September 15, 2023
At approximately 11:10pm on August 23, 2023, operations staff at the Union Water Supply System (UWSS) Ruthven Water Treatment Plant (RWTP) noted a power interruption due to a passing thunderstorm that resulted in loss of communication between the master computer controls at the treatment plant and the off-site water system components, including the 4 UWSS water towers. At the time of the loss of communications, operations staff followed standard operating protocol and recorded the water levels within the water towers. The water level within the Kingsville water tower was recorded at approximately 85% of its maximum operating level at that time.
At approximately 4:10am on August 24th, 2023, operations staff at the RWTP treatment plant received calls from residents near downtown Kingsville indicated that they had no water pressure. Maintenance staff were dispatched to the Kingsville Water Tower to investigate the situation and noted that the Kingsville Water Tower was empty and low water pressure was noted for the portion of the Kingsville water distribution system that is supplied the Kingsville Water Tower. The control valve for the Kingsville Water Tower was manually switched to allow RTWP system to directly supply the affected distribution system.
Due to the low water pressure observed, RWTP operations staff consulted with Town of Kingsville staff and Windsor-Essex County Health Unit Staff and a precautionary boil water advisory was issued at approximately 10:55am, August 24th, 2023 for the affected water distribution system. The boil water advisory was lifted by the WECHU late afternoon of August 25th, 2023.
Further investigation into the unexpected drainage of the Kingsville Water Tower and associated loss of water pressure in the early morning of August 24th, 2023, indicates that water driven sump pumps in residences within the affected area were likely a major contributor to the draining of the Kingsville Water Tower.
UWSS is licensed under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2022 as a municipal drinking water system. It is UWSS’ responsibility, in conjunction with its accredited operations and maintenance contractor to ensure that clean and safe drinking water is delivered to residents and businesses in Leamington, Kingsville and parts of Essex and Lakeshore.
However, loss of water pressure within portion of a drinking water system is a common occurrence and can be caused by a number of issues including watermain breaks, pump failures, valve issues, etc. These events cannot be predicted or controlled. As such, UWSS cannot guarantee there will be always be an adequate supply of water or adequate water pressure within the drinking water system to ensure functionality of water powered back-up sump pumps.
For further information on the UWSS or to contact us, please visit our website at www.unionwater.ca.