UPDATED: Water flowing at Bay Bulls plant

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Bonnie Belec
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Mayor asks residents to watch water use for another day or two

Mayor Dennis O'Keefe

The City of St. John's announced Saturday morning that water levels in the region's reservoirs have returned to normal.

The system had time to replenish overnight Friday.

“We would like to thank residents, businesses and our regional and emergency partners for their support throughout this incident at Bay Bulls Big Pond Water Treatment Plant,” wrote Mayor Dennis O’Keefe in a press release.

“This was a real team effort from our dedicated staff and contractors who worked around the clock, to our regional partners who came to the table to help and to all those residents and businesses who went the extra mile by rationing water,” added O'Keefe .

“I am very pleased to say that less than two days after the incident we can all resume normal water usage patterns again.”

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Water has been restored to the Bay Bulls Big Pond Water Treatment Plant and the worker who was injured Thursday is OK, but the mayor of St. John’s said he would still like residents to limit their water use.

“We’re asking people to use common sense for the next day or so to allow for the system and reservoirs to refill. There’s no ban, we’re just asking people to be careful,” Dennis O’Keefe said Friday.

Water wasn’t being produced Thursday afternoon at the plant because the main power cord to the facility was severed which resulted in a fire. The mayor said, added to that was the fact the generators were supposed to cut in, but didn’t.

 “It was severed accidentally. It is being investigated by Occupational Health and Safety and the RNC. In an issue like that it would be, but it was an accident. And an individual was injured, he was taken to hospital and from what I can gather fortunately it’s not a serious injury and he’s going to be OK,” said the mayor.

O’Keefe said at the time of the incident the plant had two electrical rooms, a new one nearing the point of being commissioned and the old one which would be decommissioned when the new one came online. He said the incident occurred in the old one.

“So what they had to do, because they had almost completed the new electrical room, what they were able to do was route the power then, and that was the challenge, from the new electrical room to the pumps. So the new electrical room is now in operation earlier than we had thought it would be,” he said.

O’Keefe said the five pumps at the Bay Bulls plant were put back into production around 3 a.m. Friday. As of Friday afternoon, he said everything was back to normal. “The pumps are working. They had to run a direct power line to the pumps and then work on each of the five pumps, they are now up and running, but in the meantime they’re working on the back up generators to make sure they perform the way they should have performed which was part of the problem yesterday, the generators didn’t kick in,” he said.

The mayor said, staff spent the day investigating why the generators didn’t start up, but it will be a day or so before they figure it out.

“The focus was entirely on getting the system back up and running and once we got the water flowing as it should, they’ll look into all of the issues that arose and I guess they’ll look into how people responded as well. But I think they’ll find people responded well based upon the length of time the plant was out of commission and the fact the water was low by 2-3 o’clock this morning, but there was still water there,” he said in response to questions about water consumption since Thursday.

He said when the water supply is interrupted the system has about 10-12 hours before it runs out, but that can be lengthened by restricting the use. When staff got everything up and running, O’Keefe said they realized there was still water in the reservoir, but it was running low which means people probably paid attention to the water restriction notices.

 

bbelec@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Bay Bulls

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