Burke well house upgrades

Upgrades are now complete

Burke well has undergone upgrades that will improve overall water quality and service delivery. Upgrades made also improve the reliability of the Burke well which was built in 1975. Guelph’s Water Supply Master Plan identifies Burke well as an important current and future water source. This well is one of the largest individual wells in the City, producing eight per cent (8%) of City’s water supply. The well pumps about six million litres per day; enough to supply 13,000 average Guelph households with water each day.

The updates included the following:

  • Expansion of the existing well house to accommodate additional treatment equipment (new finished area of 310 square metres from current area of 62 square metres);
  • Installation of a filter system to remove manganese and iron;
  • Construction of 350 cubic metres of water storage, an amount that would fill more than 2,000 standard bathtubs;
  • Well cleaning;
  • Replacement of the on-site emergency power generator;
  • Replacement of utility service pipes including water, wastewater and gas; and

These upgrades and maintenance activities will save the City money and prolong the life of this important City asset.

Image shows the Burke well house before construction

Burke well house before construction. Burke well is located on the north side of Arkell Road near Summerfield Drive.

Construction at the Burke well (March 2018). Work on the new foundation and contact chamber are almost completed.

Construction at the Burke well (May 2018)


About manganese in drinking water

All City drinking water is safe. Our water supply meets or outdoes all of Ontario’s Drinking Water Standards—some of the strictest in the world.

Manganese is not currently regulated as a health-related drinking water standard. Manganese has an aesthetic drinking water objective of 0.05 mg/L. Aesthetic objectives are guidelines that address substances that affect how drinking water looks, tastes or smells.

Water from Burke well does not currently meet the aesthetic objective—or guideline—for manganese. Although this water is safe to drink, homes that receive water from Burke well may see discoloured water more often than in other areas of the City. The Burke well upgrades will address this and bring aesthetic water quality in line with the objective.

Health Canada is currently reviewing manganese and may reduce the aesthetic objective and set a health standard for this metal. Water from Burke well and all other City water sources currently meets the health standard that Health Canada is proposing. This is because the current and proposed aesthetic objective for manganese is lower than the proposed health standard. An aesthetic objective may be lower than a health standard because the substance causes a noticeable aesthetic change (look, taste or smell) at concentrations lower than would cause health impacts.
3 MBView the City’s latest drinking water quality report

How the treatment system works

The treatment system will remove manganese and iron from the water supply using sodium hypochlorite and filters.
Sodium hypochlorite is a disinfectant that makes bacteria harmless and will also help remove manganese and iron in the new treatment system.
The filters include layers of anthracite and insoluble greensand to remove the iron and manganese from the water.

For more information

Karl Cober M.A.Sc., P.Eng.,
Project Manager, Water Services
519-822-1260 extension 2187