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Water Today Title November 20, 2017

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BWA of the Day

Update 2015/4/14
BWA of the day


What does it take for a tiny town in Québec to get potable water? 12 years and lots of perseverance.

"Je suis très, très, très content," says Saint-Prosper mayor, Michel Grosleau, "it has been a very long saga. I've been mayor throughout the 12 years it took to find wells with enough water to serve the community and the surrounding dairy farms, and negotiate funding with the the different levels of government to build the water system. This is quite the victory" According to Grosleau there were originally 6 private wells serving the the core community of 230 residents in Saint-Prosper; 4 surface wells and 2 underground wells; all were plagued by low pressure and yellowish water.

To make matters worse, in the wake of Walkerton, Environment Quebec issued a boil water advisory that would not be removed until the town's water system had been brought up to the provinces's drinking water regulations.

The search for new wells had started way back in 1994 but had proved unfruitful. It was not until the neighbouring town of Saint-Stanislas agreed to partner with Saint-Prosper that things started moving. Both communities are located on the same mountain, with Saint-Prosper at the bottom and Saint-Stanislas on top.

As luck would have it, two wells with sufficient water were found midway up the mountain, allowing for a greensand filtration system, which removes the iron and manganese present in the water, to be installed to serve both communities.

Each community has its own reservoir, and while Saint-Prosper can rely on gravity to bring the water down the mountain, Saint-Stanislas had to build pumping stations to get the water up to their distribution system. And the upgrades did not stop there. A wastewater system was also built to replace the private septic tanks that dotted the area. "We had to deal with the Ministry of Transport to complete that work," says Grosleau. " The town's entire main street had to be repaved and hydro poles moved, to install a water main network. It was quite the job but luckily the Transport Department paid for that part"

All in all the project cost the tiny community a whopping $20 million, and although the federal and provincial governments covered 90% of the cost, each residence will have to pay $600/year for their clean water. "The residents haven't had clean water for so long they don't really mind the cost," he says. "Besides, we had no other choice. We need development and financial institutions no longer will lend money to build in areas which don't have basic services such as water and waste water" adds Grosleau.

The work seems to have paid off. According to an October 2014 article by Radio-Canada three new houses have been built in Saint-Prosper for the first time in many years.

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