Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Following Westview Water issues, concerns over aging water system on Council's mind

With Boil Water Advisories in the Westview area of town still fresh on their minds, Prince Rupert City Council asked for an update on the nature of the recent troubles on the west side of town and whether such incidents are possible again.

The answers probably didn't provide much comfort for Council (or city residents) as City Manager Robert Long reviewed the aging nature of the water system across the city, with the Westview situation described as a symptom of that aging infrastructure, with the less than reassuring observation that the possibility of future disruptions is possible.

He reviewed the vigorous flushing of the lines in that area to address the most recent situation, as well as the efforts that the city went to in order to advise the residents of the issues, making use of Social media and direct door to door contact to keep those affected informed.

He explained that lower flow levels in that area, compared to those from in the past when water demand through industrial users was high, were a contributing factor to the rise of the chloroform count that resulted in the recent troubles.

Councillor Ashley then provided a number of questions for the City Manager regarding the Westivew situation, advising that number of residents were wondering why the situation evolved at this point, when the McMillan Fish plant which at one time provided for a heavy flow of water through the area had closed down a number of years ago.

Mr. Long reviewed some of the history of the water situation post the McMillan shut down and also observed that there was some thought that the recent work on the 17th Street project may have resulted in part of the problems of the last week.

Councillor Ashley while acknowledging the current fiscal situation didn't offer a replacement option for the water system at this time, wondered if temporary measures might provide relief, reviewing a recommendation from a citizen of installing flow stations in the areas of concern.

Mr. Long addressed that topic with the thought that those kind of measures may in the end cause more problems further down the line than they solve and for the moment, the  current course of the flushing program and attention to maintenance issues is probably the best option for the moment.

He also offered up some background on the nature of the testing process that the City, along with Northern Health currently has in place to watch for issues of concern.

An expanded overview of the discussion on the Westview situation can be found on Our Council Timeline.

As well, you can review the full conversation on the Westview water issues from the City's Video Archive, the overview starts at the 1 hour three minute mark and continues on for twenty minutes.

More on developments at Prince Rupert City Council can be found on our Archive page.

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