During a press conference on Monday morning, City Manager Robert Cotterill said that the Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory which was given on Friday, Feb, 3 is still in effect and could remain that way for up to two weeks. While he does not know for certain at this point he said, “My guess right now is two weeks.”
Residents are still advised to boil all water which will be consumed, cooked with, used for ice cubes or for brushing teeth. Water must be brought to a rolling boil for a least one minute.
Paul Ross, the Manager of Public Health with Parkland Regional Health District said that people should continue to be cautious over the next several days. He stressed that precaution is encouraged and important, but also said there is, “no confirmation of contaminate,” in the water.
He said they have been performing 10 separate tests of biological samples per day instead of the regular 10 per week. All of those tests have come back negative, although the tests for other the parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium are still being performed.
© Herald photo Keely J Dakin
City Manager Robert Cotterill spoke at a press conference on Monday morning, discussing the ongoing water precaution advisory and how it all came about. Staff members from the city, health and environment all attended.
Andy Busse, environmental project officer for the Ministry of Environment said that initial testing for turbidity, chlorine and bacteria levels have been done. “While testing has confirmed that water quality is acceptable,” said Busse, residents should continue to boil their water. People should remain captious until the, “quality and safety of the water can be guaranteed at all times.”
Cotterill took time to outline the history of the water contamination and how it occurred.
He said that the, “solid’s in the water,” or turbidity, was recognized as a problem because the filters were getting plugged up. It was decided that the, “sedimentary basin needed to be cleaned immediately,” as it was impacting the filters capacity to function and properly clean or process the water.
At 3a.m. on Friday the plant operator noticed that the high turbidity of the water was worsening, and decided to turn off the plant and send all the water to waste in order to clear the system completely.
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At around 6a.m. on Friday morning it was recognized that the turbidity of the water coming from the river street reservoir had begun to climb, and the Plant Operator realized that something must have gone wrong, while flushing the basin, as the plant had been turned off several hours earlier and the turbidity should have been eliminated.
Cotterill said that the city decided to cut into the pipe which would most effect the location of the turbidity and it was discovered that that the valve, which should have closed after the flushing of the basin, had malfunctioned, failing to close completely and allowing some of that waste water to enter the river street reservoir.
The ministry of Environment then issued a Boil Water Advisory on Friday, and also a caution to use less water, as the plant needed to refill its reservoirs in order to continue the process of flushing and cleaning the system. Laundromats and car washes were told to close their doors to conserve water.
“My guess right now is two weeks.” City Manager Robert Cotterill
Cotterill said that over the weekend the reservoirs were able to fill significantly. River street reservoir is 70-72 per cent full now, he said, while the other two reservoirs are sitting at about 45 per cent. He said that it is important that they continue to fill and asks the public to remain frugal with their use of water for the next couple of weeks.
On Monday laundromats were advised they could reopen and car washes will be back in working order on Tuesday.
For detailed information on how to use water safely during a boil water advisory, to the Parkland Health Region’s website at: http://www.princealbertparklandhealth.com
On the left hand side of the screen is a link to a fact sheet Boil Water Advisory Information Sheet. That sheet has also been posted on the City website at www.citypa.com.