Mobile treatment trailers coming to Wheatley’s fire-idled water plant

With repairs to Wheatley’s fire-damaged water plant likely to take more than a year, mobile treatment trailers are coming soon, officials say.

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Chatham-Kent public utilities commission members were updated on the situation during Wednesday’s meeting at the civic center.

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Tim Sunderland, PUC general manager, said the site has been cleaned and equipment inspected, some of which could take considerable time to replace.

“Just recently, we removed some of the pumping motors in the plant, and they have been inspected and repaired,” he said. “Equipment is being identified as a repair or replacement by the experts.”

The Sept. 13 fire, which did significant heat and smoke damage to the plant, prompted a boil water advisory for the Wheatley and Tilbury areas, which was lifted in early October.

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Water is being supplied through interconnects with Leamington, Sunderland said, but contingency plans are in the works to meet expected spring and summer water demand.

“We’ve ordered a diesel pump for rent that will supply water into the distribution system,” he said. “We’ve ordered two water treatment plants. . . on trailers that will be able to treat water on site.”

The temporary systems are expected to be operational by late December or early January, he added.

The trailers are coming from the US, Sunderland said after the meeting, but he didn’t have the final cost at this time.

West Lent Coun. Lauren Anderson, who has toured the damaged plant, called it an “eye-opening” experience.

“I can definitely appreciate all the work that’s gone on there,” she said.

Also Wednesday, commissioners approved a recommendation that Stantec Consulting provide up to $250,000 in engineering services, related to the investigation, remediation and rehabilitation of the plant.

Stantec provided engineering consulting and construction management when the plant’s was built in 1994, and when it was expanded and upgraded in 2004, a staff report said.

Insurable costs will be paid through the insurance reserve, or by the insurer directly, as part of the claim. The commission will be updated again later.

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