Wheatley Water Treatment Plant fire. (Photo via CK Fire)

Emergency costs to rehab Wheatley water plant are $1.5M and counting

Emergency expenses to rehabilitate the Wheatley Water Treatment Plant after a fire eight months ago are starting to pile up.

Chatham-Kent Public Utilities Commission (CK PUC) General Manager Darren Galbraith told the CK PUC board meeting on Thursday afternoon a total of $1.55 million has been spent so far getting the plant back on its feet. He reported $688,920 was spent up to December 2023 and another $864,821 has been spent since then.

Galbraith said all the costs will be submitted to the insurer for reimbursement and any costs not covered by the insurer will come from CK PUC's general water reserves.

Galbraith also noted PUC staff continues to find and order replacement equipment for the plant, adding it's been a "difficult and timely task."

He hopes to have the tenders to reinstall the equipment ready for contractors to bid on soon.

A blaze broke out in the plant's generator room on September 13, 2023 during regular maintenance.

CK PUC officials said at the time that the plant would be down for a year or more because a new pump would take 12-18 months to arrive. There was also significant damage to compressors and electrical wires, which must be replaced, along with several other critical plant components that were damaged in the fire.

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