Neigh­bour­hood’s wa­ter safe again, city says af­ter 8-month dis­rup­tion

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY+REGION - PHIL TANK ptank@post­media.com twit­ter.com/think­tankSK

Wa­ter is ex­pected to flow freely in a few weeks through the un­der­ground pipes con­nect­ing to 10 homes in the Aspen Ridge neigh­bour­hood.

The city has lifted the ad­vi­sory warn­ing not to use wa­ter from the city’s pipes for bathing or drink­ing, said An­gela Gar­diner, the City of Saska­toon’s act­ing di­rec­tor of trans­porta­tion and util­i­ties.

City staff dis­cov­ered hy­dro­car­bons in fire hy­drants near the homes in Jan­uary, prompt­ing the in­stal­la­tion of above-ground hoses to con­nect the homes to the city’s wa­ter sup­ply.

Gar­diner thanked res­i­dents for their pa­tience.

“We un­der­stand it’s been a long eight-month process,” she told re­porters at city hall on Fri­day. “This is an un­prece­dented sit­u­a­tion for the city.”

Orig­i­nally, the city pro­vided bot­tled wa­ter and al­lowed the af­fected res­i­dents ac­cess to city recre­ation cen­tres to shower. In Fe­bru­ary, the city in­stalled the tem­po­rary wa­ter con­nec­tion. The city still hasn’t found the source of the hy­dro­car­bons, but it’s an “as­phalt-based sub­stance,” Gar­diner said. A sim­i­lar type of hy­dro­car­bon was found in hy­drants in the Rose­wood neigh­bour­hood ear­lier this year.

Hy­dro­car­bons are one of the main com­po­nents of petroleum and nat­u­ral gas.

Gar­diner con­firmed that one the­ory the peo­ple in­ves­ti­gat­ing the con­tam­i­na­tion are look­ing at is whether it can be traced back to the man­u­fac­turer of the hy­drants. The hy­drants in both ar­eas are new, she said.

“The city ’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the source of the con­tam­i­nant is on­go­ing, al­though it has been iden­ti­fied as an as­phalt-based prod­uct,” Gar­diner said.

The city con­tracted Stantec to inspect and clean the wa­ter pipes. No hy­dro­car­bons were dis­cov­ered other than those in the hy­drants.

The city lifted the wa­ter warn­ing for the Rose­wood Com­mer­cial area in Au­gust.

LIAM RICHARDS

Su­san Ser­rano stands near a city hy­drant out­side her home in Saska­toon’s Aspen Ridge neigh­bour­hood. Res­i­dents were warned not to use mu­nic­i­pal wa­ter for drink­ing or bathing af­ter hy­dro­car­bons were found in the hy­drants in Jan­uary.

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