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Water Today Title November 25, 2017

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Age matters to Antarctic clams
According to an article in Environment Research Web, a new study of Antarctic clams reveals that age matters when it comes to adapting to the effects of climate change.

The study showed that while young clams (average of three years old) try to move to a better area in the sea-bed sediments when they sense warmer temperature or reduced oxygen levels, the older (18 years old) more sedentary clams stay put. This has implications for future clam populations because it is the older animals that reproduce.

Lead Author Dr Melody Clark of British Antarctic Survey said,
"Antarctic clams play a vital role in the ocean ecosystem. They draw down carbon into sea-bed sediments and circulate ocean nutrients. We know that they are extremely sensitive to their environment. Our study suggests that the numbers of clams that will survive a changing climate will reduce."

"The Polar Regions are the Earth's early warning system and Antarctica is a great natural laboratory to study to future global change. These small and rather uncharismatic animals can tell us a lot about age and survival in a changing world they are one of the 'engines of the ocean'." - Environmental Research Web - 4/25/2013

Manitoba BWA reports punctual, short on details
Manitoba faithfully reports boil water advisories in public, semi-public and private well systems on its Water Stewardship website. The province has had comparatively few advisories over the last years, with our data indicating that there have been 248 advisories published since we started monitoring them in 2007. In comparison, Saskatchewan has had 2033, BC 925 and Quebec 1282. On the other hand, provinces who do not report on small drinking water systems such as Alberta and Ontario have had far fewer.

While Manitoba water advisory reporting is punctual, it provides no details as to the cause of advisories or, in some cases, where they are located, unless for example you happen to know where Higway 6 Hotel or Bambi Gardens Camping are.

Over the last two weeks, there have been three new BWAs in Manitoba, in Wabowden 4/12, Moose Lake 4/18 and Sandy Lake 4/22. As there have been few new advisories in the province lately, we contacted MB Conservation and Water Stewardship to get more details. Communications Coordinator, Julie Kentner provided the following information by email:Moose Lake: An advisory was put in place due to a probable sampling error. Wabowden: The system was shut down to allow installation of new distribution pumps. Sandy Lake: A precautionary boil water advisory was put in place due to maintenance. - MB Water Advisory Map - 4/25/2013

Mum's the word in Quebec
Water Advisories have not been listed on the Quebec Ministry of Environment (mddep) website since February 28, as the ministry carries out improvements to its electronic drinking water reporting system. A request for an interview sent to the Ministry media centre on April 3 resulted in a copy-pasted paragraph largely incomprehensible to the uninitiated, two weeks later. From what we gather, the improvements were put into effect to respond to new regulations that came into effect on March 8. The new system will enable a faster turn-around of lab test results, particularly with regards to fecal contamination. We have put in a second call for more information and await a response. - - 4/23/2013

10-year boil water advisory gets a fix
Saint-Prosper-de-Champlain, a small municipaliy (pop. 511) in Quebec's Mauricie Region has been under boil water advisory since 2003. After years of pleading, the town will now get the Federal-Provincial funding needed to provide safe drinking water to its residents. The project includes two new wells, a drinking water treatment plant and distribution network, as well as a wastewater collection and treatment system.

According to an article in Le Nouvelliste, the town's mayor, Michel Grosleau, recalls that the municipal council has been working on solving the town's drinking water issue since 1980, but that the population had rejected the work project through a referendum held at the time. The file was reactivated in 1990, but it took the Walkerton water tragedy in 2000 to finally propel the municipality to take over the management of seven private water systems and with the help of the province's environment ministry, officially put them under permanent boil water advisory. Work on the water system project should be completed by December 2013 and the new water system in operation by early 2014 - QC Water Advisory Map - 4/23/2013

RV camping and water
RV camping is one of the choice vacation of a horde of North Americans. Now, with spring upon us and the RV nation revving up to criss-cross the continent, we wondered how this mobile society deals with its water and wastewater needs. This is the first in a series of articles on RV water needs. - Full article - 4/17/2013

Ontario Urges Well owners to test their well
Ontario Health Units urge homeowners to test their well water
Perth, Lambton and Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Units are advising residents with private wells that heavy rainfall and snow melt could contaminate their drinking water supply with harmful bacteria. The Health Units advise that if your well was flooded, you should heat water to a rolling boil for 1 minute, then cool it to drink and use for food preparation. - ON Water Advisory Map - 4/17/2013

Suncor waste water fails toxicity test
Suncor Energy's toxic water that leaked into the Athabasca River failed government tests, and would have killed aquatic wildlife if undiluted, according to the Alberta government. Alberta department of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development has received the water chemistry analysis from the Suncor spill of 350,000 3litres of process-affected water to flow into a pond of treated water, on March 25, 2013. According to a department blog, the process-affected water that was released did not meet all parameters of the Alberta Surface water Guidelines Guidelines, and did not pass the standard 96-hour rainbow trout acute toxicity test; however, there is no concern to human health. Suncor substantiates this claim on its website. A company statement says despite the presence of toxic chemicals, the process-affected water had a "negligible impact on the river" and should be harmless to humans. Environmental Groups and First Nations downstream of the spill disagree. - - 4/16/2013

