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Water Today Title November 25, 2017

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Dailies - Today in water

Update 9/29/14
Lead Contamination


You can now freely drink the water at Acadia University in Wolfville Nova Scotia, but this wasn't always the case.

Last October students, staff and faculty at the university were told not to drink the water because it was contaminated with lead. A voluntary test conducted on 350 taps and fountains at the school had found dozens that exceeded acceptable levels of the metal. At the time, taps and fountains throughout the campus bore signs warning users: "Water at this location is for hand washing only."

The problem is now fixed.

"Filters were installed last year throughout the campus," says Acadia University Executive Director, Communications and Marketing Scott Roberts. "The cafeteria system was also fitted with filters as were the residences, where the lines were also flushed. Oddly enough, some of the 100-year old buildings had no lead problems, while the newer 7-year old buildings did."

Roberts says that management decided to err on the side of caution and equip all systems with filters since specs for lead in drinking water are difficult to assess as they vary from country to country. In Canada and Europe the maximum levels of lead in water is 10 parts per billion, whereas in the US it is 15 parts per billion; however, the United States Food and Drug Administration has set the levels for bottled water at 5 parts per billion.

WaterToday has belatedly removed the Do Not Drink Advisory from its Nova Scotia advisory map.

Update 9/24/14
BWA of the day


The whole community of Grand Falls/Grand Sault, NB is under BWA following the break of a major pumping line on September 23.

"It was a 1/2" steel pipe that literally broke in two and drained the town's reservoir," says general director, Peter Michaud. "We have no idea why. The pipe was fixed within hours and we are now following the provincial directives requiring two days of clean water test results. We received the first results today and are expecting the second ones tomorrow. I would think that by end of day Friday, all will be back to normal."

According to Michaud, this was an unusual incident since most of Grand Falls' water main breaks only affect a few streets.

"We followed the municipal plan for notifying residents whereby businesses are called individually while residents are notified through radio, press, website and facebook messages, he says. "We're not on twitter yet, but will soon be."

Grand Falls is one of two municipalities in Canada with its name in both official languages: Grand Falls/Grand-Sault. The name Grand Falls was inherited from the notorious falls dropping from a height of 23 meters (75 feet) formed by the flow of the St. John River. The town's most distinctive feature is its bilingualism.

Update 9/24/14
BWA of the day

This story is brought to you by Dagua 514.488.3223


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.

Update 9/20/14
BWA of the day

This story is brought to you by Dagua 514.488.3223


Unsatisfactory water tests results have prompted a BWA in Béarn, QC, a municipality in northwestern Québec . "The water operator is on holidays," says town administrative assistant, Kathleen Desrochers. "I don't know what was found in the samples, but we have increased the chlorination, and new samples have been sent the lab in Québec City."

According to Desrochers, there has been no boil water advisory since she started working for the town three years ago, our own records confirm this. Béarn has had no reported water advisory since 2006.

The water advisory affects the whole community of some 700 people. Notices were distributed in residents mail boxes at the post office and broadcast on the radio. "I think most people are not bothered by the advisory and still drink their tap water without boiling it," she says.

Béarn is located in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Québec, it's ecomonomy is largely based on agiculture and forestry. Tembec, a pulp and paper and forestry company, is the region's main employer.

Update 9/18/14
BWA of the day


A boil water advisory was issued for Churchill, Manitoba (pop. 800) when routine maintenance work to replace valves on the distribution system required a system shut-off.

"It's a preventive measure," says a town official who declined to give his name. "The province requires us to post a BWA . We expect to get the tests back today and the advisory should be off tomorrow". According to him, commerces were advised individually and residents through postings on the town's facebook page.

Churchill is located on the west shore of Hudson Bay, just south of the Nunavut/Manitoba boundary. It is most famous for the many polar bears that move toward the shore from inland in the autumn, leading to the nickname "Polar Bear Capital of the World".

As of the 2006 Canada Census, just under half (44.10%) of the population was non-native and the rest (56.41%) were Aboriginal, mostly Chipewyan and Swampy Cree (33.85%), with some Métis (16.41%) and a small number of Inuit (5.64%).

