Potato wash plant back in business

Mike Carson newsroom@journalpioneer.com
Published on August 2, 2014
Chris Wall points to heavily silted water coming from the RWL Holdings Ltd. potato wash plant in Travellers Rest. Wall has been complaining to the P.E.I. Department of Environment since May over the state of the water leaving the plant and ending up in the Barbara Weit River.

TRAVELLERS REST – Work has resumed at the RWL Holdings Ltd. potato wash facility in Travellers Rest.

The company was advised by the Department of Environment last Friday morning to stop all releases of wastewater from the property. The water stopped flowing by late morning.

RWL Holdings Ltd. was required to put a plan in place to deal with the water issue, and have it approved by the department.

“Over the last two months, too much silt laden wash was being generated at the operation,” the department said when it shut down the operation.

On Friday, Wayne MacKinnon, senior communications officer for the P.E.I. Department of Environment said RWL Holdings was back in operation.

“They’re fully recirculating all of their water,” MacKinnon said. “Rather than pump it out into the lagoon, they’re putting it into honey wagons (a type of pump truck) and spreading it on fields.”

MacKinnon said this will eliminate one of the major concerns of wastewater runoff finding its way into the Barbara Weit River.

Local resident, Chris Wall, raised the issue with the department early in May, complaining that the company was only recirculating 40 per cent of its water flow and allowing the rest to be piped out and into the headwaters of the Barbara Weit River.

MacKinnon said the changes in the operation have dealt with both of those issues.

“They have a couple of weeks work for a major customer,” he said. “After that is done and before the next potato season, they’re going to shut the plant down and retool it so there will not be any issues at all in the future.”