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Water Today Title June 29, 2022

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Advisory of the day


This story is brought to you in part by Borrum Energy Solutions

A request for proposal (RFP) released by the government of Nunavut has outlined some serious concerns about the water treatment systems servicing the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet.

The RFP, which was issued on November 10, is inviting consultants to bid on a feasibility study to determine the best course of action to replace aging water infrastructure in the hamlet.

The Williamson Lake Pump House (WLPH) and the Nipissar Lake Pump House (NLPH) are both considered past their expiration date. Both pump houses were constructed in the 1970s and they haven't been adequately upgraded since.

According to the RFP, "The design of the system does not meet current codes and standards nor does it meet the current and future water needs of the Hamlet," adding, "The condition of most system components are past their service life and are at risk of critical failure."

Williamson Lake Pump House, which is considered, "The heart of the system," has seen extended loops and buildings added to its workload without the necessary upgrades to facilitate them. This has put a lot of strain on its components leaving it unable to meet its requirements.

The RFP says that, "Residents experience the inconvenience of constant low pressures and additionally do not have adequate fire protection services."

Included in the noticed issues for the Williamson Lake Pump House are:
  • Corrosion of piping (both inside and out) as well as the wet well,
  • The wet wells showing significant deterioration,
  • A floor drain leaking into a wet well, valves functioning incorrectly (resulting in difficulties isolating areas for maintenance),
  • Concrete housing of the supply pumps suffering deterioration,
  • and the roof having integrity issues

Its fellow pump house, NLPH, has a shorter but no less significant list of concerns. The building envelope is not weather tight (which has resulted in snow accumulated inside the building), the intake line does not reach the deepest part of the lake and the intake pumps are nearing capacity which could affect their ability to accommodate the hamlet's growth.

The report says that the condition of the pump houses pose health and safety issues for both the community serves as well as the operators who run them.

For the residents: a poor ventilation system has resulted in the fluoridation system being taken offline, inadequate chlorine residual in the distribution system resulted in a boil water advisory in April of 2015, safety concerns of the chlorine air concentration above the water level in wet wells require them to remain closed, which prevents adequate monitoring.

For operators: shoddy wiring doesn't meet code and isn't grounded, asbestos has been found in the WLPH and there is a concern that chlorine ventilation is insufficient.

"On our list of 25 must haves on our capital list, those two pump houses are in our top five," said Justin Merrit, Rankin Inlet's Senior Administrative Officer, "With the exception of Iqaluit which is tax based, all the other hamlets have wish lists and the (Government of Nunavut) infrastructure team makes the decision on what products are funded."

When asked on when changes will finally get around to getting made, Merrit said that the Government of Nunavut who had just had an election for Members of the Legislative Assembly this September, so he expects that in January they'll get down to business on whether they're approving the funds.

As the construction season in Rankin Inlet is quite short, Merrit posits that it could be a couple years still before the pump houses are completed.

From the picture the RFP paints, that might seem too long but Merrit doesn't seem quite as concerned.

"They have some problems with leaks but it seems to be running fine," he said, "We haven't received any emergency updates recently. It's a serious issue and we want it replaced but I don't think it's an emergency situation. " Proposals to bid on the study must be in by December 1.

Advisory of the day


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Residents living in White's Mobile Home Park in Monastery, Nova Scotia were issued a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) on November 3. Monastery is a small dairy farming community in Antigonish County located on the Northumberland Strait. The mobile home park is home to about 40 residents.

Monastery is most known as the site of the Our Lady of Grace monastery where the Monks of St. Maron live. Originally founded in 1825 by a Trappist Monk from France, one order or another has occupied the monastery ever since. The monastery is a local tourist attraction as well as a place for those seeking spiritual rejuvenation.

The BWA was issued after a test came back positive for Total Coliforms. According to Health Canada's Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, standards for Total Coliforms are counts of 0/100ml. Health Canada's Guidelines explain that "in non disinfected groundwater the presence of Total Coliforms may indicate that the system is vulnerable to contamination, or it may be a sign of bacterial regrowth."

White's Mobile Home Park

Rather than get their drinking water from a county water system, residents at White's Mobile Home Park get their drinking water from a well at the park. But Manager for the Antigonish office of Nova Scotia Environment, Tanya Mackenzie says "it is a registered public water supply and therefore must meet the requirements."

Mackenzie said "the problem started with a broken water line coming from one of the mobile homes." Because no one was occupying the mobile home it went unnoticed until the well ran dry. She said that although Nova Scotia Environment requires that two tests come back negative within 24 hours of each other, no tests have been done since the initial one that led to the BWA.

She added that "they were asked to provide Nova Scotia Environment with a Corrective Action Plan." When asked if that was because they had had problems in the past she said she couldn't say.

