Water treatment plant upgrades well underway

By Kathy Gallant
December 7, 2017 - 4:53pm

A project which will eventually improve the overall quality of Meadow Lake’s drinking water is moving along nicely, according to city administration.

The upgrades to the City of Meadow Lake’s water treatment plant have been more than two years in the making. Once complete, the city’s water will be in better compliance with the Water Security Agency’s regulatory requirements, according to City Manager Diana Burton.

“The purpose of this project is to reduce the level of trihalomethanes (THMs) in the city’s drinking water,” she said. “They are formed as chlorine reacts to organic carbons in the water. Currently, our levels are too high, and the city has spent a significant amount of time looking at various possible way to reduce these levels.”

In 2015, the city was approved for a Building Canada Fund Grant, where the funding for the project will be evenly split between the Government of Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and the city. Burton said pilot projects began at that time. The project’s total cost is $4.6 million.

“We spent over a year doing piloting,” she said. “That showed that adding membranes to the current water treatment process is the best way to reduce the organic carbons, which in turn reduces the THMs.”

The project was tendered in two different parts, one for the supplying of the membranes and the second was for the water treatment plants mechanical, electrical, and piping, and the installation of the membranes, as well as ultraviolet treatment disinfection. The tender was awarded at the end of June, and work began soon after.

“We’re adding another component of treatment of our water, so they’re expanding the buildings to house [it],” Burton said. “The construction is the outbuildings, but the crux of the project is going to be inside, with the installation of the membranes. We’re adding the ultraviolet disinfection, which will be another step to improving our water treatment process, and both outcomes will help us meet our goal of providing safe drinking water to our residents and partners.”

To complete the most recent phase of the construction, a portion of the treatment had to be taken offline, and is expected back online later this month. This, coupled with the current quality of the water being brought in from the rivers and lakes, means the potential for a precautionary drinking water advisory is elevated, but Burton said water treatment plant employees are working around the clock to ensure this doesn’t happen.

“This is a big project,” she said. “It’s big in the magnitude of dollars, and it’s big in the fact that one of the most important tasks we do is providing water to our residents and we want to make sure it’s the safest we possibly can.

Construction is expected to fully wrap up in March 2018.


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