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2011 Winnipeg distribution system water quality test results

Image of water running out of a tapThe Winnipeg distribution system is the last location where we add chlorine to the water - at the outlet from each of the three pumping stations. The other locations are at the Shoal Lake intake on a periodic basis and at the Water Treatment Plant.

Our Operating Licence requires that we maintain a minimum free chlorine residual of 0.1 milligrams per litre throughout the distribution system.

Testing

Winnipeg water is intensively monitored on a routine basis at Shoal Lake, before it enters the Water Treatment Plant and after the water has passed through the treatment processes to ensure that the water is safe and that regulatory requirements are met. Because water quality is so important, our level of monitoring and sampling exceeds Provincial regulatory requirements.

  • We monitor chlorine at the places where it is added, and at 39 sites throughout the distribution system. Equipment is used to continuously monitor chlorine levels at the pumping stations and the distribution system levels are checked on a weekly basis.
  • Microbiological samples are taken weekly at over 60 locations throughout the system. Tests are conducted for Escherichia coli and total coliform bacteria according to Provincial regulations. We also test for Heterotrophic plate count which is not required under the new Provincial regulations but can be useful to identify potential problem areas within the distribution system.

We also test Winnipeg distribution system water for:

  • routine water chemistry
  • metals (analyzed both by us and the Province)
  • disinfection by-products

We measure how water quality changes within the distribution system and the quality of water delivered to customers with these tests. We also respond to customer inquiries and complaints about water quality. Contact us for more information.

What is being measured How it's measured Guideline or regulation Winnipeg average Winnipeg range Comments
Odour 1 †units Inoffensive 32 25 to 50 Normally meets the guideline
Chlorophyll-a 1 parts per billion no guideline <1 <1 to <1 †Chlorophyll is found in algae†
Turbidity (clearness) 2 NTU no guideline 0.26 0.13 to 1.7 -
Colour, True 3 TCU no more than 15 2.0 0.5 to 10 Meets the guideline
pH 2 †units between 6.5 and 8.5 7.47 7.16 to 7.83 Meets the guideline
Temperature 2 degrees Celcius no more than 15 11.1 2.1 to 25.6 Does not always meet the guideline
Total Alkalinity 3 parts per million as calcium carbonate no guideline 68 57 to 78 -
Total Hardness 3 parts per million as calcium carbonate between 80 and 100 80 71 to 87 Does not always meet the guideline
Fluoride * 3 parts per million no more than 1.5 0.72 0.57 to 0.88 Meets the guideline
Soluble Phosphate 3 parts per million as phosphorus no guideline 1.98 1.87 to 2.11 Added for Lead Control Program
Chloride 3 parts per million no more than 250 19 16 to 23 Meets the guideline
Sulphate 3 parts per million no more than 500 52 44 to 60 Meets the guideline
Chlorine (free) 2 parts per million Operating Licence – minimum 0.10 0.56 0.06 to 1.32 Usually meets the Operating Licence
Chlorine (total) 2 parts per million no guideline 0.76 0.13 to 1.46 -
Trihalomethanes 4 parts per billion no more than 100 33 10.3 to 61.1 Meets the guideline
Bromodichloromethane 4 parts per billion no more than 16 5 1.8 to 9.4 Meets the guideline
Haloacetic acids 4 parts per billion no more than 80 25 7 to 45 Meets the guideline
Aldehydes 4 parts per billion no guideline 23 9 to 35 -
Calcium 4 parts per million no guideline 21.1 18.2 to 23.9 Contributes to hardness
Magnesium 4 parts per million no guideline 6.1 4.9 to 6.9 Contributes to hardness
Sodium 4 parts per million no more than 200 34.6 27.7 to 38.7 Meets the guideline
Potassium 4 parts per million no guideline 1.2 0.9 to 1.4 -
Iron 4 parts per million no more than 0.3 0.08 0.04 to 0.14 Meets the guideline
Copper 4 parts per million no more than 1.0 0.067 0.018 to 0.181 Meets the guideline
Lead 4 parts per million no more than 0.01 <0.001 <0.001 to <0.001 Meets the guideline
Aluminum 4 parts per million no more than 0.1 0.005 <0.001 to 0.039 Meets the guideline
Arsenic 4 parts per million no more than 0.01 <0.001 <0.001 to <0.001 Meets the guideline
Chromium 4 parts per million no more than 0.05 0.002 <0.001 to 0.002 Meets the guideline
Nickel 4 parts per million no guideline 0.002 0.002 to 0.004 -
Cadmium 4 parts per million no more than 0.005 <0.001 <0.001 to <0.001 Meets the guideline
Manganese 4 parts per million no more than 0.05 0.025 0.018 to 0.068 Does not always meet the guideline
Zinc 4 parts per million no more than 5.0 0.001 <0.001 to 0.012 Meets the guideline
Mercury 4 parts per million no more than 0.001 <0.000001 <0.000001 to <0.000001 Meets the guideline
Antimony 4 parts per million no more than 0.006 <0.001 <0.001 to <0.001 Meets the guideline
Boron 4 parts per million no more than 5 0.011 0.009 to 0.016 Meets the guideline
Uranium 4 parts per million no more than 0.02 <0.001 <0.001 to <0.001 Meets the guideline
Zirconium 4 parts per million no guideline <0.001 <0.001 to <0.001 -

Guidelines from 'Summary of Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality' by Health Canada,
revised February 1, 2012

* Fluoride was added in accordance with the Provincial Fluoridation Program guideline to reach an optimal concentration of 0.85 parts per million until March 22, 2011 and 0.70 parts per million after that when the set point was changed.

1 Data reported was collected from MacLean, Hurst, and McPhillips Pumping Station Discharges.

2 Data reported was collected from 39 distribution system locations.

3 Data reported was collected from a composite sample of the 60 distribution system locations and MacLean, Hurst, and McPhillips Pumping Station Discharges.

4 Data reported was collected from 6 distribution system locations.

Bacterial testing

What is being measured Guideline Our test results Comments
Number of total coliform bacteria tests in year 1820 samples 2,964 More testing than required by the guideline/provincial regulation
Number of times that total coliform bacteria show up in a test no more than 10% of samples with positive total coliform or no consecutive positives from the same site. 0.64%
(19 positive tests)
All resamples were negative and met the guideline/provincial regulation
Number of Escherichia coli bacteria tests in year 1820 samples 2,964 More testing than required by the guideline/provincial regulation
Number of times that Escherichia coli bacteria show up in a test no bacteria present in the sample †0.03%
(1 positive test)
The resample was negative and met the guideline/provincial regulation
Number of heterotrophic (bacteria) plate count (HPC) tests done no guideline 2,964 Heterotrophic plate count is not required under the provincial regulations.

Guidelines from 'Summary of Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality' by Health Canada,
revised February 1, 2012

Data reported was collected from 60 distribution system locations and MacLean, Hurst, and McPhillips Pumping Station Discharges

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Last updated: October 4, 2018

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