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April 10, 2000
City's Water Supply Works Overtime to Help Firefighters
  
Works and Emergency Services - The demand on the city's water supply increased
as it provided water to fight the five-alarm fire at a Scarborough industrial
plant yesterday and this morning. The fire at the U.S.E. Hickson Products plant
is now under control and water demand has returned to normal. At the height of
the fire, adjustments were made to the local water distribution system in order
to ensure a steady stream of water to the fire area.

During this period of adjustment, some residents in the area of the fire,
Wallsend Drive, near Lawrence Avenue East and Kingston Road, experienced rusty
tap water. This is a normal result of the increased flow in the water pipes
supplying water to fight a fire. The high volume of water rushing through the
pipes can dislodge rust particles in the pipes and lead to murky or rusty tap
water. It is not a health concern and the tap water has now returned to
normal. As a precaution, the city's Water Quality Unit sampled the water
supply from the area and performed bacteriological tests.

The volume of water needed to fight the fire also resulted in water runoff
escaping from the site and flowing into Highland Creek and on to Lake Ontario.
City staff are checking and monitoring water quality for any impact relating to
the fire water runoff. Booms downstream of the fire were put in place to
prevent floatable contaminants from reaching the lake. Philips Environmental
was called in to help pump the contaminated water into tankers and take it to
their plant for treatment.

"We do not expect that there will be any impact on the drinking water produced
at the city's closest water treatment plant," said Mike Price, General Manager,
Water and Wastewater Services Division. "The F.J. Horgan Water Treatment
Plant's in-take pipe is 2.9 kilometres away from the shore and 20 metres deep.
However, as a precaution, the quality of the water entering the plant is being
monitored."


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