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Water Today Title June 29, 2022

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Advisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by Canadian Custom Truck Works

Manitoba currently has approximately 80 active water advisories. For the most part the province publishes little information regarding the notices on their website. We wanted to look into the reasons behind the Manitoba advisories and if climate and geography play any role.

Just over a week ago, a Boil Water advisory was issued for the town of Souris by the Prairie Mountain Regional Health Authority. The notice is posted on the government website with no reason given other than it will be short term. This is the second time since the beginning of the year that users of the Public Water System in Souris have been advised to boil their drinking water.

We spoke with Charlotte Parham, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Municipality of Souris-Glenwood, about the situation. Parham informed us that the advisory was issued "because of scheduled maintenance". Work was needed on one building in the town, but Parham did not have any detailed information as to why.

Parham added that "any time [water] pressure drops below 25%, the Office of Drinking Water must be informed." The town informs the office when they perform maintenance and the system needs to turned off. It is that government department that issues the drinking water advisories.

In our conversation, Parham confirmed that the advisory issued in January was due to "a water main break." This is not an unlikely situation when Canadian winters are factored into the equation. When asked if temperature posed any challenges to providing safe drinking water Parham responded that "some years we have two to three [main breaks], other years there are none."

A Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality Technical Document entitled Temperature, qualifies that the heat and cold "affect every aspect of the treatment and delivery of potable water." The document states that "as temperature decreases, the viscosity of water increases, and the rate of sedimentation decreases." This becomes a problem in plants with fixed "flow rates" as additional time to treat and purify water is unavailable. According to the document temperature does not have a direct effect on health.

Parham suggests that the "spring thaw may cause more problems" to water systems, but "historically,[in Souris], it has not been a problem."

The town of Souris operates a public water system that provides drinking water to 882 service connections and 1837 residents, according to the latest Public Water System Annual Report. The town's water supply comes from two "groundwater wells located 16 kilometres northeast of Souris." The town removes iron and manganese from the water "followed by reverse osmosis, PH adjustment disinfection and fluoridation."

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