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Water Today Title November 20, 2017

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BWA of the Day



Saint-Jean-de-Matha, a rural municipality 100 km northeast of Montreal, inherited 3 private water systems over the last years, one of which has caused the municipality nothing but headaches and periodic BWAs.

"Lately whenever we get heavy rainfalls, surface water leaks into the well and contaminates the water. There must be a breach in the casing somewhere because it's happening more and more frequently," says Public Works foreman, Patrick Gravel.

"The system only serves 20 cottages," he says. "It has no chlorinator, so each time we have to add chlorine, flush out the lines and clean the well. There have also been about 22 leaks over the past years. It was built by a small developer and what he would do is tap the water from the basement of one cottage to get water to the next cottage he built", says Gravel. "At times, the leak is hard to find because it's in someone's basement."

According to Gravel, the municipality even went to court to avoid having to take over the system. But the court ruled against it and the town inherited the problem. "I'm no jurist, but I think it has something to do with a system serving more than 7 residences and the right to safe water."

Because the system in not within the municipal boundary, the responsibility for fixing it falls to the system users. "The owners would each have to pay about $20,000 to have a decent well installed and hooked up" says Gravel."None of them are ready to do this."

Because of its many lakes,rivers and falls, Saint-Jean-de-Matha (pop. 4,448) is a tourist destination. Its main claim to fame however is that it is also where Louis Cyr was proclaimed the strongest man on earth in the 19th century.

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