Ramea doubles flushing to clear salt from drinking water

Ramea still doesn't know when it will lift a state of emergency that's been in effect since Dec. 30.

Town pumping 100,000 gallons each day, says mayor

Repairs to the water system in Ramea are ongoing. (Submitted by Joy Denty)

Ramea is sending twice as much water through its lines, according to the town's mayor, in an effort to speed up the flushing of salt from its water system.

Water processing facilities in the town are pumping about 100,000 gallons each day, Mayor Clyde Dominie said, releasing it through a fire hydrant. That's up from the 50,000 gallons it usually pumps. 

The extra pumping began on Monday. Dominie said despite the increased effort, there's still no timeline for the water system to be put back in service.

"Unfortunately, it's difficult to say, because we're not sure the level," he told CBC's Here & Now on Tuesday.

"We know the salt water will settle in the pond, the salt water being [heavier] than the fresh water. But the actual, the amount at the bottom of the pond, we can't determine it at this point in time."

Clyde Dominie is the mayor of Ramea. (CBC)

Ramea has been in a state of emergency since Dec. 30, and without fresh running water for almost three weeks.

A storm surge, which Dominie described as a "tidal wave," dumped salt water into the town's reservoir.

The town has sent water samples off to be tested, and Dominie is hopeful they'll show salt levels are falling.

Be prepared

An engineer visited the community on Monday.

Dominie said the town is looking to build more breakwaters around its reservoir, to try to avoid future contamination. He said it's all about being prepared.

This photo shows flooding and damage to a property in Ramea during storm surges on Dec. 16. (Twitter/@gregorycutler)

"There's no doubt in our mind that it's not a question if this will occur again, it's a question of when it will occur again," he said.

"Because we've certainly noticed in the last few years there's changes in the veracity of the storms." 

With files from Here & Now