Friday was a banner day for the Town of Pictou as a celebration was held to mark the completion of its first centralized water treatment plant.
The project received support from the Government of Canada and Province of Nova Scotia through the New Building Canada Fund in the amount of $1.7 million from each party for construction of the treatment plant and pressure zones as well as $207,000 from the Provincial Capital Assistance Program.
Phase two’s completion was celebrated Friday. Mayor Jim Ryan said The $5.8 million project includes “construction of this state-of-the-art treatment facility, which allows the Water Utility to not only consolidate processes that were previously happening at each of the individual wells, but will remove those pesky levels of iron, manganese, that have been a concern for residents of the town for over one hundred years, from the time we started pumping our groundwater.”
He said that bringing the water treatment plant online and the completion of the pressure valve installations next month are “major steps in providing a better quality and more reliable water service to all areas of our town. Residents and business owners have been looking forward to this for many years.”
Attending the ribbon cutting ceremony at the treatment plant on Wellington Street were Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of François-Philippe Champagne, minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Chuck Porter, Nova Scotia Minister of Municipal Affairs; Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane and Pictou Mayor Jim Ryan.
MP Fraser said he recalled when he was campaigning in Pictou hearing repeatedly “about the problems with brown discolouration of the drinking water” in the months leading up to the election.
“I’m so pleased to see this project is actually completed so residents in the Town of Pictou know they are going to have access to safe and reliable drinking water. Today is a great day for the community.“
Chuck Porter commented, “We all know we can’t live without water. This has been a long project but it’s nice to have Phase Two complete.
“We are pleased to work in partnership with the federal government and our municipalities to invest in water and wastewater systems to help ensure healthy, vibrant communities across Nova Scotia.”
With the new treatment plant, the Water Utility can now monitor its 13 wells and instruments in real time, treat 3,000 cubic meters of water per day, and remove over 90 per cent of all iron and manganese. The facility is comprised of four sand filters, four oxidative media tanks, real time computer monitoring and alarming of the treatment plant, isolated chemical storage and extensive water quality monitoring equipment.
As part of the Town’s commitment to environmental practices, the treatment plant features Nova Scotia’s first water recycle process, which significantly reduces wasted water for internal processes.
In addition to the treatment plant, two pressure zones are also being installed. With these new zones, water customers in higher elevations should experience an increase in pressure of approximately 10 PSI, which will allow the Utility to complete an extensive flush program to remediate piping and eliminate iron and manganese that is already in the water infrastructure.
In giving a brief tour of the new plant and explaining its operation, Mike Chaulk of plant designers CBCL Consultants said, “The town’s water treatment plant is sort of the crown jewel of a program that integrates the town’s wells.”
He said residents can expect to see a noticeable improvement in their water quality within three days.
Pictou’s new water treatment plant was officially opened Friday afternoon after a ribbon cutting ceremony with Nova Scotia Minister of Municipal Affairs Chuck Porter, left, and Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, with Pictou Mayor Jim Ryan. The new system is expected to end the town’s brown water issues. (Jardine photo)