Arsenic in Rosslyn Village Drinking Water System: UPDATE

Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge                                                                  November 16, 2023

Arsenic in Rosslyn Village Drinking Water System: UPDATE

Since March 9, 2023 the Rosslyn Village Drinking Water System has been subject to a Drinking Water Advisory (DWA) issued by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) due to high levels of arsenic.  Under the Advisory water is not to be consumed, even if it is boiled. 

Since that time the Municipality has been working with Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) and other parties on finding a solution to remove arsenic from the water that would result in the lifting of the DWA.  A lot of progress has been made on the file and at this time it appears a solution could be implemented in the near future.

At the end of March municipal administration was advised by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) that treatment methods such as chlorinated filtration, ozone and reverse osmosis could bring arsenic levels to an acceptable level.  The former method, which is the least complicated and least costly, is being used in other jurisdictions effectively.

OCWA and municipal administration started dialogue with the Walkerton Clean Water Centre (WCWC), which is a governmental agency devoted to resolving water system issues.  That resulted in a pilot project being conducted in August by WCWC to see if chlorinated filtration would remove arsenic.  The sea can on the water plant property was secured to house WCWC’s testing equipment.

Council received Report 2023.144 on Sept. 12/23 on the test results.  (The Report is available on our website.)  WCWC’s results demonstrated that arsenic levels were reduced to acceptable levels using chlorination filtration.  Subsequently Council approved engaging WCWC to repeat the testing to confirm the results, purchasing the sea can and pouring a foundation for it, and engaging Kozar Engineering to design a chlorinated filtration treatment system that will be housed in the sea can. 

The 2nd testing event conduct by WCWC in October confirmed the results of the initial testing.  The sea can now sits on a foundation.  Municipal administration anticipates Kozar Engineering will be finished the design work shortly.

Approval from MECP will be required for the chlorinated filtration treatment system being designed by Kozar Engineering.  Thereafter the Municipality will need to launch a competitive process to select a contractor to build the chlorinated filtration treatment system.

Municipal administration is unable to provide a reliable estimate of how long it will take to get a full scale treatment system designed, constructed and operational.  If things go well it could be in the near future.  Until that time the Municipality will continue to supply bottled water to users.

Another element of this matter is financing.  How costs will be covered is yet to be determined.  Council will need to grapple with financing as cost forecasts become available.




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