Today I dropped by the F.J. Horgan Water Treatment Plant which is only a short drive from my home. I was curious to see inside this facility which produces approximately 20 percent of Toronto’s drinking water. The 20th annual Doors Open Toronto event “provides an opportunity to see inside more than 150 of the most architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city” according to their web site.
I was interested in this because in recent years, Toronto has become more amenable to having photographers wander into these places without a fuss, which are otherwise normally closed to the public. Many even allow tripods, so knowing this, I took along a tripod and an on-camera flash.
The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. I learned that the plant is the newest of Toronto’s drinking water treatment facilities and is the first to use ozone (they make their own ozone year round in a process that involves liquid oxygen and high voltage). Ozone treatment eliminates odours and off-tasting water, something which had begun to creep into the system a few years ago and became noticeable in the summer months. Ozone was decided upon as the solution (as has been done in Europe before us), and it also reduces the amount of chlorine added to the filtered Lake Ontario water. Due to its unstable molecular makeup, it must be used immediately after manufacture as it only lasts about a day even under controlled conditions at room temperature.
As a member of the public, I didn’t have access to the facility the way I would have if on assignment as there were barriers up, many people about and of course I couldn’t bring in the lighting equipment I would normally have. However I was able to shoot a couple of shots I was happy with shown here. Both required fill flash from my camera at full power.