Stellarton Beginning New Water Treatment Solution
- Published: May 12 2022 13:52
STELLARTON, NOVA SCOTIA - Stellarton's Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is beginning a new treatment plan that should enhance overall water taste and odour quality - especially during the early summer months. Stellarton is amond the first municipalities in Atlantic Canada to implement this potential solution to lowering 2-Methylisoborneol (MIB) and Geosmin levels.
The Town experiences an annual issue with an earthy taste and smell to the water supply, identified to be a result of elevated MIB and Geosmin levels in the East River in early summer. These two naturally occurring compounds may impact the overall quality, but both compounds are not toxic or harmful to individuals. Geosmin is also responsible for the earthy taste that’s noticeable in beets. This is a common issue that many water treatment plants face throughout Canada and the US, as Geosmin and MIB are some of the most difficult compounds to remove during the treatment process.
In 2021, Stellarton’s WTP developed an extensive sampling plan with the goal of determining the concentration levels that exist in the East River. Since conventional water treatment will not remove these compounds, this data was used to explore treatment options. In order to explore these options, an outside engineering resource was contracted to assist with the development of the plan (CBCL Limited).
The predominant treatment method identified for these compounds – and many other taste compounds – is Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC). PAC is a National Safety Foundation approved water treatment chemical that many municipalities add either full time or on a period of high taste and odour. It is very similar to the material found in refrigerator filters, and water pitcher dispensers that are kept in your fridge. Large soft drink companies also use substances like PAC; however, it is more granular (like a very coarse salt).
Stellarton’s WTP intends to conduct a pilot program which involves the addition of PAC for an 8-week period beginning in late May through to July. Based on sampling in previous years, this is when the Town experiences MIB and Geosmin at their highest levels. While PAC can also be used to remove other organic materials within a water system – Stellarton’s top priority is reducing the MIB and Geosmin levels. Sampling will be conducted to test the raw water from the river and the treated water from the WTP as a means of evaluation and adjusting the addition of the PAC.
We are confident in our team at the WTP and are hopeful this will reduce these levels to ensure higher quality water throughout the whole year!