The phone number for the owner of the park that NS Environment had in their file had been disconnected, and no name was on the file. An internet search turned up nothing for the park or it's owner. After numerous attempts to find a means of contacting the owner, this reporter decided to go there in person.

Upon arrival a large "For Sale" sign could be seen with a phone number to contact Joe White, owner of the park who works in Fort McMurray much of the time. It seems his home, and the mobile home park have been for sale for some time.

One resident I spoke to said "I knew something was wrong [with the water] when I turned my tap on and nothing came out." The well has since been filled with water from a nearby river. When asked if she had been told about the BWA, she said "if it wasn't for my neighbour I would not have known not to drink it, and I have to be careful about my daughter, she's only 4."

She said that "it's the second or third time since the summer that the well has gone dry and been re-filled but I'm not sure if they're putting in the proper chemicals."

Another resident I spoke to said he wasn't told by the landlord not to drink the water either, but rather that it was a neighbour who let him know he'd be better off drinking bottled water. Though he specified that another neighbour has been drinking it and hasn't gotten sick. Neither of the residents I spoke to were willing to give me their name, one said it was because she did not think [the landlord] would like it.

Later a successful call was finally placed to the owner Joe White, in Alberta. A very apprehensive Mr. White answered with some hesitation that "it was on September 24 that one of the mobile homes had a water leak that drained the well dry." He said "I re-filled the well myself before heading back to work in Fort McMurray on November 3, it was the day after that I got a call from NS Environment about the water."

When asked if he had advised the residents, he said that he let everyone know to boil it. He went on to explain that they had had a dry summer and asked this reporter if it had been raining lately in Nova Scotia. He said that he did have a chlorine system in the pumping system.

He added that he's "owned the park for 27 years and every time [the well] is dry, it's because there's a leak."

When asked if any tests had been done since the initial one he admitted there hadn't been, saying that the property manager who fills in for him when he's away works nights. When pressed on when the BWA could be lifted he offered "I see what you're saying, people gotta have clean water. I'll have someone come in and check the level of the well and do the tests ASAP." He added that the problem should be fixed by next week.

Advisory of the day


This story is brought to you in part by Borrum Energy Solutions

Cat Lake Public Water System, in northern Ontario, has been under a precautionary boil water advisory (BWA) for nearly two months due to a technical malfunction at the water treatment plant.

The First Nation community of 700 people lies on the shores of Cat Lake in northwestern Ontario and is only accessible by air.

Maryse Durette, senior media relations advisor for Health Canada (who assist First Nation communities with the monitoring and safety of drinking water), told Water Today that a precautionary boil water advisory was recommended on September 25th 2017 due to filters in the treatment plant becoming clogged—preventing the production of clean water.

However, the Operations and Maintenance manager of Cat Lake First Nation is unaware of any advisory, and told this reporter that he “has been drinking the water since September”. The only advisory he was aware of existed for a “24 hour period and was due to a power outage”, after which power was restored and advisory lifted.

Durette told us that remedial work at the plant for the filter malfunction has been completed, and Health Canada is currently waiting for water sample results to confirm the water is safe to consume. The findings of this test are anticipated within the next few weeks, pending delivery of a water sample.

She emphasised that the BWA was only issued as a precaution and was not the result of any contamination.

As of Wednesday evening, Health Canada is unaware of anyone becoming ill as a result of the advisory.

Advisory of the day
Advisory of the day


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The Sudbury and District Health Unit (SDHU) issued a drinking water advisory (DWA) for the Town of Foleyet, an unincorporated part of the Sudbury District in Ontario. According to the SDHU press release, the advisory is a result of a "loss of pressure as a result of a mechanical issue." No further explanation is provided in the release.

We contacted the SDHU and were able to speak with Burges Hawkins, Manager of the Environmental Health Division.

Hawkins explained that the mechanical issue was in fact "a break in the main," that links the water treatment plant to the town.

When asked about a timetable for re-establishing water service to the town, Hawkins responded that as of now "there isn't one, because the repairs have not been completed."

The delay in repair work is related to not having the necessary parts on hand. "They are hoping to have the pieces in today and then get all the work done."

Foleyet is located five hours north of Sudbury and "is a very small town, they don't have the spare parts there, they have to bring the part in," Hawkins underlined. "They just don't have the kind of spare parts that you would find in southern Ontario."

Because of the delay in repair work, samples have not been collected for testing and will be done once the necessary parts have been replaced.

"There is no problem with the plant, it just can't put water out into the distribution system," Hawkins said. The approximately 200 residents "can come [to the plant] and fill containers with water."

Until the Town receives the parts to repair the main break residents will have to do without water coming to their homes.

Advisory of the day


This story is brought to you in part by Borrum Energy Solutions

Two community drilled well systems, about a kilometre apart in the Slocan Valley, both tested positive for coliforms on Friday. The affected communities sit on the west bank of the Kootenay river, in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia.

