MUNICIPALITY OF SWAN VALLEY WEST
MEDIA RELEASE – BENITO WATER TREATMENT PLANT
In the best interest of the consumers of the Benito Water Treatment Plant we decided that we should comment about the health and safety of the potable water being generated from the Benito Water Treatment Plant.
We rely on trained and competent operators with regulatory oversight by provincial officials to ensure that our testing procedures and the overall WTP operations are in compliance with Provincial Regulations.
The operations of The Water Treatment Plant (WTP) are regulated through the Province of Manitoba by the Office of Drinking Water. In accordance with the operating licence, routine water samples are sent to an accredited laboratory on a bi-weekly basis to ensure they meet bacteriological standards. In addition, chlorine residuals are measured daily to ensure adequate disinfection of the water prior to it leaving the WTP.
A Drinking Water Officer visited the Plant on May 5, 2021 to discuss manganese and take water samples for analysis at an accredited laboratory. He had no major concerns about the water at that time. In the event that an issue does arise with the safety of the water we would be advised by the Medical Officer of Health through the Office of Drinking Water as to what procedures would have to be followed to address the situation.
We recently had an Engineering Assessment Study completed by an Engineer of the Manitoba Water Services Board. The Assessment revealed several operational areas that require replacement and/or upgrading.
Arrangements for the replacement of the greensand media which is used for the treatment of manganese and other related works have either been started or are planned to be carried out in 2021. Projects such as the replacement of the water distribution lines will occur over a period of years due to the high cost involved. We will source funding/grant opportunities from both senior levels of government as we move forward with these improvements in an effort to reduce the cost to our consumers. The WTP is aging and the improvements are required in order to maintain its viability. New strategies such as more frequent reservoir cleaning and water main flushing are going to be conducted in order to reduce discolored water events. More information will be forthcoming as this program proceeds.
The Office of the Drinking Water has mandated that all owners of large water systems serving a minimum 1,000 consumers must submit a Public Water System Annual Report by March 31 of each year. This requirement promotes better public transparency for our operations, including a smmnary of our monitoring results. As a small water system, we are not required to make this report however we feel that is in everyone’s best interest to provide these reports to you. The first reports will be available on our website before March 31, 2022.
The Office of Drinking Water has also provided us with the following comments:
“As a secure groundwater source, this water system is routinely inspected for compliance with the operating licence and required to submit water samples for fit!/ chemical analysis every three years.
Manganese is a naturally occurring element in ground water and untreated water samples in the Benito Public Water System have always had elevated manganese levels. Historical chemical data demonstrates that the manganese levels in the treated water have been consistently below the new health-based guideline limit, which is good. The most recent fit!/ chemistry was taken in 2019.
The results of the samples taken last week (May 5, 2021) demonstrates that although the health guideline limit was met in the distributed water to the community, it is slightly exceeded in the water treated water samples taken directly from the water treatment plant. It is unlikely that water users will be exposed to these slightly higher levels at the tap in their home. However, steps need to be taken to ensure the water continues to remain safe over the long term.
It is also worth noting that the levels of naturally occurring manganese in the raw water samples taken in 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2021 show a consistent upward trend.; which has most likely added to the challenge of removing it with treatment.
The results of your water system testing have been reviewed by Manitoba Public Health. Your water system is very slightly over a very precautionary guideline at the treatment plant and not in the distribution system. The guideline is designed to protect bottle fed infants. Public Health recommends follow-up samples be submitted in two to three months to see if a trend for increased manganese levels is occurring.
The next full water chemistry and quarterly total metals sampling in the distribution system is due to take place in 2022. However, sample bottles and sampling forms have been given to the operator to conduct the quarterly sampling beginning this year with the next sample due in August. In addition, the operator is conducting daily hand-held measurements in the distribution system as he works to optimize the treatment of manganese. “
We will continue to work with the Office of Drinking Water and follow any recommendations that ODW and Manitoba Health issues to us.
Council appreciates and supports the efforts and initiatives of Bill Woytkiw and Tyler Parks as they work to ensure a safe and continuous supply of water for you.
We once again want to state that we will continue to work on your behalf to ensure a safe supply of potable water is available for your consumption. Any questions you have about the water treatment plant should be directed to the attention of James Webb, CAO for the Municipality of Swan Valley West.
Council – The Municipality of Swan Valley West- May 25, 2021