CANMORE – The more than week long boil water advisory for the Town of Canmore was lifted Monday (Aug. 9) evening.
The final area – downtown south of Railway Avenue – was announced as being cleared by the Town of Canmore and EPCOR in separate statements.
The cause of the advisory, however, is still being investigated by EPCOR.
“The analysis into the cause is ongoing and we’re conducting a full review to determine what led to the higher levels of turbidity that prompted the boil water advisory,” said Laura Ehrkamp, an external communications specialist with EPCOR in an email.
Throughout the several days long flushing of the water system, it’s also unknown the number of litres of water were pushed through the system, Ehrkamp said, noting the volume of water processed was not available.
“Flushing and testing the system was an essential step in our work to restore water service to residents and businesses in Canmore,” she said.
The original disruption of service began in the southeast of town where the South Bow Loop capital project was having a new water line installed.
A high level of turbidity were detected and Alberta Health Sciences and Alberta Environmental and Public Health were each notified, Steve Craik, the director of quality assurance and environment for EPCOR, told the Outlook last week.
High turbidity – when water becomes cloudy or hazy from a large number of individual particles – can be caused from a range of reasons from mud, wood ashes and melting glaciers, but the cause is dependant on water test results.
The Town of Canmore launched an emergency coordination centre on the morning of July 30 and employees were assigned to different roles to aid residents and visitors.
EPCOR also brought in extra crews from Edmonton to assist with the flushing of the water system.
Areas of Canmore began having the advisory lifted on the August long weekend, but aspects of Canmore was took longer than others due to the water systems being interconnected and the work having to go in a specific order.
When a system is flushed, AHS has a 24-hour testing turnaround before they can ensure the water is clean, the Town release stated.
The advisory was first announced on July 29 by Alberta Health Sciences and was the first for Canmore since the 2013 flood.
Throughout the advisory, water trucks were available at the Canmore Recreation Centre, Elizabeth Rummel School, Lawrence Grassi Middle School and Elevation Place.
The ongoing work for the South Bow Loop capital project is part of the Town’s utility master plan. The now completed first phase installed about 400 metres of piping from the Three Sisters Parkway to the Bow River to connect with existing pipe under the river and connect with the wastewater treatment plant.
The water issues developed in the second phase, which is designed to give the Town a third connection and have the second pump house supply water to the Benchlands Reservoir, according the Town’s website.
The project – which will connect the Three Sisters area to the Bow Valley Trail and goes under the Bow River – will improve the flow of water, address pressure issues and provide better water flow for fire crews, Craik said.
In a release, EPCOR recommended all residents and businesses run their water fixtures for at least five minutes following the boil advisory being lifted before using the water.
“We want to thank the community for their support and patience as we worked through flushing and water quality testing to confirm the safety of the water over the past week,” Craik said. “EPCOR and the Town of Canmore appreciate the community response and cooperation and would like to confirm everyone in the town can resume regular water use.”