Fire at the Wheatley Water Treatment Plant, September 13, 2023.

With the Wheatley Water Treatment Plant out of commission for the foreseeable future due to fire damage, municipal officials are implementing several measures to ensure the water supply is sustainable.

Chatham-Kent’s Public Utilities Commission said experts are currently in the process of identifying equipment at the plant that needs to be repaired or replaced.

“We have removed a couple of the pumping motors. They’ve been taken out, inspected and repaired,” said PUC General Manager Tim Sunderland. “As they identify what can be removed and repaired or replaced then we work with those mechanics to get that done.”

Sunderland said the PUC has also acquired two mobile water treatment plants that are about the size of a flatbed trailer. He said those are expected to arrive in late December 2023 or early January 2024.

In addition, a diesel pump will be used to help supply the water from the reservoir into the distribution system.

Sunderland said these measures will help to ensure the PUC can meet the expected water demand in the spring and summer.

In the meantime, water continues to be supplied to the Tilbury and Wheatley areas through interconnects with Leamington and south Chatham.

“Those interconnects are doing what they’re supposed to do and the water is being supplied to the area through those,” said Sunderland.

A fire caused significant damage to the Wheatley Water Treatment Plant on September 13, resulting in a boil water advisory being issued for residents in Wheatley in Tilbury. The advisory remained in effect for three weeks before being lifted in early October.