Saskatchewan town celebrates after ending water woes

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Craik water tanks
Craik installs surplus water tanks in fall 2018. Credit: Town of Craik via Facebook.

Most of the 400 residents in the Saskatchewan Town of Craik spent May 2 celebrating with food and music over the news that a nearly decade-long boil water advisory had finally been lifted.

The town declared it “Clean Water Day”.

Craik, located an hour northwest of Regina on Highway 11 in the heart of the grain belt, had been under a Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory since August 17, 2010, for “failing to meet minimum disinfection levels.”

The advisory was lifted this month following upgrades to the community’s water treatment plant.

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“This is truly exciting,” announced Craik Mayor David Ashdown. “Clean drinking water is the first priority for any thriving community. The federal and provincial governments by their participation have both indicated that they see Craik as a place worth investing in and now it’s our turn to repay that confidence by working even harder to help Craik reach its full potential,” he added.

Five test wells were drilled at various locations to determine if groundwater was a suitable option. The town eventually decided on the Craik Dam Site as the preferred water source, and water will be treated through a biological filtration process.

Previously, Craik officials had tried to solve its water woes with the construction of a new water plant. But the plant had a host of issues — notably after a section of the water plant flooded in error — and the Regina plant firm eventually filed for bankruptcy.

Afterwards, a federal-provincial grant of more than $1.4 million for Craik, through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, was announced in January 2017. The Town of Craik funded the remainder.

According to the municipality, the firm Black and MacDonald was contracted to do the mechanical and electrical side of the upgrade. Last year they removed half of the existing sand filters in the existing treatment facility. The process creates more demand on the remaining filters which led to the time frame being scheduled for after peak water usage.

“While the decommissioning phase of the project is occurring, the contractors are also busy retrofitting two reservoirs in the ‘old’ distribution building,” town documents state. “The goal is to add approximately 40,000 gallons of storage capacity to ensure sufficient water is available in emergency situations.”

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