Update 9/15/14
BWA of the day


On September 12, a boil water order was issued for Hampden, Newfoundland. E.coli was found in the town's drinking water and a repeat sample could not be taken as required, either because the provincial environmental health officer was not scheduled to be in the area, or more likely because it was Friday.

"They're supposed to come 'round today and take some more samples but the chlorine readings are good, thing is there's been no rain and the water levels are low." says Eldon Parson who takes care of the treatment plant, "but if there's a trace of it, they put a boil order on."

"Mostly we just keep drinking it, it don't hurt 'em anyway, he says. "We have one of the best water supplies in Newfoundland, right? It's surface water, comes from a big lake and there's nobody around it. It's a clean area...well now, they've been burning some overcut over there, right? And spraying stuff to kill the alders and birch, I was going to call Penny Burke, our environmental health officer, and ask her about that. Maybe that has something to do with it."

According to Parson, the water advisory affects the whole town of a little over 500. The town system is a basic chlorination system, 'we just chlorine it," he says.

Some 60 km up White Bay, Jackson's Arm was also issued a BWA on September 12 because of E.coli. but the towm clerk manager, Carmen Wicks, who was just back after a few weeks off, did not want to comment.

Hampden has had 7 BWAs since 2009, none of which were for E.coli. Jackson's Arm, on the other hand has also had 7 BWAs most of which were for E.coli. The advisory affects the whole community of 375 people.

Update 9/12/14
BWA of the day


The Water distribution pipes on the Miawpukek First Nation reserve, better known as Conne River, are being converted from copper to plastic, causing system issues which have promted Health Canada to issue a Boil water advisory.

"We're under voluntary BWA," says public works director, Glen Benoit. "The repairs have caused a number of leaks along the system. The advisory affects the whole community of about 900 people." Although NL Environment lists the reason for the advisory as E.coli, "the Health Canada notice does not mention E.coli," says Benoit. "Some coliforms showed and we are dealing with it"

Miawpukek, which means "Middle River", is the traditional Mi'kmaw name for Conne River. Located on the South Coast of Newfoundland in Bay d'Espoir, the Miawpukek First Nation is the only recognized Reserve on the island of Newfoundland. It was officially designated as Samiajij Miawpukek Indian Reserve under the Indian Act in 1987. Since then, according to its website, the community has thrived, going from a poor, isolated community with almost 90% unemployment to a strong vibrant community with nearly 100% full time/part-time employment.

Update 9/11/14
BWA of the day


Though everyone we spoke to in Rosthern, SK knows there is a water advisory, nobody is too sure why the Rosthern hotel is under bwa; it has something to do with either a manhole or a sewer being repaired in the hotel area.

According to Sask H2O the reason for the advisory was that a new complex was being hooked up to the distribution system. "No, that was several weeks ago, this time it's for repairs to a manhole near the hotel, I am not too sure," says office assistant Annette. "This is normal for Saksatchewan, once the work is done we'll need two clean water samples to lift the advisory. As for the hotel, it's been there my whole life, it's old but it's not ancient."

Over at the Rosthern Hotel where Randie Jestin tends bar, "all the ice is bagged up and we're using bottled water for drinks, the restaurant is boiling the water for cooking. It's all taken care of but it's a real pain in the butt."

According to Jestin, there is only a long-term construction crew in the hotel at the moment, so we posted notices everywhere, on the doors, in the toilets " so they don't drink from the urinals, I guess," she says.

"I heard it was a sewer they were fixing. I sure hope they're finished by next week because the American Duck Hunters are coming and we're booked solid. They've been coming here for 40 years, I don't know why, it's weird".

Update 9/10/14
BWA of the day


Officials in Cormorant, MB used Canada Post and door-to-door knocking to advise the 170 residents of South Cormorant to fill up pails with water in preparation for a scheduled reservoir cleaning that would depressurize the water system on September 9.

