Keeping Saskatchewan’s supply of drinking water 100 percent clean isn’t easy. In fact, some cities in the province are faring badly with that task. According to Alex Coop of Estevan Mercury, Estevan’s water supply currently has had greater than normal levels of trihalomethane or THM since 2008. This is despite the fact that the city has implemented a number of water filtration methods over the past decade. It was designed to prevent such chemicals from being pumped into people’s homes. Do you have safe water?

thm levels

“Here in Saskatchewan, we definitely have a lot of water challenges, especially with surface waters.” said Helen Baulch, an assistant professor from the Global Institute of Water at the University of Saskatchewan.

She said that bodies of water in Saskatchewan, particularly surface waters, are rich in dissolved organic carbons. These increase the chances of THMs being formed throughout the filtration process.

These pieces of organic matter can range from flooded vegetation, to an annual transfer from another water body. It then enters the surface water we draw from, said Dr. Lalita Bharadwaj, an associate professor from the School of Public Health at the U of S.

Chemicals Found in Water

These chemicals are found in virtually every source of drinking water in the country. Health Canada considers THMs to be a possible carcinogen. That said, THMs are only really dangerous in excessive amounts. Households can protect themselves with water treatment services. These services can be provided by reliable Saskatoon plumbing companies, like Perfection Plumbing & Drain Cleaning Ltd. Ironically, it is the quest for safe, clean water that also caused the proliferation of THMs in Canada’s water supply in the first place.

What are THMs?

THMs are actually by-products of chlorine or bromine disinfection. They are used to eliminate pathogens in the water to make it safe for human consumption. Other by-products include chlorite, believed to cause anemia among infants. There is also trichloroacetic acid, which can cause cancer. At present, it is believed that THMs can only cause health problems if they go beyond the recommended 10 parts per billion (p.b.b.) level. This is typically found in commercially-sold drinking water. While they’re naturally occurring chemicals, THMs are also manufactured on an industrial scale as refrigerants and solvents.

An experienced plumber in Saskatoon can help protect households from THM contamination by installing a reverse osmosis system in their water supply. These systems can’t completely eliminate THMs by themselves, but their carbon filters surely can. A four-stage system is particularly reliable since the chemicals are sieved through four different types of filters and membranes.


Estevan is one of about 100 Sask. municipalities dealing with high THM levels in the water, Estevan Mercury, June 11, 2014