Manitoba

Brandon hopes to lift boil water advisory by Wednesday afternoon, city official says

Almost half the people living in Brandon, Man., remained under a boil water advisory on Tuesday — but a city official says he hopes that advisory will be lifted by Wednesday.

Southwestern Manitoba city waiting on results from water test samples sent to Winnipeg: general manager

People in the area affected by the boil water advisory are being advised to bring water to a rolling boil for at least a minute if using it for drinking or preparing beverages, including formula, or for ice-making, preparing food, washing fruits and vegetables, or brushing teeth. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Almost half the people living in Brandon, Man., remained under a boil water advisory on Tuesday — but a city official says he hopes that advisory will be lifted by Wednesday.

Patrick Pulak, Brandon's general manager of operations, said the city is waiting on results from water samples sent for testing in Winnipeg to come back negative for bacteria.

The samples are being tested Tuesday, Pulak said, so he hopes to have results by Wednesday afternoon.

The boil water advisory was issued Monday morning after a significant water main break led to low water pressure across a large swath of the southwestern Manitoba city. So far, the advisory has affected roughly 6,500 residents and 250 businesses in the western half of Brandon, Pulak said.

"It's about 40 per cent of Brandon. And so if you drew a line up our 18th Street and everything west of that, that's kind of the area impacted," he told CBC's Radio Noon host Shannah-Lee Vidal.

"We figure at its peak, we were losing 300 litres per second of water out of this water main break. So it's fairly significant [for] Brandon."

A map shows the area affected by the boil water advisory in red.
The temporary boil water advisory remains in place south of the Assiniboine River and west of 18th Street to the city limits, the City of Brandon says. (CBC Graphics)

People in the affected area are being advised to bring water to a rolling boil for at least a minute if using it for drinking or preparing beverages, including formula, or for ice-making, preparing food, washing fruits and vegetables, or brushing teeth.

City staff have determined the break originated in a large pipe near the city's water treatment plant. That portion of the distribution pipe was isolated and the rest of the system was pressurized, which returned water service, the city said in an update on Tuesday.

The broken concrete pipe, which was installed in the 1960s and is 400 millimetres in diameter, is one of the city's main distribution pipes. When it failed, it affected pressure throughout the system.

Crews are mobilizing equipment to remove water from the area on Tuesday and preparing the site to repair the water main break as soon as possible. The plan is to start excavating the site on Wednesday, once the water has been removed, the city's update said.

The temporary boil water advisory remains in place south of the Assiniboine River and west of 18th Street to the city limits, it said.

While Brandon has had to issue boil water advisories before, there's never been one quite this big — which led to some learning opportunities for the city, Pulak said.

The biggest issue raised by residents has been that many didn't even know there was a boil water advisory in their area.

A man wearing glasses and a blue shirt sits in an office.
Patrick Pulak, shown here in a 2016 file photo, is the general manager of operations for the City of Brandon. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

"In smaller circumstances, we would hand-deliver notices to the homes. But when you have this large of an area, it's not really something that's viable," Pulak said.

In the future, the City of Brandon may opt to use text messages or some other form of communication that allows disseminating important information to a large group of people, he said.

With files from Margaux Watt

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