Clear for now, but homeowner Curtis Cobbett says he never knows when he’ll wake up to discover brown water coming from his taps.
“Last couple years it’s been coming, sometimes it’s really bad, sometimes it’s light,” said Cobbett
It’s to the point he’s buying bottled water and hauling in larger jugs.
“If we had to shower then at least we can shower, wash somewhat hospital style.” said Cobbett
Winnipeg is still plagued by brown water. But reported cases are down from the spike in 2013.
This year to date there have been around 2,000 calls for service, compared to three summer months in 2013 that saw more than 3,000.
The cause of the discoloured water is manganese, a byproduct of a chemical used to treat Winnipeg’s water. Since 2013 the city has increased the frequency of cleaning reservoirs and water mains to curb the colour.
“That has to do with preventing a buildup of manganese in the system, like we’re still putting it in, but this aggressive program tries to prevent that buildup,” said Tim Shanks, Manager of Water, City of Winnipeg
Going forward, the city is set to use a new chemical to treat the water, cutting the amounts of manganese by an estimated 90%. The hope is that 2,000 calls drops to a few hundred per year.
“I’m optimistic, it does seem to be getting better year after year,’ said Water and Waste Chair Brian Mayes.
The chemical change won’t happen overnight, the city hopes to test it out and put it to use in 2018.