Update, July 22, 9:01 a.m.:
Site C Community Relations Manager Bob Gammer says BC Hydro is aware of the issues Hudson’s Hope is experiencing with its water treatment plant, and are willing to help, but noted nothing specific has been asked yet by the municipality.
“The District is providing us with regular updates on the situation,” said Gammer. “We wish to maintain our strong, collaborative approach with the District of Hudson’s Hope and remain in regular contact with staff as they work to resolve the situation.”
In the meantime, the District of Hudson’s Hope is offering five gallon bottles of water to its residents, one per household – they can be picked up the community hall and can be returned for refills as needed.
The water is for drinking, brushing teeth, and cooking – with each bottle meant to last two to four days, stated the District in a public service announcement.
Mayor Dave Heiberg says he’s aware of the ask for a town hall to answer questions about the plant, but wants to touch base with council and staff before announcing a meeting. Most likely next week, he added.
“We’re going to share with the community as much as we can, when we can, but we’re just confirming a few things,” he said. “Probably first of the week, I think that would be an appropriate time, just to get a couple days under our belts to know what we’re doing.”
The town is in the process of hauling water from Chetwynd and Fort St. John to supplement and bypass filters, noted Heiberg.
“We’re in the process of hauling water, but we’re also in the process of trying to bypass our filters and pre-filters, and they tell me we have a blending line that can used to pump water into raw water into the reservoir – we’re just confirming if we can do that,” said Heiberg. “If it works, that will help us pump raw water into the aquifer, but we’ll still have to boil it.”
Update, 11:25 a.m.:
The District of Hudson’s Hope has placed the community on a boil water notice due to a mechanical failure at their new water treatment plant.
Hudson’s Hope Mayor Dave Heiberg says the water contains bacteria and iron, which react together, with particles building up and clogging the reverse osmosis filters at the plant.
“We’re trying to mitigate what we’ve got right now. The bottom line is that the water treatment plant is not performing as well as we wanted, for a number of reasons," he said. "Coupled with the fact that we are going into our season for heavy use, it makes things even more challenging."
Heiberg says the district is doing its best to keep the town supplied, in addition to meeting reservoir requirements for firefighting response.
“I’ve been told that the reservoir should be at 40 per cent, but we’re not there yet," he said. "We’re already engaging contingencies to make sure that we don’t go down to that particular threshold."
“In the meantime, staff and the water treatment plant operators are working their butts off to try and make this thing work – it’s not an easy task," he said.
According to the notice, residents are advised to boil their water for at least one minute to "inactivate all harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses from drinking water."
"The District is running the systems now with untreated well water,” says the notice.
It’s not the first time the water plant has suffered from complications, with roughly 150 residents petitioning the district over the quality of the water in May.
Water quality has been a concern since the district switched their source last February, a change prompted by the development of Site C. Berm construction was expected to disturb the district's current water supply, sourced mainly from surface water from the river.
BC Hydro has been asked for comment on their legal and financial responsibility in helping the district navigate its issues with the new water source. A response is expected Friday.
Heiberg has previously acknowledged the frustration of residents over the decline in water quality and continued issues in fine-tuning the new source.
“The quality of water is just not what we’re used to, and when we entered this whole new process with an aquifer as a source, we were looking for same quality and quantity of water that we had before - it’s not meeting that mark,” he said in May. “Obviously, the community is not very happy about it, and council’s not very happy about it.”
The District of Hudson’s Hope has issued a boil water notice due to a mechanical failure of its water treatment plant.
In a public notice, the district reports that the water plant has stopped working.
"The District is running the systems now with untreated well water,” the district notice says.
According to the notice, residents should boil their water for at least one minute to "inactivate all harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses from drinking water."
More information below:
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative.
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