Town of Penhold operates three high quality groundwater wells and two reservoirs. Testing and reporting is done to comply with Alberta Environment Drinking Water Regulations. Hydrants and main line flushing is performed twice per year. All residences are metered and the meters are read remotely on a monthly basis.
Our Public Works team switched to a remote water meter reading system in 2006 using a MARS COMPANY remote system. In 2019, Public Works staff started noticing issues with the remote reading system. It became apparent an upgraded system was needed. Council requested Town staff begin changing the meter read heads over a 4 -year period of time starting in mid-2020 at a cost of $285,000.
When staff began changing the water meter heads, they noticed some discrepancies between what the remote reading indicated and what the actual read was on the meter. Although this only occurred in less than 9 per cent of cases, in late 2020 Council requested the time line be shortened to change all meter heads as soon as possible. The new system has been supplied by Mastermeter.
As Public Works crews work to change the meter heads over, there are some residents receiving bills larger than their average bill. Unfortunately, these bills are the result of consistent water use and under billing over a period of time. The under billing wasn’t flagged in the software system because there was water usage registering on the remote reading device at the site.
An example of this is as follows:
An average home with a family typically uses approximately 24m3 per month. If the reading was off by only 2m3 per month, over the span of 12 months this would result in a discrepancy of 24m3 or one full month.
Charge for 2m3 of consumption: $2.78
Sewer charge based on 2 m3 consumption: $7.14
Total cost of 2 m3 of water: $9.92
Over the course of 12 months this would result in under billing of $119.92.
We are working quickly to change all meter heads to the new system to ensure minimal inconvenience to our residents. Public Works appreciates resident cooperation in allowing access to their homes so staff can change the meter read heads and we can begin utilizing the new system for improved accuracy. Thanks to the cooperation of residents, Public Works anticipates having this project substantially completed by the end of June.
Water Testing & Reporting Procedures
The Town of Penhold operates a water utility that is licensed by Alberta Environment. Alberta Environment sets the requirements for testing and reporting. Listed below are some of the testing and reporting procedures as stated in the “Code Of Practice For Waterworks Systems Using High Quality Groundwater”.
- The chlorine dosage and the chlorine residuals are tested and recorded at the reservoir daily and also residuals are also tested five times a week at a random location within the system.
- Iron and Manganese levels are tested five times a week, once for the raw water supply.
- A weekly bacteriological sample is taken from a random point in the distribution system and sent to the provincial lab in Edmonton weekly. If the bacteriological sample is not acceptable, we are asked for a new sample to be taken and submitted within 24 hours. If the sample were to be deemed unacceptable Alberta Environment would be notified and would be investigated immediately.
- Our daily records are sent electronically to Alberta Environment on a monthly basis.
- A yearly summary of our records are sent to Alberta Environment each year.
- A chemical analysis is performed by an independent lab as required by Alberta Environment.
- Alberta Environment performs unscheduled inspections of our water system.
If you have any questions about your water system, please contact the Public Works Department at (403) 886-4265.
A copy of the yearly chemical analysis is available at the Town Office.
Changes to Water Treatment Process
Town of Penhold has changed the way it disinfects the potable water from chlorination (formed with the combination of chlorine and ammonia that is naturally occurring in the water) to the use of free chlorine (achieved through a process called break point chlorination). During this transition, the residents may notice some changes in the taste and odor of the water.
The change in disinfectant is to meet the new regulatory changes in Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development's Standards for Municipals Waterworks Systems (April 2012) that requires effective virus reduction to be conducted in all groundwater systems. These standards are a preventative measure because monitoring for viruses are not routinely conducted and there is a potential for viruses to be present in deep Alberta wells.
The transfer of disinfectant to a free residual is required because it is a stronger disinfectant and more effective at eliminating potential viruses in the water.
The free chlorine applied to the town's water supply will be well within acceptable ranges and are not considered a health concern. The taste or smell of the free chlorine differs from chlorination and consumers may or may not notice the change. Storing a jug of drinking water in the fridge can generally dissipate chlorine tastes. The change to free Cl2 was made in February 2014.
For more information on chlorine, please visit Health Canada.
• Penhold's Water Quality (Sodium in Drinking Water)
Tips to Conserve Water
• Set your sprinkler to avoid watering patios, driveways and sidewalks.
• Water back from the tops of slopes, as water will run down the slope and seep into the soil.
• Recoil your hose on a hose wheel to prevent damage.
• Regularly check your hose for leaks.
• Apply a maximum of 2.5cm (1 in) of water, including rainfall, to your lawn each week.
• Use a bucket, sponge and hose with a shut-off nozzle to wash and rise your car.
• Sweep driveways and sidewalks instead of using a hose.
• Cover swimming pools when not in use to reduce evaporation.
• Squirt guns or small plastic containers filled with water or a small wading pool are as effective at keeping children cool on a hot day as running a sprinkler.
• Use bucket and squeegee to wash windows.
• Operate decorative fountains only when you are there to enjoy them.
• Use the wastewater from cleaning outdoor ornaments ponds to water lawns and gardens.
Watering New Sod
Water new sod for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening for the first 10 to 14 days. After 14 days, water once every 2 days until new growth is established. After new growth is established water every 5 days for 1.5 hours and then weekly.
Check your water meter
It is good practice to check your water meter to ensure accuracy. All utility meters should be checked for this reason.
How to check your meter:
• Your meter is usually located in the basement of your home in the utility room, typically near the hot water tank.
• Lift the black cap to view the amount of M3 used to date.
• Compare this with the usage on your bill.
• The average monthly consumption for a household in the Town of Penhold is 12m3
Checking for Leaks
It is always a good practice to check for leaks in your home. The following website give 6 Ways To Find Hidden Water Leaks, https://www.benjaminfranklinplumbing.com/expert-tips/pipes-and-sewers/6-ways-to-find-hidden-water-leaks/
Please contact Public Works immediately if you notice that your water consumption is listed at zero on your utility bill, but water was in fact consumed during the billing period. This will help you to avoid any large water bills in the future.
For more information please contact 403-886-4265.