February 25, 2016 7:19 pm

Albertans concerned over ‘milky brown’ tap water amid need for new well

The water in Penhold, Alta. raised questions from residents.

Provided to Global News

Residents of Penhold, Alta. discovered something less than refreshing when they turned on their household taps Wednesday.

Where you would expect to see clean and clear water, photos from the private Facebook group “Penhold Happenings” show a milky brown substance instead.

Penhold Mayor Dennis Cooper said although unsightly and unsettling, there are steps to follow to get crystal clear water back in your home.

Penhold Water

The mayor said residents should immediately contact Penhold Town Council and they will send someone to the area in question, to test the water as soon as possible.

According to Cooper, a flushing method involving opening a nearby fire hydrant clears out the pipes and will temporarily solve the problem, but there’s currently no permanent solution to the murky water issue.

The town is in need of a new well, and the system it has in operation has been greatly affected by provincially-raised chlorine minimums.

Story continues below

Chlorine added to the water causes iron to separate and the resulting sediment to sink to the bottom of the pipes.

When there’s a water break or water leak, this sediment is disturbed and released throughout the water system. He said that’s what residents are seeing coming through their taps.

Local Lonnie Boxer said it’s been an ongoing issue for residents of Penhold for years.

“This is absolutely the worst I have ever seen it. We have lived here for seven years and refuse to drink the yellow water that comes from our taps on a regular basis.”

But Cooper assures residents the problem is in the process of being fixed, as money in the 2016 budget has specifically been set aside for hydrology studies, and the discovery of a new and better functioning well to support the rapidly expanding town.

Penhold has less than 3,000 residents but according to Cooper, “we built 104 homes in 2015; we’re growing quickly.”

Cooper also wants residents to remember the town is in strict compliance with Alberta Environment drinking water regulations and that there is no health risk.

“Our water is safe…it has been tested, tested, tested.”

Penhold is about 130 kilometres north of Calgary.

© 2016 Shaw Media

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.