Regina water plant on backup power

Residents in and around Regina and Moose Jaw are being asked to continue conserving water as crews struggle to get the area's water treatment plant back to full operation.

Residents in and around Regina and Moose Jaw are being asked to continue conserving water as crews struggle to get the area's water treatment plant back to full operation.

The storm that roared through area into early Saturday morning forced officials to shut down the Buffalo Pound water treatment plant just before midnight Friday, said Ken Wiens, manager of water operations for the City of Regina.

Crews restored the power at about 6 p.m. Saturday, but a mechanical failure inside the plant caused it to stop working again, forcing crews to turn to a backup generator, he said.

"When the power was turned back on it was discovered that a transformer had failed right at the water treatment plant," Weins said. "That generator is being used to supply power to a part of the plant that is affected by the failed transformer."

Weins wasn't certain when permanent repairs would be completed.

Water from reservoirs and wells has been pumped into city systems since Saturday, and while it may have a taste or colour, it's safe to drink, city officials in both Regina and Moose Jaw said.

Residents should drink and cook with water as normal, the officials said, but postpone activities such as watering lawns and gardens, washing clothes and running dishwashers.

Pressure on system

Residents were also asked to avoid filling up large containers or bathtubs to stockpile water, which would increase pressure on the system, and to avoid flushing toilets as much as possible.

In Regina, officials said the city's response included:

  • Closing all 13 spray pads throughout the city.
  • Ceasing to water grass and parks throughout the city.
  • Instructing staff to not wash city vehicles such as buses, and refrain from using water to clean buildings, including Mosaic Stadium.
  • Posting signs at recreation centres advising people to refrain from showering.

These measures will remain in place until the situation at the water treatment plant stabilizes, Wiens said. To ensure fire and protective services has adequate water to fight fires, all available tanker trucks have been filled.

This is the third time a power outage has caused problems for the treatment plant this year.