Pic­tou’s wa­ter trou­bles ex­pected to end soon

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY - BY SUEANN MUSICK

It took al­most 10 years, but Pic­tou’s new wa­ter treat­ment plant could soon spell the end to the town’s brown wa­ter prob­lems.

The Town of Pic­tou’s first cen­tral­ized wa­ter treat­ment plant was of­fi­cially un­veiled Fri­day and was ex­pected to be fully oper­a­tional by Mon­day.

“It is not to­tally on­line,” said Mike Chaulk of CBCL Con­sul­tants which de­signed the new plant and was present at the grand open­ing.

He said the fi­nal steps are just a mat­ter of mak­ing sure all per­mits are in place for the oper­a­tion of the plant as well as be­ing cau­tious in terms of of­fi­cially turn­ing things over to the new sys­tem. “It is down to the hours. You shouldn’t start this up on Fri­day, but come Mon­day morn­ing it will be on­line. If you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing black wa­ter now, next week you should see that go away.”

The $5.8-mil­lion plant was built in town to take care of high man­ganese and iron lev­els as well as low wa­ter pres­sure. It is the sec­ond of a two-phase up­grade, and in­volved de­sign­ing and con­struct­ing the cen­tral­ized wa­ter treat­ment plant to re­move con­cen­tra­tions of iron and man­ganese. Re­duc­tion cham­bers and boost­ing sta­tions were also in­stalled in the dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem to bal­ance pres­sure dur­ing pe­ri­ods of peak de­mand.

Pic­tou’s ex­ist­ing wa­ter dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem draws di­rectly from ground­wa­ter wells that con­tain high lev­els of nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring iron and man­ganese. Due to low wa­ter pres­sure of the town’s dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem and the re­ac­tion of iron and man­ganese with chlo­rine dis­in­fec­tants, these con­tam­i­nants have set­tled and ac­cu­mu­lated in the dis­tri­bu­tion pipes.

The project re­ceived sup­port from the Gov­ern­ment of Canada and Prov­ince of Nova Sco­tia through the New Build­ing Canada Fund in the amount of $1.7 mil­lion from each party for con­struc­tion of the treat­ment plant and pres­sure zones as well as $207,000 from the Pro­vin­cial Cap­i­tal As­sis­tance Pro­gram.

With the new treat­ment plant, the util­ity can now mon­i­tor its 13 wells and in­stru­ments in real time, treat 3,000 cu­bic me­tres of wa­ter per day, and re­move more than 90 per cent of all iron and man­ganese. The fa­cil­ity is com­prised of four sand fil­ters, four ox­ida­tive me­dia tanks, real time com­puter mon­i­tor­ing and alarm­ing of the treat­ment plant, iso­lated chem­i­cal stor­age and ex­ten­sive wa­ter qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment.

As part of the town’s com­mit­ment to en­vi­ron­men­tal prac­tices, the treat­ment plant fea­tures Nova Sco­tia’s first wa­ter re­cy­cle process, which sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces wasted wa­ter for in­ter­nal pro­cesses.

Chaulk said once the sys­tem is com­pletely on­line, the wa­ter in the town’s reser­voir will flush it­self out over time, re­plac­ing it with wa­ter from the new treat­ment fa­cil­ity.

In ad­di­tion to the treat­ment plant, two pres­sure zones are also be­ing in­stalled. With these new zones, wa­ter cus­tomers in higher el­e­va­tions should ex­pe­ri­ence an in­crease in pres­sure of ap­prox­i­mately 10 PSI, which will al­low the util­ity to com­plete an ex­ten­sive flush pro­gram to re­me­di­ate pip­ing and elim­i­nate iron and man­ganese that is al­ready in the wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture,

Pic­tou Mayor Ryan said. “Bring­ing the wa­ter treat­ment plant on line and the com­ple­tion of the pres­sure valve in­stal­la­tions next month are ma­jor steps in pro­vid­ing a bet­ter qual­ity and more re­li­able wa­ter ser­vice to all ar­eas of the town. Res­i­dents and busi­ness own­ers have been look­ing for­ward to this for many years. We are thank­ful for the par­tic­i­pa­tion of our pro­vin­cial and fed­eral part­ners in bring­ing this project to fruition.”

Pic­tou res­i­dents cur­rently have wa­ter me­ters in place and are be­ing charged a quar­terly rate. The town ex­pects that by Jan. 1, 2019, res­i­dents will start to be billed based on the amount of wa­ter they use in their homes.

SUEANN MUSICK/THE NEWS

Nova Sco­tia Min­is­ter of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs Chuck Porter, left, and Cen­tral Nova MP Sean Fraser, right were on hand Fri­day to help Pic­tou Mayor Jim Ryan of­fi­cially open the town’s new wa­ter treat­ment plant. The new sys­tem is ex­pected to end the town’s brown wa­ter is­sues by re­mov­ing the high lev­els of iron and mag­ne­sium from its ground wa­ter.

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