Better water for everyone is in the tap for Estevan residents, now that phase one of upgrades to the Water Treatment Plant is officially finished. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday morning.
"It feels really good to get this one out of the way, and we are right into starting the design of the next phase," expressed Kevin Sutter, Plant Manager for the City of Estevan.
"This Residual Management design was completed in 2012, and we were just looking for the ability to finance construction"
This was accomplished through governmental grants that the City applied for, and were accepted to. The work has been one of the major goals for Sutter in the span of his time in the role of Plant Manager.
"It was the sedimentation into the river issues that we've had. I wanted to remove those, and this project should accomplish that."
Basically, the system now treats and cleans the water coming through and releases it into the Souris River. However, that release is now clean and environmentally friendly. Phase two will be next on the agenda, and entails running a pipeline from Rafferty Dam into the Plant.
"The design is around the 50 percent mark. They are almost completely done the environmental studies that they have to do to lay in a pipeline. That will go to tender next year, and construction should start sometime in September, to be done in early 2019," Sutter revealed, adding that they plan to do the work during the fall and winter to minimize the impact on surrounding wildlife and nature.
He noted phase two is on track where it should be, and on budget as well. Once that intake is installed, many benefits will gush for Estevan folks.
"The biggest thing that customers will probably notice is the hardness of the water. That's something that everybody relates to, how much soap it takes, how many bubbles you get when you pour a bath. Estevan's always had relatively hard water, and that's why a lot of people have to run softeners and whatnot. That's just a condition of the water being open all year round and being used as a source for cooling for the power station. Rafferty has a lot fewer dissolved minerals than what Boundary Dam water has, so that in itself will improve water quality and ease of treatment."
A little bit of touch up and finalization work will be seen, most of which will occur on Tuesday, but the system is now officially online.
"We're very happy that the first stage of this is done, and we look forward to the next stage," Mayor Roy Ludwig stated, "We look forward to working with everyone involved to bring that to fruition as well."
"This is an environmentally project, and now roughly 100-150 kilograms of residual grit, dirt, whathaveyou that went into the river will not go in anymore. It will be collected in the lagoons and disposed of in a clean fashion."
He also thanked all the companies, contractors, workers, management and governments for their participation.
"Kevin (Sutter) came to us many years ago, and he thought that this was something that we had to do to clean up what we were putting into the Souris river. As soon as the first opportunity came up that we could get funding, he was all about that."
"We're really excited to be able to give the $3.1 million as part of a tri-part grant for the City of Estevan, and I'm just so excited to see this project up and running now," chimed in provincial MLA Lori Carr.
"People just turn their tap on, and they don't think about the what's actually coming out the other end, but it is very costly to develop safe water systems for our public. The City is very conscientious about that and they've done a good job doing this."