Speaking on behalf of Interior Health (who test provided samples and issue the boil water notices), Karl Hardt explained that results from Playmor Utility Company Water System and Voykin Improvement District Water System show the presence of coliforms; bacteria which indicate the water may contain more harmful biological contaminants.

He explained the boil water advisory will only be lifted once two clean samples, taken 24 hours apart, have been provided by the owners of each respective system. In addition, the owners of each water system will have to show they have taken corrective action. He noted that as of Tuesday, Interior Health had not received reports of any illness.

Mr Hardt recommended that simply bringing the water to a rolling boil for at least one minute would be enough to address the current concerns.

As of Wednesday evening, Playmor Utility Company Water System could not be reached, and Voykin Improvement District Water System have not responded to our requests to get in touch.

However, a resident who is supplied by Voykin Improvement District Water System, told Water Today that boil water notices are not considered a ‘big deal' around the Kootenays and that “these things happen all the time”, adding that “a lot of people [drink the water anyway]”.

As both community wells are classified as small water systems, Mr Hardt explained the boil water notice will affect no more than 300 people in each community.

Advisory of the day


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A boil water advisory (BWA) that was issued for sections of the city of Kenora, Ontario last week has been rescinded.

A public notice on the city's website said that it would affect residents from the Norman and Keewatin neighbourhoods and would come into effect at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8.

"We were working on a leaked valve on a watermain," said Biman Paudel , Division Lead for the Water and wastewater Division for Kenora.

He said that although there was planned maintenance and a water advisory wasn't scheduled, after consulting with the Northwestern Health Unit in Kenora, they decided to issue the advisory for precautionary reasons.

"Normally for Ontario Disinfection Policy, we categorize (jobs) as category one and category two," said Paudel, "Category one doesn't require a boil water advisory and category two does. After discovering the leak during maintenance, we had to sort out the water for a surrounding area, so didn't want to take any chance."

Paudel added that anywhere from 4000 to 5000 people were affected by the advisory, although he couldn't be sure of the numbers as the seasonal populations of Kenora can fluctuate.

After receiving laboratory testing that didn't indicate the presence of any bacterial contamination, the advisory was lifted on Sunday, November 12.

While the advisory was on, residents were notified by radio broadcasts every ten to fifteen minutes as well as public notices on the city's Facebook and official web page. For a smaller population, Paudel said that hand written notices are typically delivered but in this case it wasn't feasible.

No water stations were provided to the affected residents. Paudel said that had it been more than just a drinking water issue, in which the tap water could not be used at all, that might have been the case but in this instance, it didn't make sense.

Advisory of the day


This story is brought to you in part by Borrum Energy Solutions

At 3 PM Tuesday afternoon the Ville de Gatineau issued a total ban on consuming tap water in part of the Aylmer sector.

According to the press release, the ban was put in place immediately after "a smell of hydrocarbon was detected coming from the water." As the ban covers washing vegetables and taking showers Gatineau has made the shower facilities of the centre aquatique Paul-Pelletier available, as well as provide water to the approximately 2000 residents affected.

The city was proactive in posting the notice on social media, the post on the Ville de Gatineau Facebook page has had large amounts of traffic and has been shared over 800 times.

In the post thread residents raised very important questions, one resident wrote "why were fire hydrants flushed at 1 PM on [rue] Broad and [rue] St-Laurent, and [there is] an alert at 3 PM?"

Another response to the post seemed to indicate that the issue may have affected water outside of the announced perimeter. The resident wrote "the water is yellowish on rue de la Course near rue Court, does it extend there?"

We spoke with Yves Melanson, Media Relations for the Ville de Gatineau. When asked if the source of the hydrocarbon was known Melanson responded "presently we are looking into that, we don't know." He added that the City was conducting work on suppressors, pumps that pump water into the treatment plant, "and work that was being done on the pumps on Front street impacted [the] area."

"We are not sure if the nature of the hydrocarbon is related to the work on the suppressor," Melanson said, “we know that we were conducting work there at that time."

Gatineau is large and has many water plants that serve particular areas of the city. "This is why the work being done in the Front area only impacted a small perimeter," Melanson said.

As of now, the ban is still in effect, and Gatineau will update residents as soon as there is new information.

Advisory of the day


This story is brought to you in part by Borrum Energy Solutions

A small community in the Northwest Territories has been under a boil water advisory since 2004 due to staffing issues and infrastructure maintenance.

Colville Lake is located over 700km northwest of Yellowknife and is the smallest community in the Sahtu region, with just over 120 predominantly First Nations inhabitants.

The band that make the area their home, the Behdzi Ahda' First Nations, have had issues with staff turnover at their water treatment plant and the proper testing that needs to be administered is often behind as a result.

Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) for the Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) is responsible for helping the community remedy their issues.

"There are numerous employees within the community works staff that have been trained by MACA staff, however the turnover is high," said Damien Healy, the manager of communication for Health and Social Services (HSS) for GNWT in an email response to questions posed by this reporter, "The MACA circuit rider frequents the community to train new staff when they are hired."

The training is provided to the community free of charge and Water and Sewer funding provided by MACA allows for extra training and professional development as well.

As this isn't a budgetary issue, no federal funding is imminent.

The water treatment plant is relatively new, having been built only nine years ago, however upkeep has been an issue with new employees coming and going so quickly.

"There have been historical issues with care and maintenance of the facility despite the efforts of MACA staff," said Healy, "When fully operational the Colville Lake Water Treatment Plant is capable of meeting the Canadian guidelines for drinking water quality."

Healy said that even though the plant is only nine years old is still needs some TLC and maintenance.

While the advisory is ongoing, drinking water is being provided to the community via trucked services.

According to Healy, the water has been chlorinated; but since is not being routinely tested to ensure safety, the boil water advisory still applies to the trucked water too.

"When the community can ensure routine drinking water testing as per the Public Health Act, and specifically the Water Supply System Regulations (Schedule for Testing), the precautionary boil water advisory can be lifted by the Chief Public Health Officer," said Healy.

Multiple attempts to reach a community representative to comment on the issue were unsuccessful as of publication.

Advisory of the day


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A recent wave of cold temperatures that passed through Saskatoon has created some headaches for public works crews. On November 7, the City of Saskatoon announced on their website that on Monday and Tuesday "there were 9 water main breaks across the city, resulting in water service interruptions in most cases."

One of the nine breaks caused a Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory (PDWA) to be issued for Saskatoon City Hospital. In a release on the Saskatoon Health Region website, it was said that "no tap water will be used in sterile procedures or surgeries." The hospital brought in alternative sources to continue their operations and contacted patients if there would be any delay in their procedures.

To gain a better understanding of what is happening on the ground we contacted the Director of Water & Waste Stream for Saskatoon, Russ Munro.

Munro explained that the break on 25th street, the one that a garnered all the media attention "is one of the three feeds to [City] Hospital."

The City "always prioritizes [repair work] based on a number of factors," Munro said, "the number of people served by the water main, the size, what the priority of the road network is, and more importantly what is serviced by the water main."

City Hospital was given a high priority in relation to the other breaks. Munro said, "of those nine breaks, most of them have been repaired." Munro added that "there have been four new breaks that have occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday, one of those has been repaired already."

"We are sitting with six breaks right now, four, if not more will be repaired Thursday," Munro said.

Amanda Purcell, Media Relations Specialist for the Saskatoon Health Region confirmed that City Hospital was under a PDWA and that "bottled water was brought in to ensure that procedures and surgeries could continue." She added that "delays during this time were very minimal, although a few patients were impacted."

Munro said Saskatoon will see "between 180 to 220 water main breaks in a given year, and that is very weather dependent." He explained, "if we have very little snow cover and very cold temperatures going into February early March we get deep frost penetration into the ground that will lead to water main breaks."

Munro added that "we do have some soil conditions that change around the city, we had a very dry summer [so] clay contracting has led to a couple of water main breaks in those areas."

"The other major cause we see is corrosion," Munro said, "we have about 230 km of lead pipe remaining in the distribution system which is slowly being replaced or lined as required." Replacement is only for affected infrastructure Munro added that "we have pipes that are over [one] hundred years old that are still in great shape."

This year the City of Saskatoon embarked on Water Main, Sanitary Lining and Lead Water Pipe Replacement Initiative, which is described on the city website as "a large-scale water and wastewater project."

The federal government contributed $15.8 million, the province chipped in with $7.9 million, while the City added $7.9 million plus another $11.7 million to the project that is worth $31.6 million. Munro said, "we are getting 3 for 1 "because the roads and sidewalks will be redone at the same time.

Advisory of the day


This story is brought to you in part by Borrum Energy Solutions

What has come to be an annual boil water advisory (BWA) has been lifted from a small community in Nunavut.

Whale Cove has tested high for coliform in each of the past three summers. This year's BWA lasted for four months.

No known source of the coliform has been found at this point, although heavy Spring rains have been blamed in the past.

The community of approximately 435 residents, located on the Western shores of Hudson Bay just south of Rankin Inlet, has been lacking the proper infrastructure to remedy the bacterial contamination and so have had to simply wait out the boil water advisories.

"Coliform bacteria cannot survive in colder, winter water temperatures," said Ron Wassink, a spokesperson for Nunavut's Department of Health, in an email to this reporter, "Bacteriological tests have returned to acceptable levels," He went on to add, so the boil water advisory was removed.

