Last watering restrictions lifted by N.B.

By Geoff Smith
September 2, 2016 - 5:00pm

More than six weeks after an oil spill from a Husky pipeline contaminated the North Saskatchewan River, the City of North Battleford has lifted the last of the special watering restrictions it imposed.

All four new wells are connected, to supplement the existing supply of groundwater and the Town of Battleford’s excess capacity, following the shutdown of North Battleford’s river water intake in July. However, City Manager Jim Puffalt said as of Friday, Sept. 2 the two newest wells are still being tested.

“Everything is there, and I think they’re still doing some testing, but we think we’ve got it covered for the weekend and next week for sure we’ll have a better idea, how the wells are performing over the weekend.” Puffalt said. “We don’t want to put a whole bunch of pressure on them, but again, we think with everything we’ve got running now that we’ll be okay for the weekend.”

The odd/even watering schedule is still being observed. Puffalt said the city is closer to its normal capacity which starts to lesson as summer turns to fall.

“I think we’re okay, but we’re asking people (to) use it in moderation of course,” Puffalt said. He thanked people for their cooperation over the past month and a half.

“We know it’s been difficult on everybody and we sure appreciate your help. Certainly we wouldn’t have been able to make sure we had enough water for everyone if people hadn’t taken those steps.”

Puffalt didn’t know when the city might be able to use river water again, despite the hope expressed a day earlier by the Water Security Agency that it would happen before winter. He said it would depend on the hydrocarbons still in the water, associated with sediment.

When interviewed Friday, Puffalt said he had just received a report, but hadn’t had a chance yet to read it.

The city will lose one of its backup sources when winter arrives. The pipeline from the Town of Battleford is above ground and won’t operate in freezing weather.


Geoff Smith is battlefordsNOW's News Director, business and agriculture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected] or tweet him @smithco.  

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