Water and wastewater issues outlined in Inverness County

PORT HOOD: Trudy Gillis, who serves as Manager of Environmental and Facility Compliance for the Municipality of Inverness County, reported to council last Thursday.

A number of water and wastewater issues throughout the municipality have been remedied, she said, and other issues are still being wrestled with.

Issues at the Judique water treatment plant (like a lengthy boil order) have been handled, but the facility is still undergoing a complete overhaul. Also in Judique, the community’s storage tower is in operation.

Weekly sampling was stepped up to four locations per community per week.

Filters and new operational screens were repaired at the Mabou water treatment plant, and filters have also been repaired at the Port Hood water treatment plant. With that, new chlorine pumps were installed there as well.

Information was supplied to engineers for water exploration in various communities.

In terms of sewer, the following goals have been achieved: aeration equipment at the Whycocomagh sewer treatment plants was repaired and upgraded; aeration lines at the Inverness sewer treatment plant were repaired; lift station pumps were pulled and repaired and are being reinstalled; sewer sampling is conducted weekly at the municipality’s two newer plants and monthly at the others; outfalls of the sewer treatment plants were cleaned out and UV systems are being cleaned on a routine basis; and inflow and infiltration studies were conducted in Whycocomagh and trouble areas were identified.

There is still a considerable amount to do, Gillis said.

Some of the major projects still facing the municipality include the following: well exploration in Port Hood, Mabou, Inverness, and Judique; various upgrades to water treatment plants and storage towers; the Port Hood storage tower needs its analyzer line heat-traced and properly installed; storage towers need assessment; Whycocomagh has to be checked for leaks; the Judique dam needs an assessment; and plans must be developed to deal with the old Mabou water treatment plant and to isolate old storage ponds in Inverness.

Sewers also need work, Gillis said.

Some of the big ticket items in that respect include: the fixing of lift station doors; two Mabou lift stations need to be installed; the Whycocomagh wastewater treatment plant designs aren’t yet complete; Whycocomagh and Cheticamp need inflow and infiltration work; monthly clean-outs of wastewater treatment plants; a solids handling plan needs to be developed; and flow totalizers need to be installed in Judique and Inverness.

Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie asked if Gillis was able to comment on what’s currently going on in Port Hood. Community residents have been asked to conserve water as much as possible as the reservoir was at a critically low level.

“We tried digging a well last Wednesday [June 26], but a pocket opened up under the well driller,” Gillis said. “We’re hoping to have them back in to see how this void opened up. We hope they’ll be able to drill in the same spot.”

The amount of water in the reservoir is on the rise, she said, but it would be a good idea to keep conserving.

“I’d ask people in all our communities to conserve,” she said. “We’ve been having dry summers and our wells get low. It’s just a good practice to conserve water.”

A community meeting will take place in Port Hood on July 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the municipal building, regarding Port Hood’s water.

Councillor Jim Mustard asked about the search for a new well in Inverness. In specific, he asked if exploration could be done in the Foot Cape area. She said there was a chance of salt water infiltration there, based on the studies she has.

“I don’t know if I trust that,” he said. “Some developers have developed in that region, and if there’s an interest in connecting with some of them, you could contact them.”