Emo tapped for winter water supply

Freeze up could spell disaster for Emo’s water supply and that has council there looking at its options tonight to nip the problem before winter hits.
Any decision could depend on the price tag the solution comes with. But with freeze up normally in November, the municipality is hoping to do something fast.
Keith Paterson, manager of the water treatment plant at Emo, said the water was only two inches above the intake pipe as of yesterday, adding Rainy River was only 39 inches deep where the pipe was.
“We don’t have room for ice,” he warned.
But in conversations with the International Joint Commission, Paterson said there were no plans to increase the outflow from Rainy Lake in an effort to bring the water level of the river up.
The IJC had issued a supplementary order back in August to reduce the outflow from Rainy Lake to 63.7 cubic metres per second in an effort to slow down the steadily dropping water level–already well below the minimum rule curve–there.
As reported in the Times on Sept. 16, however, the outflow had to be bumped back up to 75 cubic metres per second after a reduction to 70 cubic metres per second was found to be too little to sustain Emo’s water supply.
“We’re trying to get a little ahead of the game,” Paterson said of the current situation, noting they also risked ice chunks getting jammed in the intake pipe. “We’re going to have to come up with a solution.
“I would imagine it’s going to take a week or so to come up with [a plan],” he added. “The sooner, the better.”
Ideally, Paterson said he’d like to see the three-foot diameter, cone shaped intake–which hitches on to the 12-inch diameter inflow pipe–at least two feet below the water line.
< *c>Scrambling
But it isn’t only those on the river who are having problems. People with homes on the lake also are scrambling to get their water lines set for winter.
Robin Roper, a partner at the Northern Do-it center here who lives on the lake himself, said the store was fielding calls daily from lake residents asking what they could do to ensure a winter water supply.
Callers also were looking for filtration systems to improve the water quality.
Roper estimated about 75 percent of the people who rely on the lake for water were extending their lines by as much as 200 feet.
“A lot of them are asking for advice. It’s really a big concern,” he said yesterday, estimating it was running people anywhere from $1,000 to extend the line up to $6,000-$10,000 if they opted to drill a well.
“Some people are looking at doing water storage tanks for inside,” he added.
“We can give as much advice as possible but time is running out,” Roper warned. “By winter, there’s going to be a lot of people without water if they don’t do something.”
Rick Walden, engineering advisor with the IJC, could not be reached for comment.