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Water plant town hall tonight

Delays in getting plant back online could result in a Do Not Consume notice being issued, says Northern Health
Water quality has been an ongoing concern in Hudson's Hope since the district opened the new treatment plant and water source in 2021, a change prompted by Site C construction along the Peace River.

Residents in Hudson's Hope will be given an update on their failing new water treatment plant at a town hall meeting tonight.

The community remains under a boil water notice after the plant stopped working last week due to a mechanical failure.

According to Northern Health, a failure in the plant’s reverse osmosis system resulted in a "need to bypass filters to supply water in a sufficient amount to service the public,” meaning the community water system was being run with untreated well water.

According to the health authority, all treatment at the plant is being bypassed with the exception of aeration to reduce H2S levels in the water. The boil water notice was issued “to ensure that bacteriological risks to the public were addressed.”

New filters for the reverse osmosis system, as well as sand filter media replacements, have been ordered and are expected to be replaced sometime this week, according to the health authority.

Once the  filters are installed, the health authority says the water system will still need to be disinfected and flushed "to ensure that all contaminated water has been removed from the distribution system.”

“[T]he system continues to be assessed to determine if a higher level of advisory is required to address potential long-term health risks that may be associated with chemicals/metals in the source water,” the health authority says.

“If there are any delays encountered with getting the Reverse Osmosis system back on line then a Do Not Consume Notice (DNC) may be considered for the community but more assessment is required at this time.”

Drinking water has been hauled into the community from Fort St. John and Chetwynd and provided free for residents in the meantime.

Water quality has been an ongoing concern since the district opened the new treatment plant and water source last year, a change prompted by Site C construction. The district's previous water supply was sourced mainly by surface water from the Peace River. Water is now being sourced from groundwater aquifer.

When the new treatment plant first opened in February 2021, residents were warned about high levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and methane gas, despite the plant being designed to treat and strip the gases from the well water.

The new system was also put on a boil water notice last summer because of E. Coli, and residents launched a petition earlier this year following complaints about high chlorine levels.

"The bottom line is that the water treatment plant is not performing as well as we wanted," Mayor Dave Heiberg reiterated last week, adding, "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."

The town hall starts at 7 p.m. at the community hall.

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