By Marilyn Zink
The City of Nanaimo’s has a new Water Treatment plant that is now fully operational resulting in purer water.
The new plant means businesses and residents will no longer have to suffer from a boil water advisory.
“I know when it was only two weeks ago we did a boil water advisory that a whole bunch of restaurants were inconvenienced,” says Bill Sims, Manager of Water Resources for the City.
“That’s a thing of the past,” he says, referring to the new plant. “We have seen the last of our weather related boil water advisories. It also gives other businesses around the country more confidence because they know we have a safe and secure water supply.”
He predicts that over the weekend residents and businesses will notice the difference in the water and “hopefully taste it.”
Heavy rainfall in the past week combined with previous snow triggered rapid runoff in the South Fork watershed – the source of Nanaimo’s drinking water – which led to a rise in turbidity.
The turbidity peaked at 8 NTU, (nephelometric turbidity units) which is well above the allowable 1 NTU maximum.
“That’s the standard that has been set for health,” says Sims. “If we’re above 1 NTU, we need to investigate the risk.
Another boil water advisory was avoided as City staff working with Island Health secured an Interim Operating Permit allowing the turbid source water to be filtered through the new plant.
The entire project team, working with the City’s staff and consultants, were successful in bringing the new plant online this week to prevent water quality disruptions to the City.
For the past several weeks, the Water Treatment Plant project team has been preparing the plant for operation. Early in the week of November 30, the plant was ready to go online and only required laboratory confirmation of water potability to receive an Interim Operating Permit. This requirement was met yesterday.
The new Water Treatment Plant is now on-line and producing high quality water with a turbidity leaving the plant of less than 0.1 NTU.
The new plant’s ultrafiltration membranes are capable of filtering particles of one ten-millionth of a meter (0.1 micron) – this is smaller than many bacteria.
“This is a major milestone in protecting Nanaimo’s drinking water for generations to come,” says Sims. “From this day forward, Nanaimo can enjoy water that has been purified to a high degree. And it tastes
He says along with the great taste the plant removes pathogens that are present in the turbidity.
“We’re actually filtering out bacteria and protozoa, so many of the bugs that are present in water are being filtered. We just made it a whole lot healthier.”