City workers are busy alleviating the current water crisis as well as working to beat the spring melt by completing the Water Treatment Plant’s $24 million upgrade while the river is still frozen. The Boil Water Order remains in place for Prince Albert and all rural users of the city’s water.
The nearness of spring is highlighting the importance of completing the upgrades before the spring run-off increases the water’s turbidity, which could exacerbate current water woes.
© Herald photo Keely J Dakin
The removal of three weeks worth of ice at the water treatment plant is the next step towards flushing the city's water system. Once the ice has been scrapped away, the basins will be drained completely for the second time since the Boil Water Order was put in place. The basins will be drained and then cleaned before being refilled for what will hopefully be the last time.
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 to peel the frozen Styrofoam off the basins in order to drain them and clean out the gathered sediment.
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Now that process must be repeated one final time. Once the ice has been scrapped away, the basins will be drained and then cleaned before being refilled for what will hopefully be the last time.
“possibly the most productive day we’ve had,” Kirk Wilson, manager of the Water Treatment Plant
On Monday, says Wilson, there will be divers who will be brought in to begin cleaning the two reservoirs on Marquis and Second Avenue West. The divers will clean out the reservoirs with vacuum systems. This will save on the time and money it would cost to have them completely drained and cleaned individually.
Residents are strongly urged to continue to follow the Boil Water Order.
For up to date and detailed information regarding the city's tests and progress, check their website at www.citypa.ca