RMWB ‘Confident’ Similar Incident Won’t Happen At Water Treatment Plant During River Breakup

The chances of another boil water advisory coming from river breakup is much less likely for this year.

That’s according to Matthew Hough, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the RMWB, who recently spoke on Fort McMurray Matters about the measures being taken to ensure a repeat situation doesn’t happen.

During last year’s flood, water from the Athabasca River started flowing the wrong way in an overflow pipe at the plant. This forced the municipality to disinfect the plant and the 375 km potable water distribution system.

“That can no longer happen because we’ve changed the physical infrastructure itself,” said Hough.

“We’re really confident that we have done what is necessary to avoid the type of boil water advisory situation we were in last year.”

The municipality has upgraded the plant’s valves and changed its control systems to ensure all alarms work as they should and recognize any issue immediately.

They also practiced a simulation of last year’s situation with all the changes preventing a similar outcome.

Despite this, Hough says there’s always a chance something else may start an advisory.

“I would be too confident to say to a boil water advisory would never happen, however, the mechanism that caused it last year during the flood is simply not possible at this time.”

River breakup usually happens between mid and late April.

More information, including all measures being taken to prevent flooding, can be found on the RMWB’s website.

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