Residents do have reason to be hopeful that next summer might be advisory free. Thanks to the Whale Cove Emergency Water Supply project a set of three inline water filters is being added to the water treatment facility in the community.

According to an August press release, "The Government of Canada is contributing up to $375,000 to this project through the Small Communities Fund, and the Government of Nunavut will contribute $125,000."

"The temporary water filtration unit has arrived in Whale Cove, and the installation is completed," said Kris Mullaly, a Policy Analyst/ Communication Officer with the Government of Nunavut. "With the winter weather, it is not suitable to go into operations with this equipment this fall. We are hoping to go into operations as soon as the weather permits in May or June, 2018."

WaterToday.ca will follow up with this story next summer to see how the filtration system is performing.

Advisory of the day


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Last week a Do Not Consume Advisory was listed among the advisories published by the Ministère de Développement durable, Environnement et Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCCC) for a "drinking water distribution system in a student residence at Collège Haut Sommets (CHS), in Saint-Tite-des-Caps Québec.

The MDDELCCC did not provide any other information on their website. We contacted the secondary school directly for more information.

Sonia Lefrançois, President of the CHS Board of Directors, explained that the advisory was issued because of "a contamination due to heavy rains." She underlined that "the water does not contain any coliform, [and] the advisory was issued as a precaution".

Lefrançois confirmed that the order only affects CHS and "only the boys' residence [the] building located at 97, ave. de la Montagne."

The school "has an intervention protocol that we follow," Lefrançois said, and "an employee has been trained and certified under the Opérateurs captage et réseaux élémentaires (OCaRe) program."

OCaRe is a training program offered by Emploi Québec to certify individuals to work in water collection, treatment, and distribution. The Règlement sur la qualité de l'eau potable, Québec's water quality law, requires that anyone working in these installations be competent to do so.

Lefrançois said that the issue should be rectified "by the weekend." In the meantime boys in the residence are being provided "bottled water and there are vending machines with bottled water that is available."

When asked if the school was subject different water quality standards than a municipal system Lafrançois said "we must be compliant under the regulations for systems between 21 and 1000 users." A system of this size must perform bi-weekly tests on the drinking water "as well as source water tests."

We also contacted the Ministère de l'éducation et Enseignement supérieur, Québec's education ministry, and were informed that "that building maintenance is the responsibility of the school boards, [though] they must comply with regulations in force."

Advisory of the day


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A Northern Alberta town is under a boil water advisory (BWA) after infrastructure issues caused an emergency water shut off on the weekend.

The Town of Wembley, located 23km west of Grand Prairie, alerted its approximately 1500 residents of the boil water advisory on November 4.

"We had a valve that blew and so our crew was working on repairing the valve, said Tanya Lamouroux, the town's Administrative Assistant, "The repair was almost complete when the gasket on the AC pipe let go after the valve insertion was complete."

Due to the poor conditions of the older valves, workers were unable to isolate the area in time and the town reservoir was dropping too quickly, so an emergency water shut off was ordered.

Lamouroux and town officials were in contact with Alberta Environment and Alberta Health Services as the issue was unfolding and the latter asked them to issue the BWA for safety's sake.

"We did notify it by Alberta Emergency alert," Lamouroux said, "We posted on all of our social media, our town website and our town Facebook page. I have a contact email list for our utility billings, so I emailed everybody on that list," adding, "I contacted all of our food establishments, school and day cares and our senior centre."

The town has completed the first round of testing for possible contaminants on Sunday afternoon and sent off the samples to a lab on Monday morning. Second tests will be completed on Monday evening and town officials are hoping that the advisory will be lifted by Wednesday morning.

Residents are able to get potable water while the advisory is ongoing.

"Our fire department mobilized within an hour of having the water shut off," Lamoroux said, "We purchased individual bottles which can be picked up from the fire department or the fire department can deliver to people who are unable to come get them."

Advisory of the day


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A remote mining outpost in Saskatchewan has had their water supply compromised by an outbreak of algae prompting a water advisory.

Seabee Gold Operation, owned by SSR Mining, is located about 125km northeast of the town of La Ronge in Northern Saskatchewan. They have two underground gold mines operating in the area: the Seabee mine, as well as the Santoy Mine.

The latter of the two was issued a Do Not Drink water advisory by Saskatchewan's Ministry of Environment on October 30 after their water treatment system tested positive for cyclotella algae.

"The source water for the Santoy Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is Lizard Lake," said Darby Semeniuk, Manager of Communication services for the Ministry of Environment in an email to this reporter, adding "This is likely the source of the algae."

Semeniuk was able to confirm that there have been no reported cases of illness as a result of the contamination. "The Santoy WTP is primarily used for laundry, showers and toilets. The second WTP is the Seabee WTP which provides the water for the main camp including the kitchen," he said.

