Asvisory of the Day
RIVERSIDE-ALBERT, NB: 25 BOIL ORDERS IN EIGHT YEARS: THE SAGA OF RIVERSIDE-ALBERT, NB
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The Village of Riverside-Albert, NB, was placed under a boil order on September 26, 2017, due to a water main break and pressure loss. Posts to the Village's Facebook page on September 26 and 27 indicate that the break was due to construction work to improve the water system in the community.
The Village has had its issues with the quality of its drinking water. According to WaterToday's records and the New Brusnwick list of past advisories, Riverside-Albert has been under a boil order 25 times since December 2009.
The same reasons for having residents boil their water kept reoccurring over the last eight years, high turbidity, chlorinator malfunction, and plant malfunctions are examples.
The village was aware of the issues and anticipates coming boil orders. In the December 8, 2014 municipal minutes, Public Works Superintendent Heather Cail said "with very heavy rainfall forecast for later this week, Village residents should once again be prepared for another boil water advisory." It also appears that the water infrastructure is heavily impacted by weather conditions.
The Village has actively worked on improving their water system and as we know construction is underway on those improvements. The available minutes of four meetings in 2017 begin to illustrate that effort.
On January 9, Cail reported "the Village had run into problems related to the acquisition of land for right of way into property planned for the water storage tower, and planning is ongoing." At that time, it was hoped that calls for construction tender would go out by the spring.
On February 9, minutes indicate the Village was in negotiations with a local nursing home for the land and had been approved for "funding under the Canada-New Brunswick Clean Water & Wastewater fund." The Village was to receive $603,971, "to renew the 100mm water mains and service laterals."
During the March meeting, it was reported that their council members had met with members of the Regional Service Commission "regarding asset management requirements," and that the pipe project was in the design stage. It was also reported that the towns rebuilt sewerage pump was once again operational.
The April 10 meeting, the last for which minutes are available, showed progress on the water storage tank, and that the "water pipe refurbishment project is in the design stage which is nearing completion." It was expected to go to tender within weeks.
Since the last available minutes, the Village has been under three boil orders, at times water levels were low, and an October 17 post to the Village's Facebook page alerted villagers to a "scheduled interruption" that was in connection with the water system improvements.
How have the advisories translated into everyday life, how do people deal with frequent interruptions?
A local area resident said that they "drank the water, the entire summer and were fine." They "did not observe any discolouration."
They suggested that the Village's hands may be tied, "treatment standards are very high and that leads to applying boil advisory after boil advisory, leaving towns like Riverside-Albert stuck in a situation if having to take on massive system upgrades, it becomes very hard to [operate]."
Other conversations we had with locals suggest that there is more than one side to this story. In eight years Riverside-Albert has had numerous technical and treatment problems, there are land lease aspects, water storage, low reservoir levels, and the need for system upgrades.
We have contacted the Village Office, they have not yet responded to our request for comment.
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