Treatment plant should end boil water advisories, says mayor

Water treatment plant
Aerial view of Yellowknife's new water treatment plant (right).
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A boil water advisory remains in place in Yellowknife and the surrounding area as we head into Wednesday.

But the city’s mayor, Mark Heyck, believes this may be the last the city’s residents will face.

A new water treatment plant, being constructed at a cost of around $30 million near Tin Can Hill, is almost ready.

“When the new treatment plant comes on-stream shortly, it’ll feature a membrane filtration system – so these types of issues with turbidity in the water will become a thing of the past,” said Heyck.

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“We’re getting very close to the completion of construction and commissioning. I can’t give an exact date but it’s coming up very soon.”

Read: Boil water advisory issued for Yellowknife, Dettah, N’Dilo

Read: Previous Yellowknife water boil advisory lasted 10 days, says doc

Fact sheet: Yellowknife’s new water treatment plant (pdf)

The plant should open later in the summer. Construction began in 2011 after the territory adopted federal drinking water guidelines two years earlier.

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“The regulations required any community that draws its water from a surface water source – as we do at the Yellowknife River – to have filtration for reasons such as this,” Heyck told Moose FM.

“That’s one of the features of the new plant and it’ll certainly be a benefit in future.”

Heyck reiterated an assurance that the boil water advisory is merely a precaution, adding: “It’s a random occurrence – particularly with low water levels and a quick melt in springtime of snow running into our watershed, where we get our drinking water.”

Meanwhile, the territorial Department of Health has published an online Q&A regarding the boil water advisory.

The Q&A includes guidance for homes using trucked water, advice for pet owners, an explanation of how restaurants and cafes are affected, and a definition of the word ‘turbidity’ – which has been used to describe the issue with Yellowknife’s water.

“Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by large numbers of individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in air,” explains the document. “The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality.”

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