Town­ship wel­comes move as re­gion sim­pli­fies wa­ter treat­ment process in Mary­hill

Two sys­tems can now be shared

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - FAISAL ALI

A CHANGEOVER IN HOW Mary­hill’s drink­ing wa­ter is han­dled should pay div­i­dends to Wool­wich in the form of im­proved ef­fi­ciency, as two dis­tinct well sys­tems will have in­op­er­abil­ity.

The Re­gion of Water­loo last week changed its treat­ment process of Mary­hill’s drink­ing wa­ter, sim­pli­fy­ing its meth­ods of dis­in­fect­ing the vil­lage’s potable wa­ter. The move was wel­comed by the town­ship.

“It’s a great ini­tia­tive. It’s bet­ter for the res­i­dents. It’s bet­ter for the town­ship. It’s just a great lit­tle project that the re­gion’s de­cided to un­der­take,” said Jared Puppe, a project su­per­vi­sor with the Wool­wich en­gi­neer­ing depart­ment.

“We’ve been cer­tainly ask­ing them to do this for a num­ber of years, so we’re quite happy that they’re do­ing it this year.”

Cur­rently, the town has two drink­ing wa­ter sys­tems. The Mary­hill dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem situated in the south of the town around Is­ley, and the Mary­hill Heights dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem in the north. The sys­tems each draw wa­ter from two dis­tinct wells and pro­vide wa­ter separately to 180 and 147 peo­ple, re­spec­tively.

The sys­tems used two dif­fer­ent meth­ods to dis­in­fect the drink­ing wa­ter, which pre­vented the two wa­ter sup­plies from be­ing mixed with each other with­out the po­ten­tial for prob­lems.

Both sys­tems use chlo­rine to dis­in­fect the wa­ter they draw up, but the Is­ley sys­tem has the added pre­cau­tion of adding am­mo­nia sul­fate to the wa­ter – a process called chlo­ram­i­na­tion – to keep the quan­tity of chlo­rine par­ti­cles up in the wa­ter sup­ply.

“We had me­tal­lic dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem out in the Is­ley area, the me­tal­lic tends to eat up the chlo­rine quick-

er than the plas­tic does so that’s why the am­mo­nia is added in,” Puppe ex­plained, adding that chlo­ram­i­na­tion is a com­mon process, and is used for Elmira and St. Ja­cobs be­cause they get their wa­ter piped a longer dis­tance from Water­loo.

But a study con­ducted by the re­gion de­ter­mined that they could elim­i­nate the chlo­ram­i­na­tion process for the Is­ley wa­ter sup­ply with­out ef­fect­ing the wa­ter safety. Be­sides sim­pli­fy­ing the treat­ment process, the change al­lows the two wa­ter sup­ply sys­tems to be used in­ter­change­ably, let­ting one sys­tem sup­port the other as needed.

“In case we have a low pres­sure drop in the Is­ley sys­tem, the Heights sys­tem picks that up. Right now we’re de­pended on the Is­ley sys­tem, and the Is­ley sup­ply is not nearly as great as the Heights sup­ply. So that’s some (of the) chal­lenges we’ve had out in Is­ley is at times you may see pres­sure drops,” said Puppe.

“We’re al­ways flush­ing that (Is­ley) sys­tem out there all the time to main­tain their chlo­rine resid­u­als. So we’d ex­pect our man­power time out in Mary­hill will be far re­duced when this hap­pens be­cause you’ll have the Heights be­ing able to com­pen­sate.”

The change in wa­ter treat­ment is ex­pected to have a slight ef­fect on the wa­ter’s taste, which the re­gion says is nor­mal.

The re­gion and town­ship have a di­vided re­spon­si­bil­ity over Mary­hill’s drink­ing wa­ter sys­tems. The wa­ter sup­ply and treat­ment sys­tem it­self is un­der the re­gion’s aus­pices, while the town­ship owns and man­ages the dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem. Re­spon­si­bil­ity for wa­ter qual­ity test­ing is like­wise di­vided be­tween the two gov­ern­ments, which re­port yearly on each sys­tem.

Ac­cord­ing to 2016’s an­nual re­ports pro­duced by the re­gion and town­ship, the Is­ley wa­ter sys­tem tested above On­tario’s stan­dards for chlo­ramine con­cen­tra­tions twice in the year. While the prov­ince man­dates a limit on chlo­ramine lev­els in drink­ing wa­ter, the com­pound is con­sid­ered fairly be­nign even at lev­els above the limit.

In an emailed state­ment, Olga Vrent­zos, man­ager of wa­ter op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance for the re­gion, ex­plained:

“There is a leg­isla­tive re­quire­ment to in­clude re­sults that are above half the pro­vin­cial stan­dard in the an­nual wa­ter qual­ity re­ports, there isn’t a cause for con­cern. The two ad­verse chlo­ramine events in 2016 were op­er­a­tionally based and quickly re­solved.

“One of the ben­e­fits of the planned changes to the dis­in­fec­tion method in the Mary­hill sys­tem is the elim­i­na­tion of ad­verse re­sults for chlo­ramine.”

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