskatchewan residents in the City of Estevan can expect “noticeably improved, less hard” drinking water, municipal officials explained, as they unveiled the third and final phase of the community’s drinking water system upgrade project.

As a result of the upgrades, the city of 14,000 that sits near the U.S-Canada border will soon shift its primary water source from the Boundary Dam to the Rafferty Dam, where officials hosted a celebration for the drinking water upgrades last week.

“This project has been several years in the making and we are happy to be able to announce that residents will have a cleaner water source with fewer trihalomethanes,” announced Estevan Mayor Roy Ludwig, speaking about the chemicals formed when chlorine used to disinfect water reacts with natural organic matter.

The first of three phases for the drinking water upgrades began in 2017 with the construction of two settling ponds to protect the Souris River by storing residuals generated by the water treatment plant. The ponds alternate collecting the residuals as part of the water treatment process.

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Phases two and three of the drinking water upgrades were completed in tandem. These included construction of a 9.2 kilometre-long water pipeline that runs from the original riverbed in the Rafferty Dam Reservoir to the Estevan Water Treatment Plant. The third and final phase of the project was the intake line from the dam and the construction of a pumphouse that will soon be commissioned.

Rafferty Dam
Estevan will soon shift the primary water source from the Boundary Dam to the Rafferty Dam, pictured, where officials hosted a celebration for the drinking water upgrades last week. Photo credit: Madison Colbow/City of Estevan.

KGS Group was a primary consultant on the upgrades.

Estevan Water Services Manager Shane Bucsis spoke at the upgrades celebration event. “They’ll notice a different taste, hopefully for the better, and they’ll notice that their fixtures, water heaters, and softeners should last a lot longer,” he said.

The City of Estevan Water Treatment Plant was established in the 1950s. Its average consumption of water is close to 5,000 cubic meters per day with a peak daily use of 10,000 cubic meters.

Through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects program, the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan are each contributing up to $3.1 million toward the Estevan Water Treatment System Upgrades Project. The City of Estevan is responsible for any remaining costs of the project, which has a total eligible cost of $9.4 million under the program.

Earlier, in 2004, several other upgrades were completed to improve the quality and the disinfection of the drinking water for the city. These included new filtration, chemical feed systems, and the addition of ultraviolet disinfection reactors.

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