"Our water operator is off today, taking care of the water samples and sending them to Winnipeg," says town CAO Candice Genaille. "We have two separate water systems in Cormorant, the south one is not as new as the north one. The plant was shut off for a day but it's up and running again. I'm not sure what the water source is, I think it's well water. Not everyone is on the municipal systems, some have their own wells."

Cormorant is situated on the east shore of Cormorant Lake, in west-central Manitoba, 48 kilometres Northeast of The Pas. The Hudson Bay Railway, owned and operated by Omni Trax Ltd. passes through the community.

Update 9/9/14
BWA of the day


The Dorje Denma Ling Buddhist retreat in Tatamagouche, NS was put under boil water advisory on August 27. The advisory is still in effect today because of a sequence of errors.

"Basically, the advisory should be lifted today," says Executive Director, Lennart Krogoll. "It was actually the sample that was contaminated, not our water. So, our water is all good."

According to Krogoll, the Provincial Health Inspector said it would be lifted last week, but it had to be maintained until two consecutive tests came back clear and there was a another delay.

"For some reason, there was a mix-up at the lab and one of the samples was not automatically sent back to Health Inspection. Regardless of that, fortunately, our water was never contaminated. Our water is acutally excellent," he says.

The Dorje Denma Ling retreat teaches the Shambhala Vision which is rooted in the principle that every human being has a fundamental nature of basic goodness. This nature can be developed in daily life so that it radiates out to family, friends, community and society.

Update 9/5/14
BWA of the day


Don't drink it, don't bathe in it, don't use it. That's what 380 people in Lynden were urged to do on Wednesday, after E.coli was detected in water samples during routine testing.

The thing is their tap water also intermittently contains lead levels above the the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards of 0.01mg/L and you can't boil it away.

As of Wednesday afternoon, tanker trucks were providing potable water to residents at the local fire hall.

It was probably an sampling error, " says a Hamilton city spokesperson. "We've already flushed the system and the first new samples have returned negative. We are expecting the second set of tests tonight and if all is OK, Health will probably lift the advisory."

As for the lead, Lynden has had issues since 2006. When the problem was first detected, a series of tests revealed that the lead was probably in the groundwater at undetectable levels and Health Canada advised to leave it there. Residents were told to use filters.

"When they aerate and chlorinate the tank it settles in the contact tank," he says."But if there's a breach or turbulence the lead is dispersed within the sediment, increasing its level at the tap."

Update 9/3/14
BWA of the day

This story is brought to you by Water Solutions 866.574.8932


Thanks to a new well and UV filtration system, the year-old BWA at the Glenboro Hotel in Manitoba has been lifted. It has been a long saga. It was sometime in 2012, that Nancy Koos decided she wanted to buy a hotel, and she did. The Glenboro, in the town by the same name. Righ out of a fifties movie, complete with neon sign and painted on pepsi ads, the Glenboro Hotel was just what she wanted. Then she had the water tested. The first tests revelead the presence of benzene in the water which quickly resulted in Manitoba Water Stewardship issuing an Avoidance Advisory. A few weeks later, on July 31,2013, the advisory was downgraded to a BWA once it was determined that it was just a trace of benzene from a heater and no ground contamination had occurred.

But work needed to be done. Koos spent $20,000 replacing the shallow sandpoint well with a new well, and installing a UV filtration and water softener system. Yesterday, 54 weeks and 3 days later, the advisory was finally lifted to Koos great relief. "I am thrilled," she says. "The hotel has a restaurant, a bar, clean water and great breakfasts. Folks are welcome to drop in and give it a go."

Update 9/2/14
BWA of the day

This story is brought to you by Dagua 514.488.3223


For the second time in two months, Henryville, Saint-Sébastien, Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville and Venise-en-Québec have to boil their water because of a computer malfunction at the Henryville filtration plant.

Water for all four communities is managed under one Board, the Régie Intermunicipale d'Approvisionnement en Eau Potable Henryville-Venise (RIAEPHV). The combined population of the communites is about 4,900 but not all residents are affected. According to a clerk at the Venise-en-Québec town office, the very same computer problem that happened on August 29, also did on July 28.

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