On Monday, City Manager Peter Troedsson told the council Albany had 22 days worth of chlorine left. That sounded ominous for the water supply, but since then the outlook has greatly improved.
I asked Kristin Preston, the city’s public works operations manager, if she had any updates on the regional chlorine shortage, which developed last week after a production breakdown at a plant in Washington state.
“Yes, I have updates and things look very promising,” she told me Thursday afternoon. “We are expecting a full load of chlorine tomorrow that will be split between our water and wastewater plants and another split load next Thursday (July 1).”
Preston was able to pass along more good news: “We also learned today that the Westlake facility in Longview successfully installed the replacement electrical transformer, and safely restarted the facility yesterday. There will be a lag between startup and returning to normal supply to the region, but given our current supply, expected shipments, and this news of production startup, I think we are in good shape.”
The city had asked people to conserve water in order to stretch the supply of the chlorine compound used to disinfect the domestic supply as well as treated wastewater before it is discharged. I wondered how that appeal was working out.
Demand for city water has been high because of the dry spring and hot weather, and Preston wrote: “It’s difficult to know to what degree people may be conserving water given these other factors that result in increased water usage. Regardless of this chlorine supply issue, we continue to promote water conservation when possible, which is a good practice that will save you money and conserve our resources.”
As you may have heard, there’s a big heat wave forecast for this weekend. All the more reason to be prudent with our water, which comes to us from the South Santiam and Santiam rivers. Prudent means using what we need but not wasting a drop. (hh)