Carrot River residents may notice some discolouration and changes in taste to their water as the town begins initial tests on the new reverse osmosis system at the water treatment plant.
Brennan Hall, the town’s administrator, said they expect the system to be fully operational sometime shortly after Canada Day weekend. Until then, the public works and utilities department may switch the system back and forth to ensure everything is working as it should.
“From our side we’re very excited that we’re finally getting to this stage and we appreciate the public’s patience with the project,” Hall said.
“When you’re doing a project like this, that’s $3.6 million we’re talking about and an entire community’s water supply, you want to get it right. I think people really understood that for the most part.”
Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove minerals and other particles from drinking water.
Hall said if someone notices changes to their water’s colouration, pressure or taste not to panic, as the water will still be safe to use in all aspects.
The town listed a couple minor things that utility users can do, which are to run the water for a while before use, and take out and clean the screens on all taps.
Softness of the water is planned to be a permanent change with the installation of the new system. The minerals in harder water can clog plumbing, ruin appliances, and even wear out fabrics quickly. Soft water can also reduce topical skin troubles such as dryness and eczema, and stronger nails are often a positive effect of soft water.
When the Town of Nipawin installed their reverse osmosis system earlier this year, Jamie Fast, Nipawin’s director of public works and engineering, said the town received questions about personal water softener use with the new water consistency. In response, he said while either option isn’t harmful, a household may have a consistency they prefer and the only way to know is by trying it to find out.
The $3.6 million Carrot River project was approved for funding under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program in 2018 where it received $1.2 million from the federal government and up to 33 per cent of the total cost from the province.
The plant hasn’t been without delays and unexpected costs, with the contractors previously finding the ground site filled with tar that needed to be removed at an additional cost of $10,000.
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal