Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Purifying the river water

In Ottawa, our drinking water comes from the river, but not before it's been filtered through the Water Purification Plants (WPPs):
Part of the Water Purification Plant at Britannia
At Britannia and Lemieux Water Purification Plants, sophisticated water purification techniques are used to treat Ottawa River water to drinking water quality standards. The source water from the river, while of excellent quality, does present a number of challenges to the treatment process. Seasonal variations in temperature and suspended organic loading in the summer require changes and on-going monitoring of the treatment processes and resulting water quality. The water treatment process consists primarily of the removal of particles from the source water by the processes of coagulation, mixing, settling and filtration. Once the partially treated water is passed through the filters, chlorine is added as a primary disinfectant in order to meet the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards. Other chemicals are also added to the water for corrosion control purposes within the distribution system and for dental health purposes. The Ministry of the Environment inspects all of the City’s drinking water systems on an annual basis and have found them to produce excellent water quality.
We passed the Britannia Plant the other day on a walk around Mud Lake.

The water is distributed to city dwellers through 15 pump stations, besides which some of the outlying communities rely on groundwater wells.

That quotation from the City of Ottawa website is a bit vague about the additives (other than chlorine) that we're drinking in our water; the perceived wisdom suggests that they're doing us more good than harm, but like many other people, I like to supplement my drinking water with spring water from time to time. At present this can be collected for free from the spring on the hillside at Wakefield. I hope the containers I use don't contaminate it.

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