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Brigham, QC - Arsenic and new rules -2 - 8/15/12

The Health Canada guideline for arsenic in drinking water is established at a maximum acceptable concentration of 0.010 mg/L. As provincial governments revise their standards to match Health Canada's guideline, many small towns fall below the criteria and are areput under advisory. This is what happened to Virden, MB in July , and now Brigham, QC, a municipality located west of Cowansville and close to Bromont in the Eastern Townships. The town gets its water from underground sources and its 2,457 residents get their drinking water from wells.

On August 9, 2102, the Quebec Department of Environment posted a 'Do not consume' advisory on the water system serving the town's City Hall.

According to Brigham's Director General, Jean-Francois Grandmont, the well that feeds city Hall and its adjacent building contains levels of natural arsenic that exceed the maximum concentration allowed, since the Quebec government lowered the maximum concentration of arsenic to 0.010mg/litre on March 8, 2012.

While other residents also get their water from wells, it seems they were not put under advisory. Grandmont did not know why.

There is boil water advisory on another municipal water system in Brigham, the Solange Guay water system. This advisory has been in effect since 2006.

"This is small well system that serves 60 people," says Grandmont. "The water is untreated and total coliforms have been detected on and off over the years. We are trying to find a solution to the situation".

Brigham was founded in 1855, its name became Adamsville in 1961, in honour of George Adams, owner of the land on which the church was founded in 1873. In 1980, there was a further name-change in favour of Brigham - this time to pay homage to Erratus Oakley Brigham, owner of the town's largest business (a brick factory) throughout the mid-19th century. Brigham features two covered bridges, one of which was totally restored in 2001.

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