The cost of clean water rises –

The cost for the city to provide drinkable water is going up; another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Covering city council often offers an insight into the inner workings of city operations; the daily grind that goes into maintaining a city of 16,000. Such as in this case, where a routine bit of business; the purchase of chemicals to ensure that its drinking water is safe and non-corrosive, sheds a light on consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic that seem obvious in hindsight but that maybe had never been given much thought previously.

Of the chemicals necessary to keep Swift Current residents safe: Potassium Permanganate, Activated Carbon, Liquid Fluoride, Chlorine, Caustic Soda and Liquid Alum, all but one have risen in cost for a number of reasons.

The costs for Chlorine and Caustic soda, for example, have risen 55 and 23 percent respectively in part because of the sudden demand for greater quantities of sanitation and disinfection products.

Potassium Permanganate and activated carbon both come from China and are expected to see much higher shipping costs due to the estimated 8 percent fuel surcharge, causing prices for those items to increase anywhere between 12 and 30 percent.

On average, the city’s costs for those chemicals are expected to increase by 19 percent across the board, to an estimated $569,293 from last year’s forecast of $476,493.

During Monday’s meeting, council approved the purchase of the chemicals in question to be placed into inventory and then expensed as it’s used.

The majority were tendered to Saskatchewan companies based out of Saskatoon and Regina, with the lone exception being the Activated Carbon, which was sourced from Brenntag Canada in Toronto, Ontario.

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