May 10, 2023
Moose Jaw, SK – Today (May 10), the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant issued the following statement:
Many citizens in Regina and Moose Jaw are noticing that their tap water has an unusual taste and odour but it is safe to drink and meets all regulatory drinking water requirements.
Buffalo Pound Lake (BPL) is the source water for Regina’s and Moose Jaw’s drinking water and is currently experiencing a very unusual but significant early season algae bloom which is causing the high levels of taste and odours. Staff at the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant are working diligently to prepare its granular activated carbon filtration system (GAC) for operation sometime during the week of May 15th. The GAC filters are very effective at removing taste and odour but the system has been undergoing its annual and necessary regeneration process that started in November and was completed on May 1st. Regeneration ensures the GAC filters will be capable of removing taste and odour produced by algae through the normal bloom season that starts in mid June and ends in November. Normally, the GACs are put into operation in late May well before algae blooms start.
For the past week, the water treatment plant has been adding powdered activated carbon to aid in reducing some taste and odour. This process is only a temporary measure and has limited impact on reducing taste and odour.
The BPWTP is currently undergoing a $325M renewal and construction will be completed in 2025. The renewal includes process improvements that will provide taste and odour removal year-round. However, to keep construction on schedule, the water treatment plant has had to shorten the duration in which the GACs can be used. The GACs were removed from service in November 2022 just prior to another unusual taste and odour event that was the result of natural compounds produced from the decay of large amounts of algae and weeds that grew in BPL the previous summer season. That odour event lasted about 6 weeks and resulted in just a few complaints.
The two recent taste and odour events are rare occurrences and plant staff are striving to manage them under the constraints of construction. The BPWTC asks that the citizens of Regina and Moose Jaw be patient as the new processes being constructed will soon provide year round removal of taste and odours from their drinking water.