UPDATED September 16, 2016
City of Prince Albert to begin demobilization of temporary water pipelines
City to return to using N. Sask River for primary water source.
Prince Albert, SK. - The provincial regulatory body – Water Security Agency, announced Friday morning that municipalities are cleared to resume using water from the North Saskatchewan River for their residents. The City of Prince Albert is now beginning the process of decommissioning its temporary water pipelines that have been operating during the nearly two-month long oil crisis.
Crews are now beginning the process of removing water lines – located at the City’s storage retention ponds, Little Red River Park and along Highway 302. The City is asking residents to be cautious and mindful of workers, especially along the highway and to obey all speed limits, signage and flag persons. Residential neighbourhoods may also experience additional traffic during clean-up – particularly along River Street East, where water lines and pumps run the length of the street leading to the Water Treatment Plant.
The decommissioning of the temporary water lines and subsequent clean-up and restoration of the above locations are expected to take several weeks. The City is anticipating that the demobilization and most of the clean-up would be completed before winter with landscaping and some restoration work being carried over into spring of next year.
The province clears municipalities to resume water intake to N. Sask River
City of Prince Albert begins process to resume intake to N. Sask River.
Prince Albert, SK. - The Water Security Agency (WSA), announced Friday morning that municipalities are cleared to resume using water from the North Saskatchewan River for their residents. According to the media release issued by the WSA “the Water Security Agency is advising the communities of North Battleford, Prince Albert and Melfort, as well as SaskWater that they may start diverting and treating water from the North Saskatchewan River and Codette Reservoir.”
The municipalities sought out alternative water sources during a nearly two-month long oil crisis that resulted when an oil pipeline near Maidstone leaked oil into the North Saskatchewan River.
The City of Prince Albert will spend the next several days preparing its Water Treatment Plant and expects to be fully operating on the North Saskatchewan River by early next week.
According to the WSA release, approximately 88 per cent of the oil has been recovered in addition to conducting significant technical study, monitoring and review. The WSA requested an overall water safety assessment from the technical group working as part of the oil spill response to address human health threats, the fate of the oil, treatment requirements and long-term monitoring.
The water safety assessment was reviewed by an internal Government of Saskatchewan science committee, external academic experts from the Universities of Saskatchewan and Alberta, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, and engineering consultants for the municipalities.
The assessment indicated that oil components detected in the North Saskatchewan River does not present unacceptable health risks to residents whose treated water supply will be sourced from the river once intake use restarts. The results of the reports and testing done by the technical working group are consistent with what WSA found through an independent water sampling program.
WSA has placed the following conditions to clear municipalities to resume their intake to the river:
- Adjust their water treatment process to account for the current water quality of the sources;
- Collect samples of treated water and test for petroleum components shortly after restarting use of the intakes;
- Advise their consumers of a potential change in water quality.
City of Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne commended the province in its decision to allow municipalities to re-open their intakes to the North Saskatchewan River.
“Using water from the North Saskatchewan River is a long-term, viable solution to provide safe, potable water to our residents,” said Dionne. “The province and the City of Prince Albert have taken every precaution possible to ensure that the water is safe for residents and will remain safe.”
City Manager Jim Toye said that in addition to the intensive screening done by both the WSA and the City of Prince Albert, several back-up barriers are being arranged by the City prior to returning to the river. “The safety of our residents is paramount to us and comes first,” said Toye. “We are going back to using the river with full confidence that we don’t have just one back-up plan but three barriers of protection at the plant to ensure that the City is producing safe, high quality water for its customers.”
These back-ups include monitoring and testing of the raw water entering the Water Treatment Plant for hydrocarbon contamination, and the use of two filtration systems at the plant which are capable of removing any potential hydrocarbons contaminants through the water treatment system.
Husky Energy has agreed to compensate the City of Prince Albert for its back-up treatment and detection systems that are being implemented.
The WSA has now lifted its public advisories in relation to livestock watering and recreational use like boating, water skiing and other activities. Evaluations and assessments of impacts to aquatic life and other uses (fish and wildlife) are ongoing and separate from this assessment.
The full water safety assessment can be viewed at www.wsask.ca.
UPDATED AUGUST 15, 2016 2:10 P.M.
