Since regional water has been being delivered to the village since early October the increase to $4.30/cubic meter was enacted on October 4, 2016 and effective as of the first billing for the month of October, 2016.
Why are our water rates going up?
The pricing for water is based on balancing the water department account only, not offsetting costs in other departments. Municipal utilities should run at a breakeven level as a minimum so that those that use the systems, be it water, sewer, garbage etc., pay for the cost of running them. In 2013 the village lost app. $300,000 in the treatment and delivery of water alone. This doesn’t even include depreciation of system assets. To put this into perspective, that was more than the village was receiving in residential property taxes at that time. The recent increase comes as a result of the village converting to the regional water system by which water will be supplied by Epcor through the parkland water commission system into the WILD system and then to the village. This WILD bylaw was approved in 2008 and WILD’s recent schedule of pricing requires the Village to pay $2.55 per cubic meter for all water coming into the community. Consumption charges have been set to ensure a breakeven level only and are determined by the gross volume of water supplied and charged to the village by WILD spread over the metered volumes sold to village customers. As our system becomes more efficient it is possible that consumption charges may be decreased in the future.
Fixed costs for the water system, ie salaries, repairs, contractors, insurance, power, gas, transfer to reserves etc are estimated to be just over $224,000 in 2017 and those costs are spread over all users in the form of a flat rate. The flat and consumption rates have been set to ensure revenues match expenses for water in 2017 so that our water department does not run in a deficit position.
The village has been running large operating deficits for many years and those deficits have been offset by taking money from reserve accounts to apply to the operating budget, this is an unsustainable practice. In order for the village to move forward in a sustainable fashion it’s vital that we produce balanced operating budgets without contributions from reserve accounts, much as we need to in business or in our family budgets. This won’t come without reductions in expenses and increases in revenues. The village is doing its part by continuing to improve the efficiency of our water system by improved metering, leak detection and system repairs. The village council is committed to ensuring a sustainable financial future for the community, a difficult and sometimes unpopular task but one that is necessary.
PUBLIC HEALTH NOTICE
Conversion to Regional Water System scheduled to begin Tuesday, October 4, 2016
What You Need to Know
- The regional system (W.I.L.D.) is supplied water from Epcor through the Parkland Water Commission to the WILD regional line. Epcor’s water is derived from the North Saskatchewan River as opposed to the ground water wells, which have been supplying the village for the last decade, so you may notice some differences.
- Currently our water is disinfected by chlorination (chlorine only) while the regional system supply will be disinfected by chloramination (adding chlorine and ammonia). There are some groups of people who need to take special care with chloraminated water: kidney patients running home dialysis units, fish owners and industrial users. Please see the fact sheet below for further information.
- During the conversion phase we will be performing a full unidirectional flush of our entire distribution system. This is required to speed up the changeover and part of routine line maintenance. The flushing may cause some temporary discoloration of the water or minor amounts of sediment to be dislodged. This is normal. After the flushing is complete you should run your taps to clear your lines. You may want to check your tap screens if you notice any issues.
- This is major change over and while we are planning for all eventualities there is the potential for system and service interruptions.
Important Facts About Chloramination
- What is chloramination? Chloramination is the process of adding ammonia to drinking water which already has chlorine added as a disinfectant. The ammonia combines with the existing chlorine which is called free chlorine to create chloramines.
- Are chloramines safe? Yes. Chloramination is a safe, proven water disinfection process that has been widely used in communities across Canada, the United States and Europe for several decades. The City of Edmonton has utilized chloramination for more than 25 years. Almost 50% of the Alberta population uses chloraminated water. It is safe for drinking by people and animals, cooking, bathing, laundry, gardening and all other general household uses. It can be used safely by women who are pregnant, for mixing baby formula, and for cleansing of cuts, scrapes and wounds.
- Why is the regional system using chloramines? Since the water through the regional system comes from Edmonton (Epcor) the water is treated prior to entering the regional line. Epcor uses chloramines for their ability to last over long periods of time in distribution lines, for their lack of taste and odor and for their safety. The further treated water has to travel in the distribution system, the faster chlorine dissipates, making water more susceptible to harmful bacteria and Disinfection By-Products (DBPs). It has been shown that chloramines help deliver water to you with the lowest possible levels of DBPs.
- What precautions should home kidney dialysis patients take? Chloramines must be removed from water that goes into kidney dialysis machines since it interacts directly with the bloodstream. If you use a home dialysis machine it is important to check with your physician who can recommend the appropriate type of water treatment. Home dialysis service companies can usually make the needed modifications.
- Can people with kidney ailments, on low-sodium diets, or with diabetes use chloraminated water? Yes. People with those medical problems can use chloraminated water as they would normal tap water. If you have any concerns contact your physician.
- Do home water softeners remove chloramines? Most water softeners are not designed to remove chloramines. Chloramines will not make water softer and will not affect automatic (‘self-regenerating’) water softeners.
- Will reverse osmosis remove chloramines? No. Salts can be caught by the permeable membranes but chloramines pass through easily.
- Will chloramines be removed by boiling the water? No. Boiling is not a reliable method of removing chloramines from water. The only practical methods for removing chloramines from water are using a water conditioner which contains a dechlorination chemical or by using granular activated carbon.
- How about using chloraminated water on ornamental plants, vegetables or fruit and nut trees, will beneficial soil bacteria be harmed? The small amount of chloramines should have no effect on plants of any type. Beneficial bacteria will generally be protected by the soil in which they live. Chloramines will be removed by the high chlorine demand in the soil.
- How do chloramines affect fish? Chloramines are toxic to fish and must be removed from the water in your tank, aquarium or pond since it enters their blood stream directly through their gill structure, just as chlorine is toxic and must be removed. You may not have had to remove chlorine from your aquarium water, however, because it disappears rapidly on its own. This is not the case with chloramines. Due to longer time to dissipate and ammonia that may be present chloramine needs to be adjusted for. Consult with your pet stores on how to best treat the water.
- Won’t letting water sit for a few days remove chloramines from tank or pond water? No. Unlike chlorine, which dissipates when water sits for a few days, chloramines may take weeks to disappear.
For further information call Health Link 24/7 by dialing 811 or the Village Office at 780-892-2699