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Kleefeld water woes reviewed in report

By: Adriana Mingo

Posted: 02/25/2017 6:30 PM

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RM of Hanover council will consider other options in finding a water supply without high levels of barium in the Kleefeld area after studies indicate that previously proposed solutions are not feasible.

In early February, the Manitoba Water Services Board (MWSB) wrote to Hanover and indicated the next step in finding a solution to their water troubles in Kleefeld might be a regional water supply system in partnership with a neighbouring municipality like the City of Steinbach, Town of Niverville or the RM of Ritchot.

In 2011, water sampling indicated Kleefeld’s barium concentration was 1.82 milligrams per litre (raw water) and 1.72 milligrams per litre (treated water). This exceeds Health Canada’s maximum allowable concentration of 1.0 milligrams per litre.

Initially, a proposed solution was to connect Grunthal and Kleefeld to a single water supply system because of recent upgrades to Grunthal’s water treatment plant. Hanover entered

into a $1.2 million agreement with MWSB.

In October 2015, W.L. Gibbons and Associates (WLG) conducted an assessment to determine if it was conceptually feasible to expand the Grunthal water supply system to service both communities.

Engineer studies indicated that was likely not feasible due to ammonia levels and high costs. The assessment found increased pumping rates of Grunthal’s current supply system may result in drawing higher concentration of ammonia. It also found drilling deeper into the underlying limestone aquifer would likely result in elevated barium levels, while drilling deeper into the sandstone aquifer was considered the highest probability of finding good ground water.

In November 2015, an engineering firm was asked to design a water supply pipeline from the Grunthal water treatment plant to the Kleefeld water treatment plant. This allowed data to be collected prior to winter and to complete a design for a spring 2016 tender.

In May 2016, supplementary water quality investigations confirmed the previously identified risk for drawing ammonia into Grunthal’s water supply. The investigation also ruled out the use of the limestone aquifer because of the elevated barium levels risk. The sandstone aquifer was still considered the best option for superior water quality, but with some areas showing elevated ammonia.

In the same month, the MWSB presented this data to Hanover through a technical memorandum. The memorandum indicated the sandstone aquifer was the preferred source for better water quality. The MWSB presented costs for both the proposed pipeline and well installations, noting that both would exceed the $1.2 million funding agreement. MWSM presented the option of installing wells into the sandstone aquifer.

Hanover, MWSB and WLG met in June 2016 and decided to pursue the well installation option, rather than the pipeline.

WLG retained Friesen Drillers to drill for subsequent tests to develop the new groundwater wells. During Friesen Drillers first drill attempt in August 2016, a large solution cavity suspended drilling and a new location was required. Friesen Drillers then successfully installed a test well into the sandstone.

Tests results, presented to Hanover in October, indicated the water from the sandstone aquifer was very similar in chemistry to the water from the overlying limestone aquifer, concluding the new wells would not address Kleefeld’s water quality issues.

In November, all parties involved met to discuss results, noting that barium exceeding standards in both aquifers appears to occur along a roughly linear trend from Blumenort through to the Kleefeld and Grunthal areas. Any further groundwater investigation would have to occur outside of the barium trend, like in the area three to four miles northwest of Kleefeld.

WLG submitted a proposal to the MWSB for further groundwater investigations northwest of Kleefeld earlier this year.

Kleefeld is not under boil water advisory. However, exposure to elevated levels can result in gastrointestinal disturbances, elevated blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Kleefeld does have a treatment system, but upgrading the current system is not considered feasible due to the need for complicated and expensive treatment technology, disposal of treatment residuals and operator certification requirements.

At this point, MWSB recommends Hanover look into regional water supply system options or revisiting the Grunthal pipeline with a focus on addressing ammonia issues.

RM of Hanover council passed a resolution Wednesday to continue working with The Water Services Board on a regional water supply system.

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