The ministry has been informed that the site is working on finding solutions to the issue, and is using an alternate potable water source in the meantime.

Semeniuk could not give an approximate date of when the advisory will be lifted, saying that it will continue until the potable water quality has been determined to be safe.

Blair Gunter, Seabee Gold Operations Mining Manager told this reporter in a phone interview that the advisory is affecting anywhere from 170 to 200 people who might be on site at any given time.

"We posted signs everywhere and sent out an email to everybody," he said, "Just about everybody has email and if they don't the supervisors let their people know."

Gunter said that they plan to do some flushing of the treatment system this weekend and check in with the Ministry of Environment early next week to decide on next steps.

In the meantime, they are hauling up potable water from the Seabee Mine site, which sources its water from Laonil Lake. "Thankfully, nobody stays at the Santoy site," Gunter said, "It's just the miners and mechanics who're there (during working hours)."

Advisory of the day
Advisory of the day


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A community on St. Joseph's Island in Ontario is under a boil water advisory as of November 1 due to tests that showed bacterial contamination.

Algoma Public Health, released a notice shortly after saying that Richard's Landing, the largest community on St. Joseph's Island, had water samples which tested positive for the presence of total coliforms and E. coli.

According to their Clerk Administrator, Carol Trainor, the municipal water system which uses groundwater as its source, services around 150 residences as well as a number of businesses.

She said that the system had been flushed and was undergoing further testing.

"We're expecting to be it over Monday, Trainor said, adding that it would most likely be over sooner but it might take a little longer because it's now the weekend.

As for residents, they have all been hand delivered notices so that they are aware of the advisory but no bottled water is being provided at this point.

"It's only an advisory," Trainor said, "So they can use their own water, they just have to boil it."

John Bouma, Manager for Environmental Health and Communicable Disease Control with Algoma Public Health said that their team is still looking into the source of the bacteria.

"We're thinking it was an outdoor tap, but it could be someone's hands, or it could be a (faulty sample)," he said. At this point, they are leaning towards the latter possibility.

"We had a number of other samples that were clean and only one positive sample," Bouma said, "So we think it was a bad sample. We were retesting and resampling yesterday and today and we should know tomorrow whether it was an anomaly or not."

If the lab results come back soon, Bouma believes the advisory could be listed by Saturday at the earliest. "If we get (poor) results again the boil water stays on," he said" but I'd be surprised frankly if it didn't come back clean."

Advisory of the day


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The New Brunswick Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) for the village of Fredericton Junction on Monday, October 30, 2017 due to the presence of E. coli in the well.

The village is located on the Oromocto River in the western part of Sunbury County, 45 km from the city of Fredericton. It has a population of 704 inhabitants. Roughly 200 people use the municipal water system that is currently contaminated.

In a phone interview, Mayor Gary Mersereau explained that they have two wells in the village that are tested frequently; "each week we do one spot and then move to another, by the end of the month we've tested the whole system. One of the samples came back for Coliforms, which is a sign that something is wrong, so we did more tests and one well showed positive for E. coli." The contaminated sample was taken on Thursday, October 26, but the test results did not come back until Monday, October 30.

Upon receiving those results, users of municipal water services were advised "to procure water from an alternate safe source or to boil the water for one minute." The BWA was published on the village website and Facebook page. An elder care facility, school, daycare, and clinic in the area affected by the BWA were all contacted by phone directly. The municipality also went door to door to pass out notices.

Residents are advised to boil water for at least one minute or use bottled water. This includes water being used for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, washing fruits and vegetables and preparing infant formulas.

People who drink water contaminated with E. coli can suffer from mild fever, vomiting, abdominal pain and/or diarrhea. When asked if anyone had gotten sick before the news of the BWA could reach them Mayor Mersereau said "to our knowledge, we've heard of one individual in one family who was apparently affected by it. They went to the doctor and the doctor said it was E. coli, but they are now in good health."

He further explained that they had not had any significant rainfall since July 4th and that their engineers had suggested that residents should limit their consumption of water. On October 24, prior to the BWA a notice was issued to residents concerning a water shortage issue. The statement reads "our new well has reached the minimum level whereby it shuts off due to a shortage of water. It must then recharge before it can be turned on again. In order to protect the municipal water system as well as your private wells, we are now requesting that all residents and businesses start/continue conserving water."

The next day there was a heavy rainfall warning in effect for the area. It is speculated that heavy rain following many months of drought is what led to the contamination.

On Tuesday, October 31 subsequent samples tested showed positive for Total Coliforms, and E. coli as well as an increased heterotrophic plate count (HPC). Mayor Mersereau said that today "[they] were flushing the line and [took] more samples. I drove them in today to see if we have the line and the distribution system cleared, I drove them to Fredericton to be tested."

