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Water Today Title June 29, 2022

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Asvisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by Proteus Waters

Today we look into five similar long-term Precautionary Drinking Water Advisories (PDWA) affecting water pipelines in the Moose Jaw area. We consulted the listings for active PDWAs in Saskatchewan and found a sixth. Although the last advisory does not qualify as long-term, 365 days or more, it does share the same cause.

The pipeline distribution systems in question are the Highway #1 West Water Co-op under advisory since November 30, 2005, Caribou South Water Co-op active since November 30, 2005, North Valley Waterline Co-op active since October 8, 2009, Mount Pleasant Water Pipeline Corp. active since November 5, 2014, and 9th Avenue Viaduct Co-operative Ltd. active since November 24, 2014.

All six PDWAs are listed due to operational issues, in this case "inadequate disinfection residual in distribution system."

Aside from the lack of chlorine residual, and geographical proximity, all the PDWAs are regulated by the Water Security Agency or the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, and overseen by an Environmental Protection Officer. We contacted the EPO for comment but at the time of publishing, our request for comment had not been returned. We did consult the most recent inspection reports for the affected pipelines.

The Highway #1 West Water Co-op was compliant for the level of residual in water entering the system but the system was non-compliant for the level of chlorine residual throughout the system. The problem here appears to be distance, the comment attached to the non-compliance was, "chlorine residuals tend to be below regulatory standards the further away from the city the service is."

Caribou South Water Co-op maintains continuous disinfection but was non-compliant for the chlorine residual both entering and throughout the system. This PDWA seems to be based on seasonal changes. Residual levels may be below standards in the winter and the EPO's notes read that it "appears chlorine residuals were above regulatory values since May until now."

The North Valley Water Line Cooperative, had problems that went beyond the reasons for the PDWA. North Valley's operator was no longer certified at the time of the inspection. The notes for this system point to a problem in winter months; the notes read "seasonal low chlorine residuals" in the first three months of the year.

Mount Pleasant Water Pipeline Corp. also has "low chlorine residuals in winter months." For the 9th Avenue Viaduct Co-operative Ltd. it simply states that it was already under a PDWA "for low chlorines." In most of these cases it is a seasonal issue as it appears chlorine residuals are effected by the winter months, and in another it is a case of distance from the city that caused the disinfectant to drop below regulatory standards.

Saskatchewan's Water Regulations requires that a "minimum of 0.1 mg/L free chlorine residual or 0.5 mg/L total chlorine residual" be maintained at all times. Waterworks in the province are also required to submit chlorine residual test results with every bacteriological sample. With the amount of regulation and inspection, these PDWAs are not persisting because of a lack of oversight.

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