Rehabilitating major infrastructure at downed water plant cheaper, quicker: PUC

Rehabilitating two major pieces of infrastructure for the downed Wheatley Water Treatment Plant is cheaper than purchasing new and will arrive sooner.

Article content

That was the message Chatham-Kent Public Utilities Commission general manager Darren Galbraith delivered in a verbal report to commissioners during the Feb. 15 meeting about progress since a fire on Sept. 13, 2023 shut down the water plant.

Article content

Galbraith said the motor control center, which provides the majority of electrical power to the system, and an automatic transfer switch, which transfers power from Hydro One into the plant, can both be rehabilitated at a cost of $850,000 to the insurance company, versus $1.55 million to buy new.

The rehabilitated equipment, which will be like new, also can be delivered in four months compared to more than a year for the new equipment, he said.

“We’ve agreed to go forward in that direction,” Galbraith said of refurbishing the equipment. “We want to get this plant up and running as fast as we can.”

Article content

The general manager said work also is progressing quickly to determine what remaining damaged equipment will be replaced or rehabilitated.

Galbraith noted temporary equipment continues to be procured and brought to the site in preparation to be in service by late April when water demands increase.

The provincial environment ministry already has approved the use of two temporary treatment centers to be used by the PUC.

Water continues to be supplied through an interconnection with Leamington and from the southern water treatment plant in Chatham-Kent.

While water supply has not been an issue since the fire, that could change as the days get longer, Galbraith said.

“We are concerned, when the daylight hours increase, there’s more demand on the Leamington side with their greenhouses and what’s residual coming to us.”

He said the PUC has set a goal of mid-April to have the temporary water treatment plant up and running to treat water for local customers.

“Obviously, we’ll take as much water elsewhere as we can that reduces strain on our temporary equipment, but we need to be prepared,” Galbraith said.

He said the PUC would like to get through April to October on the temporary system with the hope of being back running as normal by the winter.

Share this article in your social network