City of Prince Albert receives first deposit from Husky Energy
Albert, Sk. – The City of Prince Albert has received a $5 million payment
installation payment from Husky Energy to pay the direct costs and indirect
losses the City has incurred from the Husky Energy oil pipeline spill.
“This is a payment of good faith,” said City of Prince
Albert Mayor Greg Dionne. “Husky Energy had promised from the onset that they
would take full responsibility for the oil spill and pay all associated costs,
and this payment is a good indicator that they are delivering on that promise,”
This is its first payment installation the City has
received from Husky Energy since the oil pipeline leak into the North
Saskatchewan River four weeks ago resulted in the City scrambling to find
alternative water sources and footing the bill for two temporary water
pipelines to continue to provide water to the residents of the city.
There City has also received losses in revenue due to the
oil spill such as a loss in water revenue, the temporary closing of many city
facilities and paying additional staffing costs during the crisis
The money has been deposited into a dedicated bank
account the City has opened for receiving and paying out bills directly related
to the oil spill. The City has invoiced around $2.5 million to Husky Energy to
date and is expecting over $2 million per month in costs to maintain the
operation of its two temporary water pipelines until the North Saskatchewan
River is cleared by water authorities for potable water consumption.
The City begins compensation claims process with Husky Energy
Prince Albert, SK – The City of Prince Albert has begun its claim process seeking financial remuneration from Husky Energy, following a lengthy oil spill crisis that has cost the City millions of dollars.
The City is seeking compensation on a wide variety of costs including the salaries of City workers and contractors and material costs in constructing two water pipelines as alternative water sources for the City; following the oil spill contamination of the North Saskatchewan River which forced the City to close its water treatment plant intake to the river.
There were also worker wage costs involved with the running of the City’s Emergency Operations Centre, and General Inquiry Centre during the crisis which the City will also seek compensation for.
The City is also seeking to recoup the lost wages from outdoor workers which were temporarily laid off during the almost three weeks shut-down of civic facilities such as the Kinsmen Water Park. The City has committed to paying the salaries of 35 full and part-time lifeguard staff that were temporarily laid off and will be seeking compensation from Husky Energy on behalf of its staff.
“We sympathize with the lifeguards that were temporarily laid off during this crisis,” said City of Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne. “The majority of the staff is students that rely on their wages earned during the summer to pay for tuition and living costs in the fall when they return to school. The City is doing their part to make sure they are taken care of and we have no doubt that Husky will then reimburse us for the lost hours to our staff and facilities during the oil spill situation,” said Dionne.
Deloitte, an independent financial firm has been hired by the City to assist in the claims process with Husky Energy and preliminary meetings with Husky Energy have been positive. The City anticipates a 24-hour claim reimbursement from Husky Energy for all City invoices submitted.
City water services to resume to Penitentiary
Prince Albert, SK – The City of Prince Albert informed the Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiary today that it will resume providing water services to the facility.
The Penitentiary was responsible for sourcing its own water supply, the previous two weeks, after the City had to invoke an Emergency Conservation Bylaw, temporarily suspending water services to third party customers. The Bylaw was due to the recent Husky Energy oil spill which resulted in the City having to shut off its main water intake to the North Saskatchewan River and temporarily suspend third party services until secondary water sources for the City were fully on board.
City of Prince Albert Community Services Facilities Update
Prince Albert, Sk. – The City of Prince Albert has lifted the Local State of Emergency and partially the water restrictions and as a result the Community Services department facilities affected by the water situation are returning to near normal operations this week.
Spray Parks/Paddling Pools
The new West Hill Spray Park, Bernice Sayese Spray Park, Midtown Spray Park, Miller Hill Spray Park, Parkland Spray Park, Crescent Heights Paddling Pool, Ella Muzzy Paddling Pool (Kinsmen Park) and Hazeldell Paddling Pool all will return to full operation, Tuesday, August 9 at their regular times.
Kinsmen Water Park
The Kinsmen Water Park will re-open on Friday, August 12 at 1 p.m. and will be open daily until August 28, one week longer than scheduled. All of the water slides, the tot pool, the hot tub and playground area will be available. However, the main pool at the Kinsmen Water Park is closed for the season. A leak was detected within the main pool this summer, and to follow conservation of water guidelines, the pool will not be filled. Repairs will begin this fall to allow the main pool to be operational in 2017.