According to Health Canada's Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, standards for both E. coli and Total Coliforms are the same, counts of 0/100ml. Health Canada explains that "unexpected increases in the HPC baseline range could indicate a change in the treatment process, a disruption or contamination in the distribution system, or a change in the general bacteriological quality of the water."

The BWA issued by the village council states that "council and staff continue to work with personnel of the Department of Health on an ongoing basis. Please be assured that you will be kept informed of any further developments and remediation initiatives being taken to rectify the water quality problem at this time."

Mayor Mersereau said that generally results from water samples are received the following day. If the samples taken today show up negative, another set will need to show the same results before the Department of Health can lift the BWA. Mayor Mersereau said "it's possible we could have it lifted by Friday but it remains to be seen. It would be nice."

Advisory of the day


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A small private drinking water system in Harwood, Ontario is on a boil water advisory (BWA) after an adverse drinking water result was found.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRD) issued the BWA on Oct. 26, 2017 for Cartmel Apartments, which are located on Front Street, a short distance from the shores of Rice Lake.

According to Bill Eekhof, Communications Officer for HKPRD, six units in the apartment building are affected by the advisory. They're not entirely sure what's caused the problem at this time but most likely culprit is an equipment malfunction.

The apartment building sources its water from a well on the property and treats it with an onsite water treatment system. "The building owner is working with a contractor and representatives of the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to assess and fix the problem," said Eekhof in an email to this reporter, "It's still unclear as to when the drinking water system will be fixed and the BWA lifted. For now, residents in the apartment building are encouraged to continue boiling their water prior to use."

Unlike British Columbia or Manitoba, Ontario does not publish province wide information on small private drinking water systems.

There are only a few local health units that make the effort to do so, including HKPRD, Eastern Ontario Health Unit and Sudbury District Health Unit.

Although their efforts are useful, it can be difficult to get a big picture visualization of where improvements in small drinking water systems need to be made.

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By Michelle Moore

Upper area residents of Cox's Cove in Western Newfoundland who have been living under boil water advisory (BWA) since October 21, 2016 may never have been made aware of the BWA in the first place.

The town rests in the Bay of Islands just east of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence River and is home to beautiful scenery, Cox's Cove Falls, the Big Hill Festival, and a strong fishing and tourism industry.

With a population of 688, The Newfoundland Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment Boil Water Advisory Report states that 60 people are affected. Cox's Cove has two water sources; the buildings serviced by the contaminated groundwater well are all residential.

The initial report which dates from over a year ago cites that E. coli detected in an initial sample(s) was considered extensive. Despite this, former mayor Tony Oxford said he did not know about it until this reporter made him aware of it.

When asked about how his concerns for clean drinking water may have changed since the BWA, Mr. Oxford asked "what boil water advisory are you talking about? I don't really follow those things." Mr. Oxford, who decided not to run again in last month's election owns True North Charters and Tours with his wife Joan Oxford. He also lives in the area affected by the BWA.

Communications Director for the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, Erin Shea said that "since October 20, 2016 there have been eight sets of bacteriological tests taken. The last set of samples taken on August 24, 2017 indicated the presence of Total Coliforms, but no E.coli was present. However, the decision was made that the boil water advisory should remain in effect for consumer safety."

The Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment website explains that "boil water advisories are issued when water sampling and testing detects higher than accepted amounts of coliforms (bacteria) or if there are deficiencies with regard to chlorination or other forms of disinfection. In such cases, the results are immediately communicated to affected communities for appropriate action."

The website advises the owner or operator of a drinking water supply to alert anyone consuming water from that supply. It also states that "for advisories that remain in effect for more than one month, a monthly reminder to continue to boil drinking water should be forwarded to water consumers." Despite this obligation, it is unclear whether or not the results were ever actually communicated to residents.

According to Health Canada's Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, standards for both E. coli and Total Coliforms are the same, counts of 0/100ml. Health Canada's Guidelines explain that "in non disinfected groundwater the presence of Total Coliforms may indicate that the system is vulnerable to contamination, or it may be a sign of bacterial regrowth."

Residents should have been advised to boil their water for at least one minute before consumption. This includes drinking, preparing infant formulas, meals, brushing teeth, and washing fruit and vegetables.

When Oxford was asked if he or anyone he knows had gotten sick recently, he simply said no. Though he added that "probably the biggest challenge is the level of regulation ... now of course we're still hypersensitive to the unfortunate events in Walkerton and the bar was raised high since those events and that tragedy. Now when you flush your lines or do anything, you gotta put in a BWA. In the area where I live chances are ... these are two deep wells, this water is coming from over 100 metres down in the earth. The chance of faecal contamination surfacing the decontaminator is unlikely. It wreaks havoc in communities, you look cross this province. You drive across Newfoundland there's a boil water advisory in almost every second community."

