Increased chlorination to continue

March 18, 2014.

Dave Mabell


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With ice thawing along the Oldman River, city residents will have to put up with poor-tasting water.

But Lethbridge water remains clean and safe to drink, city council was assured Monday.

Doug Hawkins, the city’s manager of infrastructure services, reported officials are receiving complaints about the odour and less-than-ideal taste of the city’s water currently, in the wake of a boil-water order last week.

“Turbidity levels and the amount of suspended solids remains high,” he told council.

“And the ice is breaking up now,” adding to the situation.

“It’s a continuing challenge,” he said. “The plant is operating normally,” Hawkins added.

Though last week’s challenges forced the plant’s temporary shutdown, he said conditions now are what’s usually expected in March. As in previous years, part of the city’s response is to increase the level of chlorination in the system as a safeguard.

“That’s normal,” and could continue for several more days.

Mayor Chris Spearman joined council members in thanking Hawkins, water and wastewater manager Doug Kaupp and their staff for their work in overcoming the city’s brief water crisis.

“They were the heroes during the water shortage.”

The mayor also praised the efforts of Fire Chief Brian Cornforth, who doubles as the city’s emergency response director.

City residents should also be thanked for conserving the water supply as requested, Councillor Ryan Parker said.

Spearman told council city officials consider the consequences when they ask businesses and citizens o reduce their water consumption significantly.

“We don’t issue a state of emergency order lightly,” he said.

Nor does Alberta Health Services when it issues a boil-water warning, the mayor added.

As of Monday, however, residents of the Vista Meadows residential development west of the city – along with customers of the Lethbridge North County Potable Water Co-op and the County of Lethbridge Rural Water Association Co-op – remained under a boil-water order from AHS.

Officials said there was a possibility of contamination from the depressurization of co-op lines during the regional water emergency. It could take several days for the systems to be flushed and deemed potable, they said earlier.