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Saturday , 31 July 2021
Waterline pipes. Image submitted.

Changeover to Cold Lake water could start next week for Bonnyville

Bonnyville residents will be getting a taste of improved water soon.

The Town of Bonnyville expects the changeover to Cold Lake water could begin at the start of next week.

The town said in a press release on Thursday they are anticipating the final regulatory approval to be finished soon and there is only the final cleaning, swabbing and disinfection of the line left to do before the regional waterline is finished.

An exact date for the change over will happen once the town knows for sure.

It is estimated that the travel times for drinking water between the water treatment plant and Bonnyville will be significantly large, the Town said.

To reduce and manage the formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs) associated with higher water age, a secondary disinfection by chloramination will be performed at the transfer station. The Town of Bonnyville and the M.D. may experience minor changes in taste and odour due to this change.

The regional water system will be disinfected with chloramination versus the current disinfection of chlorination that takes place at Bonnyville’s water treatment plant.

Due to the regional water system’s disinfection being different, the Town of Bonnyville will be required to flush the distribution system of its current water when the regional water is ready to enter the town’s system. This process is required as per Alberta Environment.

When the changeover occurs, it is recommended for residents to flush their internal plumbing for approximately 10 minutes or until any water colour changes and/ or cloudiness is diminished.

At the same time, the Town will be flushing the entire distribution system and a separate notice will be released providing an anticipated timeline on this flushing program once an exact date is known.

Individuals who utilize dialysis machines will need to ensure that any water used should be treated to remove any chloramines. If you require assistance on how to treat your water, please contact your physician.

Fish tank owners must de-chlorinate the tap water before filling it into fish tank. Ammonia and chlorine, both present in chloramine, (the new disinfection method) will have adverse effects on fish. Commercially available de-chlorination solution is readily available, the Town said.

The total project cost is roughly $94 million with the Town paying just over 10 per cent of the cost.

It was largely funded by federal and provincial grants.

Town FAQs

When will the project be completed?

The Project is now substantially complete with only final cleaning, swabbing and disinfection of the line left. Final regulatory approval is ongoing and we expect everything to be in place for a change over to Cold Lake water to happen the week of November 30th.

Due to regulatory approval requirements, the award of the project was delayed by about three months. Accordingly, project completion schedules including the delivery of some critical components for the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) were affected. To accommodate these unanticipated changes the project schedule previously planned needed extension.

Will I notice a difference in the water?

In the Town of Bonnyville you should notice an improved quality of the water, especially in the summer. The new source (Cold Lake) is a significant improvement in quality over Moose Lake where it is common to have Blue-green algae blooms (Cyanobacteria) in the summer.

Cold Lake water is treated through membrane filtration versus the Moose lake water which is treated with chemical addition and filter media. There will be an improvement in taste, odour and colour.

With the new extension of the regional water system which will reach the Town of Bonnyville at the furthest end, it is estimated that the travel times for drinking water between the water treatment plant and Bonnyville will be significantly large.

To reduce and manage the formation of disinfection by-product (DBPs) associated with higher water age, a secondary disinfection by chloramination will be performed at the Transfer Station. The communities at the Town of Bonnyville and the M.D. may experience minor changes in taste & odour due to chloramination.

(Note: Specific sectors of the public, pet fish owners and dialysis patients need to be aware of Chloramination)

What is a Chloramine disinfection? What are Chloramines?

Chloramines are formed when ammonia is added to chlorinated water. Chlorine kills bacteria, viruses and other organisms that could cause serious waterborne illnesses and death.

A small amount of ammonia is then added to maintain a disinfectant residual and stop the formation of disinfection by-products. The chloramine disinfection process has been used by water utilities for almost 90 years. City of Edmonton, EPCOR Water Services Inc. uses chloramine for disinfecting the treated water and provides regional treated water supply to several communities via regional water lines.

Why is Chloramine disinfection used?

Chloramine disinfection is utilized to disinfect treated water since it will alleviate the formation of disinfection by-products (DBP’s), such as Trihalomethanes.

Trihalomethanes are a by-product of the disinfection process. They are formed when chlorine breaks down organic material in the water. Research showed that the chloramine disinfection process would slow the formation of total Trihalomethanes. Both Alberta Environment and Parks, and EPCOR approved the utilization of the chloramination disinfection method.

What are Trihalomethanes (TTHM’s)?

Trihalomethanes present problems over a long period of time. Long term exposure to levels of Trihalomethanes that exceed the maximum contaminant level is a health concern (2014 Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines for TTHM limits is 0.1mg/L or 100ug/L).

The levels of Trihalomethanes fluctuate seasonally. By utilizing the chloraminated regional water system, we are able to keep the levels of Trihalomethanes low

Is Chloraminated water safe to use?

Yes – Chloraminated water is safe for drinking, bathing, cooking, gardening and other household tasks. Chloramines must be removed before using water in fish tanks. Products for chloramine removal are available through aquarium supply stores. As with chlorine, the chloramines should be removed from the water when used in kidney dialysis machines. Patients undergoing dialysis should check with their doctors about the dialysis filtering method being used.

Is Chloraminated water safe to use for plants, both indoor and outdoor?

Yes – Chloraminated water is safe for us on plants both indoor and outdoor.

Is Chloraminated water safe for my plastic or copper pipes?

Yes – The regional water is considered as approximately neutral: neither aggressive or corrosive, so that it will not have elevated corrosion on service lines made of plastic, copper or any other metals: service lines wear out with age and may require replacement due to long serviced life, it won’t be from corrosive water.

What is the updated total cost of the project and how is it being funded?

The total cost of the project is now anticipated to cost approximately $94,000,000.00. The federal and provincial government originally agreed to pay about 90% of the original estimated project cost of $83,500,000.00, the remaining 10% of the project cost is contributed by the MD and Town of Bonnyville.

The provincial government has decided that it will only contribute 50% of the cost overruns on the project to a maximum of $5,153,512.00. There is no additional federal funding for the additional costs.

The MD and Town will pick up the other 50% and any additional overages on an 80% Town/20% MD basis.

The project cost contributions are now broken down as follows:

Federal and Provincial Grants

Federal Government for Cold Lake First Nations  $3,234,161.00

Provincial Government for Frog Lake First Nations  $7,494,896.00

Provincial Water for Life Grant   $38,013,116.00

Federal – Canada Water/Wastewater Fund  $32,434,200.00

Total Grant Amount $81,176,373.00 (86.74%)

Municipal Contributions

Municipal District of Bonnyville  $2,456,859.00 (2.63%)

Town of Bonnyville  $9,951,519.00 (10.63%)

Grand Total–$93,584,751.00

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.