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Water Today Title March 22, 2018

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Advisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by Sourceia - Eco-houses

The town of Montebello, Québec on the north side of the Outaouais River issued a preventative boil water advisory on Thursday, November 23 due to a break in the water treatment system. On Saturday, November 25, the Director of Municipal Works had already lifted the advisory stating that they had conducted two water samples with normal results.

Montebello has 983 residents and is located near the Ontario border. The town is perhaps best known for its 4 star luxury hotel and resort of the same name, Fairmont le Chateau Montebello. It also brings in tourists interested in visiting the home of historic political figure Louis-Joseph Papineau, and the Amnesia Rockfest in the summer.

For a town that welcomes tourists year round, Montebello has had its fair share of water issues. The current water treatment system was built in 2008 and has had hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs since. According to Environment Quebec, the current water system serves 1240 people, which includes residents as well as visitors who stay in the resort. The town has had to issue many advisories in the past for other breaks in the system.

In 2013 The Chateau Montebello sued the municipality for the sum of 2 million dollars because of the ongoing water issues, but it dropped the suit in 2015 since it was announced the system would be replaced. The hotel has hosted the G7 Economic Summit in the past and has welcomed numerous politicians and celebrities over the years. I spoke to the Director of Communications Jennifer Wilson to see how they deal with the frequent boil water advisories.

She said "there are measures we take each time; concrete actions to make sure that employees and clients alike are safe when it comes to the water. We distribute bottled water to rooms, and there are signs in the bathrooms." She added that the kitchen staff is careful to make sure that tap water is not used in preparing any food.

A Municipal council meeting on August 21 examined bids from different contracting companies to work on upgrading the drinking water filtration plant as well as the necessary lab materials to monitor drinking water standards. Two months later, a municipal council meeting on November 20 2017 announced that the first payment had been issued to the company chosen to do the work; Nordmec. The new water treatment system will be up and running in 2018, which should put an end to the municipality’s history of water issues.

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