Black water. (Submitted/Lakes District News)

Village responds swiftly to water main break

Upcoming water treatment plant to help resolve unclean water issues

  • Feb. 24, 2021 12:00 a.m.

On Feb. 13, the village crew worked to swiftly resolve the two water main issues on Fifth Ave and Highway 35 (Hwy. 35).

On Saturday morning at 3:45 a.m., the village staff received a call from the RCMP indicating a leak in the water main at Centre at Fifth Ave. The village crew was immediately on site by 4:30 a.m.

According to Sheryl Worthing, the village’s chief administrative officer, this water main break occurred due to cold weather as well as aged infrastructure. However, since there already was extra equipment to deal with the water leak on Hwy. 35, which had occurred earlier on Feb. 12, the village crew focused on fixing the 5th Ave leak and got the water back by seven p.m.

Work on the Hwy. 35 water main break was slated for Saturday, however the crew had to resolve the 5th Ave issue first and the Hwy. 35 leak work was rescheduled for Sunday, Feb. 14 and completed by afternoon.

When asked what the residents could do in events such as these, Worthing said, “be patient and understand that water disruptions do and will continue to be problematic at times, not only here in Burns Lake but every community in B.C. Crews work hard to ensure any disruption is handled as quickly as possible.”

She also encouraged every resident and business within the municipal boundaries to sign up for the Voyent Alert system. The alert system which was launched last year in June, can help residents signed up with it to receive critical mass notifications not only through the mobile application, but also via SMS, email or even landline.

READ MORE: The Bulkley-Nechako residents get a new alerts system

People can go to for information and links to download the alert system, or they can contact the village office at 250-692-7587.

After the water main break was resolved, the village had also notified residents that once the water was back up, residents might notice discoloured water coming through their taps. One resident sent a photo of his tub filled with such black water to Lakes District News.

“When there is a water disruption event, dirty water will occur. Run your cold water taps until the water clears. The Water Treatment Plant (WTP) will alleviate this issue eventually,” said Worthing.

Work on the water treatment plant began in September 2019 and continued through 2020. The construction on the plant is expected to be completed by spring 2021.

“Once the commissioning of the WTP is complete, it may take up to six months for the filtration system to reach its full capacity. Water that is distributed from the new WTP will be filtered, however, manganese that has already collected within the main distribution pipes is still there. To combat this, village crews will begin an extensive main water line flushing program to assist in removing the manganese starting in the spring of 2021, and this practice will continue frequently through to the fall of 2021,” said Worthing.

However, she said that the crew won’t be able to flush the manganese build up in the existing smaller water service lines to residential and commercial properties that come off of the main water lines and these lines should clear themselves over time.

ALSO READ: Water Treatment Plant expected to be completed by Spring 2021

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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