On Saturday, Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff told the public that while planning was underway to restart the Picton/Bloomfield water plant, it wouldn’t actually be done until water tests proved clean and the barge was removed from Picton Bay.
In today’s update, Mayor Quaiff said water tests near the intake pipe for the municipal water supply were “extremely encouraging.”
Later in the day it was announced that a major step toward normalizing life for Picton/Bloomfield residents and others was taken. The barge has lifted and is floating normally.
However, the Picton/Bloomfield water plant on Picton Bay remains shut down and dozens of trucks are bringing water to fill reservoirs from Belleville and the Tyendinaga Territory.
The boil water advisory remains in effect as does a total ban on outdoor burning.
There will be another live update on Prince Edward County’s website at noon Sunday.
Of course, Quinte News will provide up to date information as well.
THIS IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM McKEIL MARINE, THE OWNER OF THE BARGE.
The barge which had been partially submerged near Picton all week was successfully refloated early this afternoon. After much planning, preparation and hard work, the deck of the barge is now fully out of the water.
“Through expertise and teamwork we were able to refloat the barge safely.” said Chris Kirby, Director of Project Management at McKeil Marine Limited, and Salvage Master for the Pitts Carillon Operation. “This has truly been a collaborative process and a massive team effort. Special thanks to the Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and ECRC for their support and collaboration throughout the operation.”
Operations on Friday focussed on re-positioning the barge closer to the dock and removing the two 12000-tonne spuds to make the barge lighter and easier to maneuver. An additional layer of boom was also added, encircling the barge in four layers of containment boom as a precaution.
Through Friday’s efforts, the spud on the port side was successfully removed, however the starboard spud proved extremely difficult. The team decided to proceed with re-positioning and preparing for refloating with the spud intact.
The McKeil team worked diligently into the night to prepare the barge for refloating and dewatering. To observe required hours of rest and ensure utmost safety, the operation was paused to enable the team to be well-rested for the next step in the recovery process.
The operation resumed at first light. By early afternoon, the barge was successfully refloated. Dewatering will continue until all water has been removed from the barge compartments.
The next step in the salvage process will be a comprehensive examination of the outside of the barge and all internal compartments. The results of these inspections will determine the final outcomes for the barge.
MEANWHILE, THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT HAS ISSUED AN ORDER FOR McKEIL MARINE TO HIRE QUALIFIED CONSULTANTS TO CONDUCT STUDIES NOT ONLY ON THE FUEL SPILL BUT ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF IT ON THE MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLY AND ON SHORELINE WELLS.