Natural Resources Minister visits Petrolia

Kathryn McGarry's visit officially opened the Mandaumin Reservoir

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Kathryn McGarry (Left) chatting with Petrolia Mayor John McCharles (middle) and Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey (right). (Travis Poland/Lambton Shield)

Ontario’s Minster of Natural Resources and Forestry Kathryn McGarry visited the Petrolia area on Friday to officially open the Mandaumin Reservoir, a critical part of the Petrolia Water Supply System, which pumps drinking water to over 11,000 residents in Petrolia, Enniskillen, Oil Springs, Dawn-Euphemia, and parts of Brooke-Alvinston and Plympton-Wyoming.

The two blue tanks replace an old concrete reservoir and fit in with neighbouring grain silos. (Travis Poland/Lambton Shield)

The two blue, glass-fused-steel tanks on Confederation Line hold 3,500 cubic metres of water each — totaling the volume of three Olympic swimming pools — effectively doubling the capacity of the old concrete reservoir that was too small and plagued by deteriorating walls.

“One of the main goals of infrastructure investment is to make our communities safer, healthier, and stronger,” said McGarry.

Petrolia Mayor John McCharles said replacing the aging concrete reservoir had been on the Town’s mind for a decade.

The original plan was to replace the old reservoir in 2021, but a 2015 inspection showed the site was worse than originally thought.

The $3.5 million replacement project was funded in part by a $2 million grant from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund (OCIF). Petrolia applied for the funding in January 2016 and needed the new reservoirs complete by the end of the year under OCIF’s rules.

CIMA+ Engineering, the firm who oversaw the project, completed the in work 12-weeks

Officials take the ‘first drink’ out of the Mandaumin Reservoir. (Travis Poland/Lambton Shield)

with help from London based K&L Construction and both new reservoirs were placed into full service on December 31. Landscaping and other site works were completed this June.

Instead of the traditional ribbon cutting, officials reopened the site by taking the “first drink” out of the reservoir.

The two tanks are better than one, according to Mike Elliott from CIMA+.

“The two tanks provide flexibility and redundancy in the Petrolia Water Supply System,” said Elliott. “In the future the Town can take one tank offline for inspection and maintenance while keeping one in service. That provides much more added security to the water supply system.”

The old reservoir was lacking a redundancy in the system rendering the Town unable to meet peak demands nor maintain emergency storage levels if it would have failed, according to a pamphlet distributed by the Town and CIMA+.

This info-graph, which was displayed on a pamphlet from the Town of Petrolia and CIMA+ Engineering, shows how water travels from the shores of Lake Huron to taps throughout central Lambton. (Travis Poland/Lambton Shield)

The glass-fused-steel tanks require less maintenance and allowed efficient construction, said Elliott

“Petrolia is a beautiful spot and I’m very happy to be here. We may take a long, slow road home today,” said McGarry.

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey was also in attendance alongside officials and Councillors from the Town of Petrolia, K&L Construction, CIMA+ Engineering, and the Ontario Clean Water Agency.

The Lambton Central Petrolia Optimist Club provided a barbecue lunch.

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