Half Price Admission – all admission at the Kinsmen Water Park will be half price from August 12 to 28. Kinsmen Family Fun Nights will be Thursday, August 18 and Thursday, August 25.
Cooke Municipal Golf Course
The irrigation system at Cooke Municipal Golf Course will be re-attached to the main City water system as soon as possible. In the meantime, they will continue to irrigate using water from the ponds on the course.
Art Hauser Centre
The ice making process at the Art Hauser Centre will revert back to using City water. This process has begun using water sourced from outside the city. The Art Hauser Centre is scheduled to open Thursday, August 11th.
Frank J. Dunn Pool
With the Kinsmen Water Park staying open one week later than scheduled, the opening of the Frank J. Dunn Pool has been pushed back one week to Thursday, September 1.
Irrigation of Parks and Boulevards
The City will resume irrigation of City Parks and Boulevards as required.
Water services to resume to Rural Water Utility, Mobile Home Parks, Water Crane
Prince Albert, SK – The City of Prince Albert announced at a special media conference today that water services have now resumed to the Rural Water Utility, the two mobile home parks and the municipal water crane.
“We are happy to say we monitored our water flow inventory over the last 24 hours and determined that we have sufficient flow to resume service back to the Rural Water Utility,” said City Manager Jim Toye.
“Water will also be restored to the two mobile home parks (Eastview and Driftwood) today and we are also reopening today the City Municipal Water Crane,” Toye added. The water crane is located at 3917 Central Avenue, Marquis Road Reservoir and residents must purchase pre-loaded swipe cards from City Hall to operate the water crane. Pre-loaded cards can be purchased on the main floor at City Hall during regular hours of operation 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
City Hall will also open tomorrow for a limited time the main floor City Hall cashier from 9 am to 12 pm to allow customers to purchase cards for the water crane. This special service applies to water crane card purchases only.
Toye cautions however, that “as the City is resuming gradual resumption of water service to its customers, risk still remains with the infrastructure, and as such, the City reserves the right to re-impose water restrictions if necessary.”
Residents were also reminded that a Husky Energy insurance claim centre will be set-up in Prince Albert this weekend to help businesses and individuals file their claims. The centre will be set-up Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Main Floor of the Travelodge Prince Albert, 3551 2nd Avenue West.
Insurance representatives will be there to help the public fill out their claims and are asking for the public to bring their photo identification and banking information – such as a void cheque in order to process their claims.
UPDATED AUGUST 4, 2016 9:09 A.M
Water restrictions lifted for businesses, partial restrictions for residents
Prince Albert, SK – Due to the South Saskatchewan water pipeline successfully producing water to the City of Prince Albert Water Treatment Plant for the past 48 hours and the Little Red River pipeline also producing sufficient water flow, restrictions have been lifted for commercial businesses and partial restrictions for residents.
The following commercial restrictions may resume effective immediately:
- opening of car washes, laundromats and dry cleaners
- outdoor irrigation for businesses
- operation of outdoor misting systems for cooling areas
- restaurants and other food establishments to serve municipal potable water to customersThe following residential restrictions have been partially lifted on the below conditions. The City would appreciate the co-operation of residents as follows:
The following residential restrictions may resume effective immediately:
- outdoor irrigation
- washing of sidewalks, driveways, tennis courts, patios, and other paved areas
- watering of lawns and gardens
- washing of automobiles, trucks, trailers, and other vehicles
- filling of private swimming pools, hot tubs, fountain spas, or other outdoor water features
Residential Addresses that are even numbered can water their residences on the following even dates: August 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30.
Residential Address that are odd numbered residences can water their residences on the following odd dates: August 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31.
We will advise residents when there are no further water restrictions.
As the City is resuming gradual resumption of water service to its customers, risk still remains with the infrastructure, as such, The City may need to re-impose water restrictions.
The following restrictions still remain in effect until further notice:
- The City’s Municipal Water Crane will remain closed.
- The Cook Municipal Golf Course’s irrigation system will continue to be detached from city water lines. The Golf Course has secured irrigation and will continue sourcing water from the pond located between the 3rd and 5th holes on the course to water greens only.
- Civic facilities remain under restriction.
August 2, 2016 Update
The City of Prince Albert announced at their afternoon press conference that two main water sources for the City are now on board.
