The days of a slight brown tint in Renfrew’s water may be coming to an end thanks to a solution brought forward that includes building a water treatment system to deal with the issue. 

During the May 9 council meeting, council approved a bid from Black and McDonald on a project to build a treatment system to remove manganese from the drinking water supply.

Although it was approved last week, it is likely residents may have one more summer to deal with the issue as the project will not be completed until next year. It was noted the tinted water does not have an immediate health threat when consumed, but many residents have chosen to boil their water out of a sense of health concerns.

Mike Asselin, the town’s Director of Strategic Asset Management, explained the cause of the discoloured water was manganese. He said manganese leeched from the Bonnechere Riverbed is the cause of the water issue and it has been an ongoing issue. He said the submission from Black and MacDonald for a new treatment system will restore the clear water residents have been demanding the last few years.

The presence of manganese in the water supply is not an isolated Renfrew occurrence. He noted its presence is becoming much more common in other areas of the Ottawa Valley.

Only two bids were submitted for the project. Black and McDonald was chosen with a bid of $508,798. In addition to the bid, other variables such as the design cost and a $50,000 contingency fund were factored in, bringing the total to $633,883. The total exceeds the original budget of $614,000. That represents an overage of $19,000. 

Although the $19,000 overage will be drawn from the town’s Water Fund Reserve, Mr. Asselin noted the project may still come in at or under budget if the $50,000 contingency fund is not used during construction of the new system.

He also explained the new system should be operational by the summer of 2024 and it will inject potassium permanganate into the water as it flows through the system and its chemical compound will turn the dissolved manganese water solid before it is eventually filtered out. The entire project will be monitored by public works staff and will only be used when deemed necessary. Overuse of the chemical mixture may have the effect of creating a pink colour within the water. 

By Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 19, 2023 at 12:12

This item reprinted with permission from   The Eganville Leader   Eganville, Ontario
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