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PUC issues fact sheet regarding brown water

Tuesday, December 03, 2013   by: SooToday.com Staff

NEWS RELEASE

PUC
 
*************************
 
Brown Water Issue
 
• The discolouration of city drinking water occurs due to internal corrosion of concrete and iron water lines that run throughout the city.
 
• When the flow direction of water in the lines reverses suddenly and drastically due to watermain breaks, operation of system valves, or use of fire hydrants, pre-existing corrosion sediment is picked up by the water and carried into homes.
 
• A flushing program was put in place to more quickly remove the sediment from the water distribution pipes. This flushing activity can temporarily result in brown water reaching some homes.
 
• To completely flush the hundreds of kilometres of water pipe running under city streets will take a few more years.
 
• The discoloured water has been tested and contains no harmful bacteria however, no one would reasonably be expected to consume brown water or wash with it.
 
• For the average consumer that runs a tap for 10 minutes to flush out the brown water, the cost is less than 4 cents. To issue refunds for such a small amount would result in significant administration costs and just doesn’t make business sense.
 
• The city’s water system is continually tested and meets or exceeds Ontario drinking water standards.
 
• New provincial standards required that a new method of treating the city’s water supply had to be put in place. This new method reduced the amount of chlorine in the water by 30 percent and eliminated the addition of about 16 tonnes of ammonia per year to the water.
 
• In January 2014, a committee that includes representatives from the Ministry of the Environment, Algoma Public Health, City Councillors and the general public will review available options and provide input towards selecting the preferred solution for minimizing the brown water issue as well as addressing taste and odour concerns.
 
• When a final decision is made in the New Year, work will begin immediately to implement the solution. All PUC customers will be advised at that time.
 
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Comments
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Grizz72 12/3/2013 9:38:39 AM Report

Just wondering if a filtration system would work on this type of sediment,

eg: (water softener, sediment filter, carbon filter etc. some sort of automatic back washing system)

maybe PUC can work out some sort of deal for the home owners to have one installed, I realize that this is an extra cost to the home owner over the years but it would provide a better quality of water and there are lots of perks from a water softener (if it would work) ????

Just a thought
Lovethenorth 12/3/2013 9:39:06 AM Report

PUC, this fact sheet is straightforward and informative, although I doubt it will generate many positive comments among respondents.

I urge you to continue to work on improving your communication because that is half your battle. PDF news releases buried on your website are NOT enough. When an incident occurs, you must keep people updated regularly on your website with easy to find news posts, something like a blog, Twitter feed, etc. If you don't know how to do this, hire someone to help you.

It's 2013, and people expect up to the minute info to be posted about things like water quality issues. Burying info in a PDF and then not updating it as the problem persists throughout the day is not acceptable.
Christina216 12/3/2013 9:50:01 AM Report

lets just say 100,000 homes had to flush their pipes..@ 4� each thats $4,000. just saying.
Christina216 12/3/2013 9:52:37 AM Report

lets just say 100,000 homes had to flush their pipes..@ 4 cents each, thats $4,000. just saying.
xyz123 12/3/2013 10:33:11 AM Report

A filter for the sediment would not be a good solution. If you have a brown water incident you should not use any water and call the PUC so they can flush the watermains out on the street. If you run the brown water through a filter it will clog it up right away.
xyz123 12/3/2013 10:33:16 AM Report

A filter for the sediment would not be a good solution. If you have a brown water incident you should not use any water and call the PUC so they can flush the watermains out on the street. If you run the brown water through a filter it will clog it up right away.
The Freq 12/3/2013 10:34:31 AM Report

The PUC can smoke screen this with all the data it wants but the simple bottom line is, the water tastes brutal and it's brown. Either fix it or have the balls to say it can't be fixed.
T-pot 12/3/2013 10:42:57 AM Report

Christina216:

Population of the Sault is 75,000. Even if there is 30,000 homes and half of those are in the East End (Which has the problems) you are looking at 15,000 x .04 = $600

Just sayin. And i'm probably inflating the numbers some what. As I live in the East End, rarely see brown water and have already received a whopping $2.50 credit.

I don't know how bad others in the East have it, but the 10-20 minutes I have to flush my water every 2nd month (Sometimes once a month) isn't worth me obtaining a few dollar credit or even a water filtration system.

It DOES suck yes, but it's a first world problem. I have bigger things to worry about. It IS frustrating to see brown water in my tub, or toilet or laundry - luckily I have been fortunate enough to catch it before I did laundry.

What am I looking forward too? The amount of ammonia down to 0 which I ingest. The amount of chlorine going down 30%. My expectations? Are certainly not to expect 30-50 year old pipes cleaned out over night.

Merry Christmas everyone!
theprotector 12/3/2013 11:07:47 AM Report

oh look who is calling the t-pot brown...hahahaha....how long you been employed at the puc?
T-pot 12/3/2013 11:13:43 AM Report

I've never worked at the PUC nor do I now.

I'm not even defending them, i'm defending common sense.
bbcat 12/3/2013 11:31:03 AM Report

we had no water problems GO BACK TO THE OLD SYSTEM
Beej 12/3/2013 11:59:28 AM Report

"For the average consumer that runs a tap for 10 minutes to flush out the brown water, the cost is less than 4 cents. To issue refunds for such a small amount would result in significant administration costs and just doesn't make business sense."


This is why at least one person here is getting credited for flushing the crap out of his lines?

"T-Pot says: "As I live in the East End, rarely see brown water and have already received a whopping $2.50 credit."

Nice, one hand doesn't know what the other one is doing, resulting in embarrassing/false statements like the one above.

Again, way to go, PUC
shju 12/3/2013 12:03:02 PM Report

There has always been brown water issues... that's why they flushed them every year. Just with the new mix you are getting more sediment break offs which is more then likely chunks of chemical build up. Going to a new system that uses less chemicals will see less build up over time. And people complaining about a rebate because its putting them broke are well.... I wont say. You get ripped off more from Tim Horton's not filling your cup that extra 5% that costs you 8 cents every time for a large coffee.

Mr Spock would be upset with all of you.
Sovereign 12/3/2013 12:27:09 PM Report

T-POT is spot on, people just need to stop raging
Brian505 12/4/2013 10:07:22 AM Report

The puc states "� The city�s water system is continually tested and meets or exceeds Ontario drinking water standards."

Maybe they should read the

Appendix
D
Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards
Tables

where it states that turbidity limit is 5NTU (Applicable for all waters at the point of consumption.)

or even read

Health
Canada
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality:
Supporting Documentation
Turbidity

that's what our brown water has, yet we call it brown water.

I use a 10 micron whole house filter and it does NOT filter out the brown water.

As far as a refund, the PUC says
" For the average consumer that runs a tap for 10 minutes to flush out the brown water, the cost is less than 4 cents. To issue refunds for such a small amount would result in significant administration costs and just doesn�t make business sense."

what they don't say is our sewer charge is a percent of the water usage, and it is the higher of the two.

so what we need is refund for the flushing water AND flushing water sewer charges.
Why not put on our bill
"Brown water refund $1.00"
Oh wait, that would be acknowledging that their water does NOT meet "Ontario clean water act"



Comments
15
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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. Keep discussions civil and on topic. Refrain from obscenity and don't post anything that your grandmother would be ashamed to read. Those who do not abide by these guidelines will have their membership revoked without notice. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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