Update - Bloom of Cyanobacteria
Buffalo Pound Lake is experiencing a severe bloom of cyanobacteria which periodically overwhelms the water treatment plants granular activate carbon (GAC) system from removing all the odour and taste produced by these organisms. This occurs most often during hot weather when flows through the treatment plant are highest. In addition, the plant no longer has spare GAC filter capacity on standby. The spare GAC units are currently being refurbished as part of the plant renewal project. Plant staff, regularly monitor the intensity of taste and odour leaving the facility and have powdered activated carbon available to use when an operational odour threshold has been met. Despite the algae like or musty taste and odour that some citizens may notice on occasion, drinking water leaving the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant is safe to consume and meets all regulatory requirements.
Please note: Updated and year round taste and odour removal processes are scheduled to be put into service in September 2024.
On May 16th, the granular activated carbon system was placed into service at the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant.
Drinking water taste and odour will gradually become unnoticeable in Regina and Moose Jaw over the next few days
Taste & Odour
Many citizens in Regina and Moose Jaw are noticing that their tap water has an unusual taste and odour but it is safe to drink and meets all regulatory drinking water requirements.
Buffalo Pound Lake (BPL) is the source water for Regina’s and Moose Jaw’s drinking water and is currently experiencing a very unusual but signiﬁcant early season algae bloom which is causing the high levels of taste and odours. Sta. at the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant are working diligently to prepare its granular activated carbon ﬁltration system (GAC) for operation sometime during the week of May 15th. The GAC ﬁlters are very effective at removing taste and odour but the system has been undergoing its annual and necessary regeneration process that started in November and was completed on May 1st. Regeneration ensures the GAC ﬁlters will be capable of removing taste and odour produced by algae through the normal bloom season that starts in mid June and ends in November. Normally, the GACs are put into operation in late May well before algae blooms start.
For the past week, the water treatment plant has been adding powdered activated carbon to aid in reducing some taste and odour. This process is only a temporary measure and has limited impact on reducing taste and odour.
The BPWTP is currently undergoing a $325M renewal and construction will be completed in 2025. The renewal includes process improvements that will provide taste and odour removal year-round. However, to keep construction on schedule, the water treatment plant has had to shorten the duration in which the GACs can be used. The GACs were removed from service in November 2022 just prior to another unusual taste and odour event that was the result of natural compounds produced from the decay of large amounts of algae and weeds that grew in BPL the previous summer season. That odour event lasted about 6 weeks and resulted in just a few complaints.
The two recent taste and odour events are rare occurrences and plant sta. are striving to manage them under the constraints of construction. The BPWTC asks that the citizens of Regina and Moose Jaw be patient as the new processes being constructed will soon provide year round removal of taste and odours from their drinking water.
Construction Underway on $325.6 million Renewal of the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant
Mon., July 18, 2022 – Today, the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Corporation (BPWTC) celebrated the early stages of construction on one of its most significant infrastructure renewal projects in the last 30 years.
The Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant (BPWTP), originally commissioned in 1955, plays a critically- important role in supplying potable water to more than 260,000 people in the cities of Regina and Moose Jaw, along with residents of southwestern Saskatchewan – nearly one quarter of the province’s population.
“The renewal of the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant has been a long time coming. The staff at the plant have done an incredible job of keeping this plant operating effectively. That work, however, is becoming increasingly difficult as the plant begins to age beyond its projected lifespan. I want to commend plant staff for all they have done over the past number of years to keep this plant running effectively for the residents of the cities of Regina and Moose Jaw, and surrounding regions. I also want to thank the cities of Regina and Moose Jaw, the Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada for supporting this important project,” said Dale Schoffer, Board Chair, BPWTC.