Water

Water Quality

The water that we consume comes from the South Saskatchewan River and is treated by the City's Water Treatment Plant. Water samples are taken regularly throughout the distribution system to ensure the highest water quality.

Is there fluoride in my drinking water?

The Water Treatment Plant does not add fluoride to the water during the treatment process.

Is there chlorine in my drinking water?

The average amount of residual chlorine in the distribution system is between 0.5 – 0.8 mg/L. Chlorine levels will vary depending on the time of year and quality of the water coming in from the South Saskatchewan River.

Is there lead in my drinking water?

Lead levels are undetectable in water samples collected from various sites around the city.

Lead may be present in your tap water from household plumbing systems containing lead; solder, brass fittings or the service connections to your home. If you live in an older home you know contains lead piping or fixtures containing lead, you may wish to run the cold tap water for a few minutes to rid standing water before drinking or cooking.

Lead is the most common of the heavy elements and is widely distributed throughout the environment. It has traditionally been used in plumbing fittings, lead acid batteries, chemicals, paints and solder.

These uses are decreasing due to the Canadian and US governments introduction of policies and regulations to reduce lead content in these products.

Water Flushing

Cast iron water lines will naturally corrode over time, resulting in build up on the pipe and particles settling in the water system. The City has two types of flushing programs to improve your neighborhood's water quality. These run each year between April and October.


Unidirectional Flushing

Requires certain valves to be opened and closed prior to flushing water from a hydrant. This directs the water in a specific direction thus forcing water through the main to clear it of particles and sediment. Water quality and turbidity is measured. During this process, water main valves are checked to ensure they are in proper working order.

Current Operations

Field Operators are currently working in: Zone 31

Next area: Zone 27

View Zone Map


Hydrant inspections

Water is flushed from the hydrants as they are routinely inspected for repairs or maintenance.

Current Operations

We are currently winding down routine hydrant inspections for the season. Specific zone information is currently unavailable.

View Zone Map

Are the particles being flushed unhealthy?

These particles are typically made up of rust and metals and will not affect your health. They are more of an aesthetic concern affecting colour, taste and smell.

How does flushing work?

The City has two types of flushing programs.

Unidirectional Flushing

Requires certain valves to be opened and closed prior to flushing water from a hydrant. This directs the water in a specific direction thus forcing water through the main to clear it of particles and sediment. Water quality and turbidity is measured. During this process, water main valves are checked to ensure they are in proper working order.


Hydrant inspections

Water is flushed from the hydrants as they are routinely inspected for repairs or maintenance.

What happens during the flushing process?

Customers may experience fluctuations in water pressure and/or dirty water. This is due to the valves being closed and the large flow of water from the hydrants. If you open a tap while the hydrant is being flushed, the sediments or particles may be pulled into your internal water lines. Neighboring streets may also be affected with low pressure or dirty water for the duration that we are working in a specific zone.

If possible, avoid using water when a hydrant is being flushed. This will minimize the dirty water from being drawn into the home or business. Once flushing is completed, clean any strainers or filters on your internal plumbing, run your cold water taps or turn on an outside hose to clear the internal lines, and run the cold water for about 15 minutes or until the water runs clear. Verify that the water is clear before using it - do not do laundry until the water is clear. If dirty water or low pressure continues for over 3 hours, please call us at 403-529-8176.

How often does flushing need to occur?

Ideally, the water system is flushed once per year however based on the size of the city and work zones, certain zones may not get flushed each year. There are also certain areas of the city that require additional or more frequent flushing.

Water Services

Water meters

Water meters are mandatory in Medicine Hat. The City of Medicine Hat supplies a water meter for all new building starts, however depending on the size of water meter required there may be a fee applied to the utility account for the asset.

The City repairs and replaces water meters as necessary and will provide accuracy checks and testing of water meters as required. In 2014, the City of Medicine Hat became the first municipality to combine water, gas and electrical metering into one collections system.

Call us at 403-529-8176 to schedule an appointment for installation or repair on a water meter. Please note that during the winter months, water meters will not be installed unless there is heat in the building. Missed appointments for water meter related services are subject to a fee for “Non attendance after appointment has been schedule” in accordance with Water Service Bylaw #2379.

Services boxes and valves

The service box and curb stop valve is a City owned asset located on the main water service line to your property. The curb stop valve is inside the service box at the property line, often located in the front of the property. The service box must only be operated by Environmental Utilities field operators.

During the Spring thaw the service box cap can begin to rise up out of the ground, which can become a hazard. Please call 403-529-8176 to have a field operator lower the service box at no charge.

Water supply connection

If the water needs to be shut off for repairs or if you are away during the winter months, contact us at 403-529-8176 to schedule an appointment.

Water emergencies, such as no water or a possible water leak, can be reported by calling the 24 hour emergency line at 403-502-8042.

Water line locates

If you are planning to dig or excavate the round in any way, it is your responsibility to submit a locate request before you dig.

Line Locates

Water quality testing

To ensure that the City's water is safe and meets acceptable standards, our field operators collect drinking water samples throughout each week from approximately 32 locations in the water distribution network. Over the course of a year, approximately 1,664 water samples are collected and tested for micro-biological, organic and inorganic contaminants which may affect the health of water users. Water samples are tested both at the Water Treatment Plant and at the Provincial Lab.

