Fort McMurray could lift boil water advisory sooner than expected

After announcing this week that a boil water advisory would remain in place until September, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo said Friday that it now believes that timeline will be shortened.

“Our staff, engineering consultants, and the two provincial departments have collaborated closely to refine the plan, and we look forward to the boil water advisory being lifted before September,” the municipality’s deputy chief administrative officer, Matthew Hough, said in a news release.

Work is underway to flush, disinfect, and test the area’s water treatment plant.

The advisory still remains in place for all neighbourhoods in Fort McMurray, Anzac, Draper, Gregoire Lake Estates, and Saprae Creek Estates.

The municipality said it is now working with Alberta Health Services to lift the advisory in phases throughout the system.

Alberta Environment and Parks has also accepted a recovery plan with specific regulatory and testing conditions and will work with the municipality on the details and roll-out.

This first phase of the plan is expected to be completed by next week, allowing the potable water truck-fill station to reopen.

Initially, the RMWB said the flushing of the system would consist of five phases. The next phase after the flushing of the plant will be temporarily installing flushing and diffusing equipment on fire hydrants and continuously flushing them for 10-12 hours per day to turn over water from the Thickwood and Timberlea reservoirs and distribution networks.

Phase 3 will flush the Lower Townsite and Waterways, followed by Beacon Hill and Saprae Creek in Phase 4 and a final flush of the entire system in Phase 5.

The municipality said restoring potable water to the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre is also a priority in the roll-out.

–With files from Caley Ramsay and Breanna Karstens-Smith, Global News

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