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Water Today Title November 18, 2019

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Advisory of the Day


2019/11/1


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Pure Element

SHERRIDON MB: SYSTEM FAIL AT COMMISSIONING RESULTS IN BWA, UNRESOLVED SINCE 2010



The unincorporated northern community of Sherridon, Manitoba has been without safe drinking water, under a boil water advisory classified as “medium term” by Northern Health Authority, since October 1, 2010.

According to the Manitoba guidelines for potable water, as published on Manitoba government website, Medium-term advisories are issued for systems when “steps are being taken to address the advisory within a two to three year period. The majority of advisories in this category are issued due to minor treatment problems that require the installation of basic treatment equipment.”

The ten million dollar water treatment plant failed to pass water quality standard tests for chlorine residual as measured at the end of the distribution line, on the very day of the plant’s commissioning in 2010. Disappointed community members have been boiling water and buying bottled water ever since.

Wendy Vacheresse has been 17 years as the Chief Administrative Officer for the village, which is funded by Manitoba Indigenous and Northern Affairs. She spoke with WaterToday by phone from her office in Sherridon, explaining that the sand filtration treatment system design was inadequate to supply the community draw, just over 40 households at the time. “We were approved for an expansion, but the change of government four years ago cut the budget” and canceled the approved expansion. “Our application has been blocked. We keep applying, but it never goes anywhere, “ Vacheresse says.

“The whole community is like this, having to buy water.” Sherridon is located along the Keewatin railway 156 kilometres north of The Pas. Vacheresse says she fills a shopping cart with flats of bottled water on each trip south, sometimes drawing comments from store staff. “We get no compensation, no help. We are left on our own to deal with it. It’s a three-hour round trip for us, to get bottled water. We have no store”, says Vacheresse, hoping the water plant expansion will get a green light soon.

gillian@watertoday.ca







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