The town of Ramea is hoping for some good news this week on its water supply, following round-the-clock efforts to try and remove the salt water that was dumped into the reservoir by a storm surge in December.

"We are due to get the latest test results on Tuesday and we are cautiously optimistic," says Mayor Clyde Dominie.

The town council declared a state of emergency in late December and even in mid-January, the deepest part of the pond was still "pure saline."

Residents have to go to the water treatment facility to obtain containers of fresh water that has undergone a reverse osmosis process.

'Salt levels are diminishing'

Dominie said the breakthrough of sorts came when the pumping capacity doubled to 100,000 gallons daily.

"As you pump the salt water from the bottom of the pond, the fresh water settles down to where the intake is at," he said.

"So we're getting a fair mixture of fresh water being, of course, mixed in now."

Ramea flooding storm surge

This photo shows flooding and damage to a property in Ramea during storm surges on Dec. 16. The town declared a state of emergency due to salt in its water supply. (Twitter/@gregorycutler)

He said tests by town officials show improvements in the water quality, but there is still work to do — even if the official results come back with the all-clear.

"When we do get the results ... we wil indeed flush our fire hydrants to get the remaining salt water out of our distribution lines, but that of course is weather-related," said Dominie.

He said residents have been dealing with a bad situation with an admirable attitude.

Reverse osmosis unit

Ramea residents have had to get fresh water through a reverse osmosis process similiar to this one in Nunavut. (Government of Nunavut)

"It's frustrating for everybody ... and of course we're all looking forward to the day when we have the water like it was before this."

Dominie said work is already underway to prevent future storm surges from ending up in the town's water supply.

An engineering contract was recently awarded for the construction of sea walls and additional structure work is planned for the spring.