PVC Pipe Association wants more biz in Montreal
In a press release published on Monday, the PVC Pipe Association says that the City of Montreal is paying far more for replacing its water mains than it should because most of its tenders are limited to suppliers of concrete pressure pipe or ductile iron pipe. Yet, PVC pipes are up to 70% cheaper depending on their diameter, they are impervious to corrosion and, according to the American Water Association, have a lifespan of 110 years. We spoke with PVC Pipe Executive Director, Bruce Hollands " I don't want to speculate", he says," but I have to wonder if this is related to the Charbonneau Commission on corruption in the awarding of construction contracts in Montreal". "Other boroughs in the Montreal Region include PVC in their tenders." he says. "Calgary has been using them for 35 years along with more than 40,000 water distribution utilities in North America, including many in Quebec." According to Hollands, standards and specifications for PVC pipes are the same in the US and Canada and there is no reason for this situation. "We've met with Montreal officials, we wrote to Jacques Leonard, the head of the new advisory committee created to review how city contracts are awarded, and still nothing". Meanwhile, Montrealers continue to pay more for their water pipes. - - 4/11/2013

Water system depressurization was the cause of 3 BWas issued in SK in the towns of Marshall, Star City and Mankota. In BC, advisories were issued for Wynndel and Creston due equipment failure, while elevated trubidity is the cause of the advisories in Clinton and Oliver. - National Water Advisory Map - 4/7/2013

Eastern Townships town under BWA to get new treatment plant, QC
There's light at the end of the tunnel for 1,350 residents in the North Hatley region of Quebec's Eastern Townships who have been under boil water advisory since 2003. Construction of a new $11 million water treatment plant is finally underway thanks to combined Provincial and Federal funding of $7.5 M. North Hatley property owners will have to pay for the the remaining $2.7M at a rate of $100 per $100,000 of property value, but according to Mayor Michael Page 'the cost is still lower than buying bottled water'.

North Hatley's water source is Lake Massawippi which has been battling blue-reen algae growth for many years. As no alternate groundwater supply was availabe due to the clay nature of he area's soil, officials opted for the new water treatment plant, improvements to the lake water intake as well as a new high-pressure pumping station and reservoir for treated water. - QC Water Advisory Map - 4/8/2013

Alerts were sent to subscribers in Vernon BC to advise them of a boil water advisory issued by BC Interior Health for the Rock Bottom Water System on 4/2/13. No reason was provided. Sign up to receive free email alerts for BWAs in your area. - Water Alert Registration - 4/4/2013

Lachute QC to boil water
A boil water advisory was issued on April 1 for the town of Lachute Qc after a leak in the water distribution system was found to be discharging 1,000 gallons of water per minute. Trouble is the leak's location could not be detected until today. According to Lachute Public Works, the leak was found to be caused by an air purifier device which had been installed in a water pipe that crossed the Riviere du Nord. The purifier, which was encased in a cement chamber, has been isolated from the system and the BWA will be lifted once water samples sent for tests come back clean. No damage was caused by the pipe leak as most of the water drained into the river only 5 metres away. - QC Advisory Map - 4/4/2013

Coliform bacteria in St. Thomas water, ON
Elgin St. Thomas Public Health is warning that water in ditches in the Centennial Ave. area of St. Thomas is contaminated and could make people sick, after lab tests showed high counts of coliform bacteria. Although it has not been confirmed that septic effluents are the cause of the contamination, most homes in the neighbourhood are served by septic tanks. Central Elgin has proposed a massive sewerage project for the area but residents are objecting because of the cost, which could be as much as $18,500 per house. This mirrors the situation in Wainfleet, ON where a boil water advisory has been in effect since 2006 for the same reason. With Lake Erie choking under algae from phosphorous runoff, the fact that lake shore communities also have inadequate septic systems does not bode well for the health of the smallest of the Great Lakes. - Wainfleet 7-year old water advisory - 3/28/2013

Snow melt triggers turbidity advisory, BC
With snow starting to melt in BC, the first turbidity advisories are starting to pop up. Thompson-Nicola Regional District has issued a Water Quality Advisory for users of the Vavenby Community Water System in Kamloops due to high turbidity in the Thompson River caused by snow melt. - BC Water Advisory Map - 3/26/2013

Media, an afterthought at CWN Conference
Although, the dominant theme of the Canadian Water Network's 2013 Conference was information-sharing, media was somewhat reluctantly included in the circle. A growing trepidation as to our questions in the various sessions was unmistakable. Perhaps, the best way to allay conference organizers' fear that media will disrupt or derail the agenda, would be to set up scrum areas outside the conference rooms and allow for questions periods after each session. This would not only allow experts to share their views with the general public but give media an opportunity to question them without hindering the exchange between speakers and participants. - - 3/26/2013

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