The 30 kilometre-long, South Saskatchewan River pipeline, has come fully onboard as of this afternoon.
The Little Red River water pipeline has now been successfully pumping water into the water treatment plant for public usage the last three days.
The City’s backup retention ponds have also been enjoying the additional rainfall this weekend and continue to provide a backup for the City.
City Manager Jim Toye, said the City would announce in the coming days a timeline to have local businesses such as laundromats and carwashes fully operational once again. “We sympathize with local business owners and the sacrifices they have had to make and we are trying to have our local businesses back-to-business as usual as quickly as we can,” said Toye.
The City also plans to provide a timeline, based on the pipeline’s performance, for renewing Rural Water Utility services.
Toye, during the press conference thanked staff, contractors and provincial and governmental partners for assisting the City and in their continuous hard work during the ongoing oil spill situation. “Thanks to their tireless actions we continue to provide safe, drinkable, potable water to City of Prince Albert residents,” said Toye.
The Prince Albert Exhibition continues this week, and Toye acknowledged the efforts by organizers, hauling in water this year to ensure that both residents and visitors can continue to enjoy this annual event.
The City would like to remind residents that the Emergency Conservation Bylaw remains in effect. Residents and businesses will be fined $1,400 if found to be breaking the bylaw. Citizens are encouraged to call Bylaw Services at (306) 953-4222 if you see residents and commercial businesses not following the bylaw.
The City continues to remind residents and businesses to continue to limit their water consumption at this time.
Local State of Emergency Renewed, Emergency Water Conservation Bylaw still in effect
A Special City Council Meeting was held July 25, 2016 wherein a local State Of Emergency was declared. City Council also passed an Emergency Water Conservation Bylaw No. 28 giving City officials the authority to issue $1,400 fines (base fine of $1,000 plus an additional $400 surcharge) to businesses and residents using potable water unnecessarily.
The City has renewed its local State of Emergency and the Emergency Water Conservation Bylaw remains in effect.
Conservation of water critical as City works to bring new water sources on line
Prince Albert SK – As mentioned in a press conference late yesterday afternoon, the water pipeline currently being constructed to draw water from the South Saskatchewan River has been delayed. The water pipeline is expected to be completed by late this week.
The City of Prince Albert is currently operating on a backup water supply pumped a from storm retention pond which came on board late yesterday. This backup reserve of water is expected to provide the City with up to 4 to 5 days of water supply
The City is stressing it is absolutely critical for residents and businesses to continue to limit their water consumption at this time.
The City would like to remind residents that an Emergency Conservation Bylaw is in effect. Residents and businesses will be fined $1,400 any business or resident that is found to be breaking the bylaw. Citizens are encouraged to call Bylaw Services at (306) 953-4222 if you see residents and commercial businesses not following the bylaw.
The City is working hard to bring on line a third alternative source of water. Work has begun today in Little Red River Park (PDF) to install pipes and pumping systems which will draw water from the Spruce River System (PDF) in Little Red River Park to the Water Intake Station at the Water Treatment Plant. The Spruce River System draws water from Anglin Lake, and the City is working with the Water Security Agency (WSA) to further open up the dam at Anglin Lake to increase the water flow to the river system. Pipeline construction and necessary permits are expected to be completed within the next 48 hours to have this third source of water flowing into the City’s Water Intake structure.
Motorists are to be aware that jersey barriers will be set-up restricting east road access to Little Red River Park. Residents will still have access to the west entrance of Little Red River Park and to the Cosmopolitan Lodge.
Access to River Street West near the Water Treatment Plant and to Mair Park near the plant will be limited and monitored by security to ensure that the pipeline construction is not disturbed and for the safety of residents as heavy duty equipment will be operating.
Department of Highways has also advised that they have erected signs to notify the public of the reduced speed zone put in place to accommodate staff who are monitoring the water line that will be running from Little Red River Park to the Water Treatment Plant.
The speed zone begins at the off ramp onto Highway 55 East and continues along the highway out towards the Prince Albert Municipal Airport.
Security is present on a 24 hour basis monitoring the lines and equipment.
A pipeline is under construction to provide an alternative source of water from the South Saskatchewan River. The pipeline (overview, detail) will draw water 30 kilometres south-east of the City downstream of Muskoday First Nation.