Clean water should be on its way to North Battleford Tuesday after a temporary pipeline was delayed due to a positive bacteria test result, but officials say it’s expected to be only a hiccup.
Residents have been dealing with water issues since the oil spill on the North Saskatchewan River three weeks ago.
Water is expected to be flowing on Tuesday, Aug. 9 after new test results were taken on Sunday, Aug. 7. This comes after test results taken on Friday, Aug. 5 came back positive in one of eight samples taken.
Sam Ferris, an official with the Water Security Agency, said the results came back positive for coliform bacteria.
“A coliform is a group of indicators, bacterial indicators, and in this case total coliform is a broad group. It’s generally indicative of overall system cleanliness,” Ferris explained.
In a conference call on Monday, Aug. 8, Ferris said tests were underway and the agency needed to get the results before taking the next step.
“It takes 24 hours to get the results back from the lab, plus any travel time in order to get there,” Ferris said. “As soon as we hear the results from the laboratory then we’ll move forward with the decision as to turning on the water, so to speak, from Battleford.”
One third of the treated river water normally supplied by the F.E. Holliday Water is expected to be replaced by the water line.
Despite the increase in water which will come from Battleford, administrators from the City of North Battleford said water restrictions for residents and businesses will still be in place. The water from Battleford will primarily be used for firefighting efforts.
When asked about when water from the North Saskatchewan River will once again be able to be used directly in treatment plants, Ferris said it is too early to say.
“We need to await the assessment of the risk assessment and gain more, I guess a good way to put it would be more comfort and confidence in what the monitoring results are showing us, if that makes any sense. It’s really kind of too early to say at this time,” he said.
Ferris added any rain wouldn’t have much of an effect on North Battleford because the city’s current water levels and the water from the town are both from ground water.
Dr. Kevin McCullum with the Ministry of Environment said there are over 600 people involved in the cleanup efforts.
The rupture of a Husky Energy pipeline on Wednesday, July 20 caused the leak of as much as 250,000 litres of blended crude oil into the North Saskatchewan River. Cleanup efforts have recovered over 139,000 litres.