Penhold tap water safe to drink

Penhold’s tap water may sometimes look unappetizing but it’s safe to drink, assures the mayor.

Penhold’s tap water may sometimes look unappetizing but it’s safe to drink, assures the mayor.

Some of the town’s residents have been taken aback when they turn their taps and a noticeably brownish water runs out for a short while before turning clear.

Mayor Dennis Cooper said the problem has been traced to iron sediments in the town’s water supply pipes. When air gets into the system because of a break — as happened just a couple of days or ago — or the sediment is stirred up and clouds the water.

“It doesn’t come out brown every time,” said Cooper on Friday. “It’s just when you have these water breaks that cause it to happen.

“This particulate is very distressing because it looks like tea. It’s not a pretty colour,” he acknowledges.

Despite its appearance the water is safe, he said.

“Everybody is obviously concerned about the safety and the quality of the water. We’ve had our water tested numerous times.

“Alberta Environment came out and we went through the whole (water system) and checked where this brown was coming from. They have given us a letter saying our water is safe in that area but it does have this particulate in it when it’s stirred up.”

A few separate factors have come together in Penhold to make the problem worse.

One of two wells that serve Penhold has a high iron content so there is more of it than usual to settle out. Cooper doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence that the problems first began to appear 10 years when that well started pumping.

As well, new provincial water regulations require higher levels of chlorine, which has the side effect of separating out iron from the water, further adding to sediment. Chlorine levels were even higher for a time last year when the water treatment system was being upgraded.

And earlier this year, the town got all of its water from the high-iron well while maintenance was done on the other.

Which homes are affected depends on various factors, such as the plumbing’s age. There have been streets where three houses were tested and only the middle home had problems.

“It’s so hard to figure out why some have it and some don’t.”

Cooper said the town is already looking for another water source to replace the high-iron well.

“At this present time, we’re doing hydrology reports and starting to look towards that.”

Even when a new well is hooked up, it could take years before all of the sediment is flushed out of the system.

In the meantime, residents who have murky water have been told to call the town. Crews will come out and flush the line through the closest fire hydrant.

Some residents, including Cooper, have installed their own filter systems, which work well.

Several people on a community Facebook page questioned why the town didn’t hook up to Red Deer’s water system. That would be prohibitively expensive at this time, said the mayor.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Pro-pipeline protest convoy approaches Ottawa after rolling across country

OTTAWA — A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolls into… Continue reading

Amazon aims to cut its carbon footprint

NEW YORK — Amazon, which ships millions of packages a year to… Continue reading

For sake of pupils’ pupils, China to ban homework on apps

BEIJING — An eastern Chinese province plans to ban teachers from assigning… Continue reading

Parole hearing for Calgary man who strangled wife, buried body in basement

BOWDEN, Alta. — A man who strangled his wife and concealed her… Continue reading

Red Deerians brave the chill to spend Family Day in the new Celebration Plaza

The 2019 Canada Winter Games hub attracted a lot of parents and kids

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

Vancouver duo faced health scare while making Oscar-nominated ‘Animal Behaviour’

TORONTO — Husband-and-wife filmmakers Alison Snowden and David Fine had almost finished… Continue reading

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard drops second-round match against Simona Halep

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard is out of the… Continue reading

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s iconic couturier whose designs had an unprecedented… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

‘Black Panther’ costume designer blazes trail to inspire

LOS ANGELES — Ruth E. Carter is a black woman blazing a… Continue reading

Chicago police: Jussie Smollett assault case has ‘shifted’

Chicago police said Saturday the investigation into the assault reported by Jussie… Continue reading

Most Read