UPDATE: Mandatory ban ended

Update from EPCOR 12 p.m. Feb. 2

Following the completion of critical repairs at the E.L Smith Water Treatment Plant, and stabilization of the water distribution network, EPCOR has ended the ban on non-essential water use in Edmonton and the Capital Region.

“We are deeply grateful for the support of customers in Edmonton and across the region this week,” said Frank Mannarino, Senior Vice President of EPCOR Water Services. “Together, your efforts saved more than 100 million litres of water, which helped us keep the water system running while we made critical repairs at one of Edmonton’s two water treatment plants. Every drop helped.”

“We know that for many residents and businesses there was a significant impact, particularly for those who had to reduce or halt operations,” Mannarino said. “I would like to express our deep appreciation to the owners and workers at affected businesses, including car washes, laundromats, and many of our largest water customers, and hope that all residents will support these businesses going forward.”

Residents, business owners, large water users, and regional partners worked together to conserve water this week. Cumulative water consumption since the restrictions were announced has been about 109 million litres lower than typical levels, and included collaboration on significant reductions by the largest water customers in Edmonton and by regional customers who represent more than 90 municipalities.

The conservation efforts, combined with the restoration of partial pumping capacity at E.L. Smith within 24-hours of the initial incident, helped ensure that Edmonton and the region remained supplied with essential water services throughout the incident, and that there was no interruption to fire protection and drinking water services.

The restrictions on non-essential water use were implemented as part of EPCOR’s emergency management plans following an outage in the electrical system inside the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant. The electrical system powers the four pumps that move potable water from the plant into the distribution network. The activities involved in the repairs are described in the attached backgrounder.

In addition to public communications, more than 300 businesses with high water usage and non-essential operations were directly contacted by EPCOR team members, and EPCOR met with many of the region’s largest water customers from industries such as brewing, manufacturing and animal processing as they adapted their operations.

EPCOR’s people continued to apply their technology and resources to ensuring water quality throughout the emergency, continuing to provide clean, safe drinking water.

EPCOR will be reviewing the outage experienced at the plant, including an assessment of the demand management measures taken and plans to provide an initial update to Edmonton’s Utility Committee on March 4, 2024.


UPDATED 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30.


EPCOR expects its ban on non-essential water use to extend until midday Sunday, Feb. 4. In a release late Tuesday afternoon, EPCOR said it had determined the likely cause of the distribution pumping equipment system failure and that once the repairs have been completed, time will be needed to replenish the reservoir system before water restrictions can be lifted.

Plant work is currently focused on repairing the electrical feed system to the 4000-horsepower water distribution pumps that feed the reservoir system. EPCOR will replace major electric cables within the treatment plant’s electrical system. E.L. Smith Plant’s system has four pumps, two of which have been temporarily restored and are in operation; however, the largest two pumps are still unavailable due to the electrical issue.

EPCOR says it will take several days to replenish reservoirs once the plant’s full pumping capacity has been restored.

Regional water restrictions and the ban that followed resulted in a drop in consumption on Monday, January 29, from an average of 370 million litres per day to 340 million litres per day. EPCOR has seen lower consumption on Tuesday.

Residents are asked to help reduce consumption by:

  • Defer laundry or large uses of water such as filling hot tubs
  • Use a small amount of dishes and wash them as efficiently as possible
  • Take short showers rather than baths
  • Don’t run the water when brushing your teeth
  • Discontinue flooding backyard ice rinks.

Tuesday morning’s original article is below

The mandatory ban on non-essential water use for Edmonton and Capital Region residents and businesses, including those in Morinville, continues for a second day.

EPCOR announced Tuesday morning that repairs at E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant are still ongoing and that a timeline for the full repair is not currently available.

As such, calls for residents and businesses to comply with the mandatory ban on non-essential water use are still in effect. Yesterday’s request has resulted in a noticeable reduction in water consumption.

EPCOR said there continues to be no impact on the quality of the drinking water, and they continue to apply their technology and resources to ensure water quality remains safe.

A more detailed update is planned for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30.

MorinvilleNews.com will provide those details when available.

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