Groundbreaking took place in October for a new building to house the Walkerton Clean Water Centre.
The centre provides hands-on training for operators and owners of drinking water systems, but with a special focus on those from remote areas. Its existence is a result of the Walkerton tragedy, which saw seven die and 2,000 become ill after the small rural town’s water supply became contaminated with E-Coli 0157:H7. Among the recommendations made by the public inquiry which followed that tragedy was one to establish a new clean water centre.
The centre has already trained more than 12,000 drinking water professionals, and offers three mandatory training courses and 24 specialized courses across the province.
Now the centre will operate have its own permanent training building located in Walkerton’s East Ridge Business Park. The new centre is 1,780 square metres in size, containing training rooms and offices, and a technical demonstration facility with a state-of-the-art pilot plant, advanced technologies and a distribution system.
The architects of the building are Totten Sims Hubicki Associates (1997) (now part of AECOM). Enermodal Engineering was the LEED consultant.
Dr. Saad Jasim, P.Eng., chief executive officer of the centre, said: “The centre is innovative in all aspects. The opening of the new permanent location will allow it to continue to grow as a leader in research and capacity building in safe drinking water management.”
The building will have many green features including a highly insulated envelope, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, and a roofing material with high solar reflectance. Roof rain and stormwater will be collected and used in toilets and for landscape irrigation. The centre is due to be open in the fall of 2009.
In the fight to control the potentially lethal contaminant E-Coli 0157:H7, a new vaccine has been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection. The Econiche vaccine by Bioniche Life Sciences of Belleville, Ontario is intended to be administered to beef and dairy cattle, by whom the pathogen is spread.