Water Advisory News
Collection of news stories on the Prince Albert Water Advisory Issue
Collection of news stories on the Prince Albert Water Advisory Issue
After about six weeks of urging residents to boil their water, Prince Albert's boil water order has been lifted for city users as of this morning.
Crews are currently flushing rural lines, so until further notice rural users should continue to abide by the boil water order.
"I'm happy that we're now going to have the order lifted off of us and get our drinking water back to standards," city manager Robert Cotterill said Thursday afternoon, in the midst of going through the final arrangements to make this morning's announcement official.
"I know all of city staff feel sick about the situation that we found ourselves in, and I personally am apologizing to the citizens of our city that we had it happen, but if people had seen the plant that we're trying to change they might understand."
The water treatment plant's ongoing $24 million in upgrades set for completion by the end of this year are indicative of an aging facility that needs work, he suggested.
The initial boil…
Prince Albert residents are now one giant step closer to normal water use.
The city finished flushing the system today in Zone 2, which is roughly the southern half of Prince Albert. The emergency boil water order has been in effect since Feb. 3.
City manager Robert Cotterill says now the city waits.
"We are well ahead of schedule and now only have to wait for the water test results to come in," Cotterill said. "The test samples are being collected this afternoon and will be sent to the lab tomorrow. You have to remember that the testing can take anywhere from three to five
days so we are looking at about Friday to hear back on the test results.
"At that time, we will be in a position to know whether the boil water order can be lifted."
During city council's Monday meeting, Jim Scarrow reiterated his appreciation for the understanding and acceptance from the public.
"It has not be easy for many and continues to be a requirement,"…
Hopes of saving the Marion Aquatics Pool remain afloat, with $12,560 raised only five days into a fundraising effort.
"That's five days!" the fundraiser's head Greg Dionne enthusiastically noted. "That shows me how much these residents and the people of Prince Albert appreciate the pool and the work that the sisters do."
The Sisters of the Presentation of Mary have operated the pool for the past 35 years, during which time over one million people have dipped their toes into the pool.
Although the pool has operated in the financial red in the past, the sisters have always been able to foot the bill.
That was, until the pool was forced to close their doors in early February as a result of Prince Albert's boil water order, with the cryptosporidium microorganisms detected in treated water able to survive chlorine treatments.
Facing about $30,000 in debt as a result of the closure that is expected to remain in place until the end of March, the sisters feared the pool's doors would have to…
Plunging deeper and deeper into debt, Prince Albert's boil water order may spell the end for the Marion Aquatics Pool.
"It's very worrisome for us," Sister Jean said. "We don't want to close the pool - we want to keep it open to the community ... If the doors close, it's not because we haven't tried and wanted to keep it open to the public."
Like the city's other public pool - the taxpayer-subsidized Frank Dunn Pool - the Marion Aquatics Pool was closed Feb. 7 in response to the city's treated water testing positive for the potentially harmful giardia and cryptosporidium microorganisms.
"The sad thing is, the kids were waiting outside to start their lessons," Jean said.
Unlike the Frank Dunn Pool, the Marion Aquatics Pool isn't subsidized by taxpayers, instead depending entirely on the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, with Sisters Jean and Annette managing the pool on a volunteer basis to help keep costs down.
A pool typically booked solid throughout the week by aquasize groups,…
The end of Prince Albert's boil water order is in sight, city manager Robert Cotterill said during a press conference on Tuesday.
"Our estimate now is that we will be in a position to provide safe drinking water to our residents by the end of March," he said.
"We are throwing Murphy's Law into that equation. We know that with Murphy ... something always seems to go wrong, whether we have water breaks or other problems as we're doing the construction, so we think we're being slightly pessimistic, but residents want to know how long, so we're saying the end of March."
The announcement comes 25 days after the city's initial precautionary boil water advisory was issued as a result of a faulty valve at the city's water treatment plant letting untreated river water into the water distribution system.
Although the city's water treatment plant is now operating as it should, the potentially harmful giardia micro-organism is still in the system, Cotterill said.
Crews are currently in the midst of the lengthy and…
Dr. James Irvine, medical health officer, says that there are a number of ways in which a person can contract the parasite, including but not only water. "It will be impossible to know for sure, if it was the water," said Irvine.
As the parasite common, there are several other possible causes of infection, such as lake water, or unwashed produce, or close proximity to others that have come in contact with it. For that reason the Health Region is following up with the childcare centre, which the child attended, as well as contacting other childcare centres to discuss the situation. He also suggests that if you do have symptoms, to stay at home until they go away, or for at least 48 hours.
Since Feb. 23rd there have been 141 patient samples tested for parasites. Irvine cautions "It is not unexpected that with this number of tests done, that there would be some positive results," as around one per cent of the population may have the parasite at any…
The fourth step in the system-cleaning plan, the installation of the fourth and final filter is well underway at the water treatment plant. In order to continue the necessary upgrades, it was necessary to shut down the plant for several hours on Thursday as the piping for the new clarification system was installed.
Kirk Wilson, manager of the Water Treatment Plant, says Thursday was a busy day at the plant, "possibly the most productive day we've had," since the boil water order came into play. Workers installed a large-diameter pipe, which will be an important part of the upgraded water purification system.
He explains that one of the next steps in the reparation of the system is under way. Three weeks worth of ice must to be removed from the basins at the water treatment plant. Normally these basins are covered with Styrofoam for the whole of winter to prevent them from freezing over. However, three weeks ago, when the turbidity of the water was severe, he says they had…
It has been 18 days since the contamination of the water, says Cotterill. He confirmed once again, that there have still been “no positive test results for giardia or cryptosporidium,” in any of the 108 samples taken from patients with gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, anywhere in the area of Prince Albert.
Cotterill says that they had “a very successful weekend.” They continue working to install the fourth filter at the water treatment plant. Once it is up and running properly, the production of the plants cleaning capacity should be “Increased by another 25 per cent."
Cotterill says that a flushing program showing residents how to clean their own water heaters and piping will be made available to the public within the next few days. However, residents should not attempt to clean their pumps, water heaters or any other components until the city water is completely clean and back to normal.
Colin Innes, the city's director of public works, says that they have devised a five-point plan to clean the system effectively. On Thursday, work will begin to clean the River Street reservoir. The last part of the plan will be to flush the system entirely once all of the reservoirs are completely disinfected and once the plant brings more filters online.
The city is also increasing the quantity of chlorine in the water supply to assist with the process. Innes says that residents will likely notice a stronger scent of chlorine in their water over the next couple of weeks. Bill Miller, manager with the municipal branch of the Ministry of the Environment, assures that the added chlorine will not pose any health threat.
For those people that strongly dislike the idea of increased chlorine in their water, Miller says that if you leave water in the open or in the fridge for several hours, much of the chlorine will dissipate.…
The expectation that Prince Albert's water issues would be resolved within two weeks was overly optimistic, city manager Robert Cotterill said.
"Our two-week concept, we don't think is reasonable," he said during a Friday press conference. "Could it be a month? Yes, but we don't know... Other testing will give us a better indication of what is happening with the reservoirs and out in the system."
"There are no shortcuts. As we move further into the process we will be able to better assess the timeline and we will keep the public fully informed as we know more."
The city's emergency boil water order remains in place, as instated Wednesday in response to potentially harmful microorganisms found in the city's treated water.
Possible side effects of consuming the microorganisms - giardia cysts and cryptosporidium - include nausea, vomiting and chronic diarrhea.
Public health is monitoring the issue, and pharmacy staff have been asked to provide information regarding the sale of anti-diarrheal medications.
"To date, there have been no positive test results for giardia or…