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Water in region to have high levels of chlorine

PHOTO. The Athabasca Water Treatment plant pictured in September 2012.

The boil water advisory remains in place for Fort McMurray along with much of the region.

There will be higher amounts of chlorine in the water in Fort McMurray while the Municipality continues to work on disinfecting the potable water system after the flood.

“The goal here is to get fresh, clean drinking water as quickly as possible. That’s not going to happen without some temporary inconveniences,” said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Matthew Hough. “Using chlorine to disinfect the water lines is necessary and is Alberta Environment and Parks’ approved method in order to restore the water system as quickly as possible.”

Starting on Sunday, May 17 a higher than normal concentration of chlorine will be flushed through the water distribution system for approximately two weeks.

During this time the water will still be safe to drink after it is boiled for one minute and remains safe for bathing and non-consumptive use without boiling.

High chlorine levels will increase the smell of chlorine in the water and discolouration may occur, which is normal. To reduce the smell, water can be boiled for longer or left on the counter or in the fridge overnight without a lid, so that the chlorine can evaporate.

There will also be crews flushing hydrants in neighbourhoods. Crews have begun disinfecting the Thickwood and Timberlea reservoirs and will be working approximately 24 hours a day for up to a week. This will result in increased noise levels in nearby areas. Crews will be working at the lower town site reservoir, in Abasand, from May 16 through May 18.

The Municipality will continue to work with Alberta Health Services as well as Alberta Environment and Parks to lift the boil water advisory as soon as possible.

At the council meeting on May 12, Council approved a a reduction in water fees for residential and commercial users impacted by the boil water advisory. The fixed meter size charge has been suspended for the duration of the boil water advisory or until Aug. 31, 2020. The variable rates applied to water usage are still in effect. These changes will be automatically applied to upcoming utility bills.

READ MORE: Council approves Rural Area Water and Wastewater Service Connection Bylaw

More information is available on the Municipality’s website, online through Alberta Health Services or by calling the Health Link at 811. Canadian drinking water guidelines and water treatment requirements are also available online