The water treatment plant in Burns Lake is now operational and residents can expect water with lower Manganese in the coming months.
“This means that we are now compliant with the updated Health Canada guidelines for manganese. Burns Lake is being used as a model for clean water in other communities. It also means that, in time, we will no longer see brown water coming out of our taps,” said Sheryl Worthing, the village chief administrative officer.
“This will take time, as we work towards flushing the lines, but it will happen.”
Starting the week of May 10 to 14, the public works crew will start flushing the lines monthly. During this time, if residents get brown water, the village is advising them to run their cold water taps and flush their toilets until the water runs clear.
Running the water until it is clear will help clear the residents’ service lines into their homes of the manganese build-up.
The water treatment plant is expected to reduce manganese content in the water to below 0.02mg per litre, which will be a significant reduction from the current levels.
“With the reduced manganese content, build up will no longer occur in the water lines. The next months will be frustrating as the manganese breaks loose and flushes out of the system. The only way to flush the manganese from your service line is through your taps,” said an FAQ shared by the village.
The Public Works crew will also be flushing the manganese from the large water mains by opening fire hydrants. The village is also asking residents to open up their outside taps or garden hose for the duration of the flush whenever they see crews flushing the lines near their homes.
The flushing dates for June, July and August will be announced later through the village’s website, Facebook page and the Voyent Alert messaging system. The village is encouraging residents to sign up for the alert system.
The construction of the water treatment plant began on Sept. 4, 2019 at 102 Eveneshen Road. The $5 million project was funded through the federal government’s contribution of around $1.9 million, the provincial government’s contribution of $1.5 million and local governments $1.2 million. The remaining $1.3 million came from the Village of Burns Lake, the Burns Lake Band and the Lake Babine Nation.
The need for the plant arose after Health Canada changed regulations on acceptable standards of manganese in drinking water with a new maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) of 0.12 milligrams per litre, up from the older standard of 0.05 mg/L.
Currently, the village’s manganese levels are at 0.35 to 0.4 milligrams per litre.