Port Hawkesbury water system slated for $3.3M upgrade

Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton says water system upgrades will replace aging equipment, make it safer for maintenance staff and improve efficiency. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)
Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton says water system upgrades will replace aging equipment, make it safer for maintenance staff and improve efficiency. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)

The mayor of Port Hawkesbury, N.S., says she is excited about a $3.3-million upgrade to the town's water treatment and distribution system announced Monday.

Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said the work is vital and will replace aging equipment, make maintenance safer for staff and improve monitoring of quality and efficiency.

"All of these upgrades are most certainly imperative to ensuring the ongoing safety, security and reliability of our water treatment and distribution infrastructures," she said.

"Right now, we have really great quality water, but, in part, this project is going to ensure that we keep our water that way."

The federal government is kicking in $1.32 million, the provincial government is adding $1.1 million and the town is contributing $880,000.

"Some of the infrastructure is at the end of life and some of it requires replacement for safety reasons," said Chisholm-Beaton, referencing a pressure-reducing valve on MacDonald Street that currently is located below ground.

She said having access above ground "makes it ... safer and much more accessible."

Extend system life, capacity

The town will also upgrade the treatment plant building, replace the metering system, upgrade the Pitt Street water tower and remove an old unused tower in the Tamarac Heights subdivision.

The work will extend the life of the system and increase capacity for the future, the mayor said.

Chisholm-Beaton said the work has been planned for a couple of years and the town has already set aside its share of the money.

Port Hawkesbury is a regional centre, not just for residents, but for businesses and industry, she said, adding council is grateful for the financial assistance of the other levels of government

"Had the town been in a position to have to budget this work on our own, there's no way we would have been able to afford to do that," the mayor said.

The town gets its water from the Landrie Lake water utility, which is shared between the town and Richmond County.

Barry Stevens/3D Wave Design
Barry Stevens/3D Wave Design

EverWind Fuels has submitted an environmental assessment application to the province to convert a bulk oil-and-gas facility in nearby Point Tupper into a manufacturer and shipper of green hydrogen and ammonia.

The company is asking for approval to take up to 9.5 million litres of water per day from the utility, which has a capacity of 36.6 million litres a day, with a current demand of 5.8 million litres.

The utility should be able to handle increased industrial usage while leaving room for community use to grow, said Chisholm-Beaton.

"We don't think there's a whole lot of concern from our perspective, especially because we know that that watershed can be expanded over time," she said.

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