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Water Today Title November 24, 2017

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Are 200,000 people in the municipality of Gatineau under boil water advisory or not? - Gatineau, QC - 9/1/12

Water Today Staff

The Quebec Ministry of Environment, Parks and Sustainable Development publishes a list of all boil water advisories across the province. The information is divided into 17 administrative regions, Outaouais being one of them. In Quebec, it is the responsibility of each municipal or non-municipal waterwork operator to test the water on a regular basis and advise the Quebec Ministry of Environment and the regional Public Health Director of any adverse test results.

For several months now, Quebec's Outaouais administrative region has listed boil water advisories in Aylmer and Hull, with an advisory in Gatineau added in August.

Hull (pop. 66,650) since November 2011 ; Aylmer (pop. 29,100) since May 5,2012 and Gatineau(pop. 105,234) since August 15 2012.

It seemed odd that BWAs affecting over 200,000 people would go unnoticed in the media.
Particularly since a water advisory posted on June 19, 2012 for Aylmer, due to a water main construction job, was widely reported in the news. (though according to our records it was never posted on the Quebec site before it was lifted). Also, our Drink App partners at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper pointed out a discrepancy between Gatineau's Twitter BWA information and the advisory information on the provincial website.

We decided it was time to look into this further.

Our reporter Sean Aylward, who by the way lives in Gatineau/Hull, called the Gatineau's Public Works Department. Someone called Luc picked up the call, and without any hesitation, said that there were no boil water advisories in the Gatineau area; When pressed further he added 'I don’t care what it [the Quebec website] says, I work for the city and I would know.'

Another call was put in to Quebec's regional Outaouais office. A very polite Daniele explained that the BWAs just probably hadn't been removed. She would call and confirm but could only get back to us on Tuesday at the earliest, because of the long weekend. Are we to believe that someone just omitted to remove a bwa that was posted 10 months ago?

Are 200,00 people drinking unsafe water or are we dealing with seriously gflawed reporting?

We await.

Gatineau is a city in western Quebec, Canada. It is the fourth largest city in the province. It is located on the northern banks of the Ottawa River, immediately across from Ottawa, Ontario, and together they form Canada's National Capital Region. As of 2011 Gatineau had a population of 265,349, and a metropolitan population of 314,501.

As part of the 2000–2006 municipal reorganization in Quebec, the five municipalities that constituted the Communauté urbaine de l'Outaouais were merged on January 1, 2002 to constitute the new city of Gatineau. They were: Aylmer, Buckingham, Gatineau, Hull, Masson-Angers. - Wikipedia

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