Nipawin residents may notice a change in their household water, as water consistency is expected to get softer following the full activation of the reverse osmosis system at the water treatment plant.
Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove minerals and other particles from drinking water.
According to Jamie Fast, Nipawin’s director of public works and engineering, it means residents may have the option to use less soap.
“I can sure tell the difference when you shampoo your hair and stuff like that, you get a lot more suds compared to really hard water when you don’t get many,” Fast said.
“Your hair seems to get softer, things like that.”
Fast said the town has been receiving questions about what the installation means for people with personal water softeners.
While it won’t be harmful for them, Fast said it will result in even softer water, which people may not like.
“People that have softeners should try it because they might want their water softer. So just try it, see what they think, and then they can adjust their water softeners for that,” he said.
“Some people like it really soft, and it’s almost kind of slimy. I don’t really like that.”
Nipawin’s water treatment plant opened in 2020, with $21.9 million towards the project and $6.8 million from federal and provincial contributions.
The town had been working towards funding the plant since 2002, when firefighters almost ran out of water fighting the Newfield Seed fire.
Fast said the reason for the delay in activating the reverse osmosis was due to the testing process.
“It’s a very expensive system to put in, so we didn’t want to install the membranes and then have failure, because it’s in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We wanted to make sure we did the testing, worked with engineers and companies to give their recommendation, and then we moved forward.”
So long as the system is maintained, Fast said he expects its lifespan to be five to seven years long.
New walls are planned to be installed in the middle of July.
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal