Winnipeg changing water treatment chemical in hopes of reducing brown water

The City of Winnipeg is hoping to reduce ‘discoloured water events’ by changing one of the products it uses in the water treatment process.

The city is switching the coagulant from ferric chloride to ferric sulfate. A coagulant helps particles in the water stick together so they are easier to remove.

Ferric sulfate contains less manganese and was chosen after a multi-year study and a pilot project. In a 2013 consultant’s report on discoloured water it was noted manganese levels were the main reason behind the increase in brown water since 2010, and ferric chloride was to blame.

The city said residents will not notice anything different about their tap water as a result of the change.

“We expect discoloured water events to decline in 2019 compared to previous years; however, it is difficult to predict how long it will take to see a major reduction,” said Tim Shanks, manager of water services in a news release.

The city said a report on this change will go before the Standing Policy Committee on Water and Waste, Riverbank Management and the Environment on Thursday, Nov. 22.

The city reminds anyone who experiences brown water to contact 311.