On Wednesday, November 1, the Town of Olds said that the boil water advisory was lifted.

Previously, The Town of Olds updated residents on the boiling water advisory that had been in place since Sunday.

According to an update on Monday afternoon, the advisory had been extended to Wednesday, in order to follow Alberta Health Service (AHS) requirements.

"AHS must test water samples and confirm there is no bacteria from this recent incident at the Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission," an update from the Town stated.

The first samples were submitted on Sunday, October 29 and took approximately 30 hours to process. The next samples will be submitted on Tuesday morning, meaning that Wednesday is the earliest possible notification date.

According to town officials, on Friday evening, the Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission’s treatment plant outside of Innisfail experienced a prolonged power outage. The Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission serves 30,000 people in the six communities, including Innisfail, Bowden, Olds, Didsbury, Carstairs and Crossfield.

"As we understand it, upon restarting the system, the pressure was enough to push existing sediment and sludge down the main line. Unfortunately for Olds, we are at the end of the older of the two main lines, meaning everything ended up here, filling our reservoirs with sediment," a press release from the town stated.

Crossfield did not experience significant issues, as it appears the newer line handled the restart better than the older line.

"The Town will be meeting with the commission once the response is concluded to determine how exactly this happened and what we can do to prevent it from happening again."

On Sunday afternoon, Olds Town crews and Olds Fire Department (OFD) members began flushing our water system, stopping around 3:00 PM to allow the water commission to flush the main line.

"This stoppage was to prevent our reservoirs from becoming too depleted. Flushing caused a short-term loss of water pressure for most of the Town, but it only lasted approximately 1 hour. "

At approximately 4:00 PM on Sunday, AHS public health contacted the Town stating that a boil water advisory was to be issued due to the continued discolouration.

"The Town had been testing the water throughout the day and felt the water was safe for use, despite the discoloration. AHS felt that it was best from a precautionary standpoint to issue the advisory until the turbidity could be reduced. Once the commission ended its flushing, we resumed our flushing program around 7:00 PM Sunday evening."

However, it was underlined that because the fire department was called out to an emergency response, flushing efforts had to be halted by 8:30 PM.

"We will be evaluating the situation Monday morning to see where our turbidity levels sit and again resume our flushing program. Public Works crews will be out sanding early Monday morning as much of this flushed water will freeze on the roadway."

The Town said it continues to work with AHS Public Health to provide them with the information they need to determine the state of the town's drinking water. 

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