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North End Water Pollution Control Centre (NEWPCC) plant shutdown

September 17, 2002 press release

Repairs continue at North End Water Pollution Control Centre

Repairs are progressing well at the North End Water Pollution Control Centre. A mechanical failure temporarily shut down the center yesterday at approximately 1:15 p.m. Because of a faulty valve, raw sewage flowed into the pump room immersing equipment. The raw sewage cannot be pumped through the wastewater treatment processes, and as of 5:00 p.m. yesterday, was draining into the Red River.

Until repairs are complete, approximately 230,000 cubic metres of raw (untreated) sewage will drain into the river per day. Barry MacBride, Director of the City's Water and Waste Department says, "Our staff were on the Red River early this morning taking water samples, and initial test results show that there is no noticeable impact on aquatic life. High river flows and cooler river water temperatures are helping to reduce the impact on water quality. We will continue to test and monitor river water quality on a daily basis."

"We expect the repairs to be complete and the facility operating again by Monday or perhaps earlier. The sewage has been drained from the pump room. Staff have been hosing down the pump wells and cleaning the debris off the equipment. The first two of six electric motors were removed late this afternoon and were sent to be cleaned and dried," says MacBride. The approximate size of each motor is 2 metres by 2 metres by 2 metres.

Winnipeg residents can continue to use their water and sewer services as usual. There aren't any communities downstream of Winnipeg on the Red River that use river water as a source of drinking water. Depending on wind and weather conditions, residents may notice an unpleasant odour on the river from downtown to the North Perimeter bridge and beyond. MacBride says, "Although we are not seeing increased floating debris from the sewer system, we are installing booms at all six outfalls to collect as much as we can. Three of the booms were in place by 4:00 this afternoon, and the remaining three will be installed this evening."

"We are continuing to work with our regulatory agencies, both for monitoring river water quality and investigating the failure, including Manitoba Conservation and Health, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Environment Canada", says MacBride.

The North End Water Pollution Control Centre, located at 2230 Main Street, processes raw sewage from the north and central areas of the city, including about 370,000 residents.

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Media inquiries may be directed to:

Kathy Taylor
Public Information Officer
Water and Waste Department

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