The vast majority of samples that are taken are negative or absent of bacteria, however if there is evidence of bacteria, the system is flushed and re-chlorinated. Further samples are taken to ensure the bacteria have been eliminated and that the water is safe to use.

Bulk water station

The City provides a bulk water filling station to customers who obtain a permit. The Bulk Water Fill Station is located at 1257 Brier Park Way NW.

To obtain a permit for use or for more information, contact us at 403-529-8176. Please be prepared to provide a copy of your current valid business license, company billing information, current fleet information as well as the purpose for water usage.

Hydrant meter box rental

During the warm months from spring through to the fall, we rent City fire hydrants to construction companies for use on projects that require large amounts of water. To obtain a permit for hydrant rental or for more information please contact us at 403-529-8176. Please be prepared to provide a valid Accounts Receivable number, company billing information and the purpose for water usage when completing the application.

Water Treatment Plant

General info

Located on the same lot as the Power Plant and originally constructed in 1912, the City of Medicine Hat Water Treatment Plant has had numerous upgrades and expansions to accommodate new technology and forecasted water demand until the year 2025. You can find the Water Treatment Plant at 1502 Power House Road SW alongside the South Saskatchewan River.

The Water Treatment Plant is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Through the use of sophisticated control systems and advanced instrumentation, the Water Treatment Plant ensures that every drop of water sent to our customers is 100% safe, 100% of the time. Dedicated and highly trained experts in the field continuously monitor and optimize the plant to ensure that the citizens of Medicine Hat receive the highest quality water.

Currently, the Water Treatment Plant is rated for a maximum output of 160 million litres of water per day, however in practice the maximum output is considered to be approximately 125 million litres per day to maintain high quality potable water.

During the winter months, the average plant effluent (discharge) is in the range of 25-30 million litres per day, whereas during the summer months this will increase to approximately 75-125 million litres per day. Essentially, as the outdoor temperature increases so does the demand for water typically used for sprinkler systems, outdoor pools etc.

History of the water treatment plant

1912

Marks the initial construction of the Medicine Hat Power and Pumping Station. This structure, referred to as “1 Plant”, is still part of the facility today although it has been decommissioned.

Mid 1950's

Solids Contact Unit #1 and two new filter beds installed in “2 Plant”

Early – Mid 1970's

Two additional Solids Contact Units, #2 and #3, constructed along with six additional filter beds in “2 Plant” and “3 Plant”

Early 1980's

  • Modifications made to the electrical system
  • Increased chlorination capacity of plant
  • First computer was introduced (Leeds and Northrup)
  • Additional pumps installed to meet increasing water demands within the city

1995

  • New plant, “4 Plant”, constructed with design capacity of 74 million litres per day
  • Additional Solids Contact Unit #4 with 6 modern dual media filter beds
  • 5 vertical turbine pumps
  • 6 million litre clearwell system
  • Upgraded and additional chemical feed systems
  • State of the art instrumentation and automation systems
  • Upgraded all existing filters

2008

  • “5 Plant” constructed with design capacity of 74 million litres per day
  • Additional Solids Contact Unit #5 installed with 6 additional dual media filter beds
  • New UV disinfection system installed in former secondary clearwell
  • Additional 3.2 million litre clearwell built in 5 Plant

2014

  • 3 de-chlorination/residuals handling tanks and a raised road overland flood prevention berm constructed
  • Sodium Bisulphate injection system to de-chlorinate the water that is returned to the South Saskatchewan River

Plans for future upgrades include a treatment facility for solids process wastes generated during the water treatment process. Process wastes are currently discharged back into the river so this pre-treatment process is considered to be an essential component as regulated by Alberta Environment and Parks as well as for the long term sustainability and protection of the South Saskatchewan River Basin.


Frequently Asked Questions

Average water consumption for a home in Medicine Hat

Water consumption depends on how much water is used by each person in the house, and whether there is a yard to water in the summer. A house with one person may only use 5-20 cubic metres of water per month depending on the season. Water conservation is the best way to minimize the water consumption in your home.

Hardness of water in Medicine Hat

Water hardness depends on the level of naturally occurring calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water is most often noticed when a build up of scale begins to form near faucets.

Water hardness levels will vary, but 150-240 mg/L or 8.7-14 grains is the average in Medicine Hat. The water in Medicine Hat is classified as “moderate” for hardness.

Water softeners

Softened water allows soap to form suds easily, does not build up scale in boilers or hot water heaters, and does not leave large mineral deposits on plumbing fixtures, glass shower/tub doors and cooking utensils.

Water softeners require maintenance to ensure they are performing properly. A broken water can cause lower pressure and reduced water quality and should be unplugged or bypassed until fixed.

Water pressure

Water pressure will always fluctuate, but the average ranges between 50-60psi. Note that there may be areas in the city where the water pressure is lower or higher. The pressure in your home or business is also dependent on the size of the water service coming in from the water main.

Water temperature

The temperature of the water in the distribution system varies from 1-24 degrees Celsius through the seasons.