Mr. Oxford told this reporter Cox's Cove has had it's public water supplies protected under the Water Resources Act of Newfoundland "for some thirty years."

When asked whether there was a system to monitor the watershed for any activities that could damage the water supply Oxford explained that "the jurisdiction of a number of municipalities and department of environment and municipalities … [is] kind of a shared jurisdiction, and coordinated by the town. So if [they] want to allocate more resources we could hire someone to police that watershed but it could be an exorbitant cost. So we rely on the government to structure their activities and issue their permits with the knowledge to protect the water supply."

When asked about potential problems facing small communities in maintaining a clean source of drinking water Oxford said "[they had] done relatively well in training [their] employees. Of course in small communities the number of resources you have available … one part time employee who does all that work. Sometimes there can be problems in training."

Communications Director for the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, Erin Shea said in an email that "the source of contamination is unknown at this time, however, the drinking water source is a drilled groundwater well. Poor construction of [the] well is the likely cause of contamination." Shea explained that "[t]he groundwater inspection program identified several well deficiencies that require rehabilitation including an unsealed well and improperly sloped area around the wellhead."

Shea said that "the disinfection system is operational, [and that] the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment requires two consecutive bacteriological samples to be collected with no positive results. The department anticipates that this boil water advisory may be lifted this fall, once two consecutive bacteriological sample results are reported."

Mr. Oxford's statement about "Walkerton" refers to events in Walkerton, Ontario in May 2000 where municipal water became contaminated with a particularly deadly strain of E. coli killing seven people and causing 2,300 people to become ill.

Numerous attempts were made to contact the community town spokesperson. They did not respond in time for publication

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The town of Norris Arm in central Newfoundland has been on a boil water advisory (BWA) since October 26.

The provincial website that tracks BWAs says that the system tested positive for total coliforms, which can be an indicator of other harmful bacteria being present.

The town population as of the 2011 census was 912 people but a spokesperson for Norris Arm said that most of the population have little to worry about, as the negative tests were only occurring in a limited area in the town's south end.

"It was just one particular house in town," said Bev Peyton, Town Manager, "On the report it was just one household that didn't get a high enough chlorine reading."

She said that the boil water advisory was simply for precautionary reasons while they fixed a glitch in the treatment system. Payton is hoping that the advisory will be lifted today as the last samples should be tested by an accredited lab soon.

Norris Arm is located at the mouth of the Exploits, Newfoundlands second largest river. Logging has been responsible for most of the town's employment, however in recent years the industry has been lagging slightly in the area.

The town was in the news a couple weeks ago when a 500lb bell was stolen from the Anglican church's cemetery.

It was found a couple days later in an antique store in Bishops Falls a twenty minute drive away.

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The Village of Riverside-Albert, NB, was placed under a boil order on September 26, 2017, due to a water main break and pressure loss. Posts to the Village's Facebook page on September 26 and 27 indicate that the break was due to construction work to improve the water system in the community.

The Village has had its issues with the quality of its drinking water. According to WaterToday's records and the New Brusnwick list of past advisories, Riverside-Albert has been under a boil order 25 times since December 2009.

The same reasons for having residents boil their water kept reoccurring over the last eight years, high turbidity, chlorinator malfunction, and plant malfunctions are examples.

The village was aware of the issues and anticipates coming boil orders. In the December 8, 2014 municipal minutes, Public Works Superintendent Heather Cail said "with very heavy rainfall forecast for later this week, Village residents should once again be prepared for another boil water advisory." It also appears that the water infrastructure is heavily impacted by weather conditions.

The Village has actively worked on improving their water system and as we know construction is underway on those improvements. The available minutes of four meetings in 2017 begin to illustrate that effort.

On January 9, Cail reported "the Village had run into problems related to the acquisition of land for right of way into property planned for the water storage tower, and planning is ongoing." At that time, it was hoped that calls for construction tender would go out by the spring.

On February 9, minutes indicate the Village was in negotiations with a local nursing home for the land and had been approved for "funding under the Canada-New Brunswick Clean Water & Wastewater fund." The Village was to receive $603,971, "to renew the 100mm water mains and service laterals."

During the March meeting, it was reported that their council members had met with members of the Regional Service Commission "regarding asset management requirements," and that the pipe project was in the design stage. It was also reported that the towns rebuilt sewerage pump was once again operational.

The April 10 meeting, the last for which minutes are available, showed progress on the water storage tank, and that the "water pipe refurbishment project is in the design stage which is nearing completion." It was expected to go to tender within weeks.

Since the last available minutes, the Village has been under three boil orders, at times water levels were low, and an October 17 post to the Village's Facebook page alerted villagers to a "scheduled interruption" that was in connection with the water system improvements.

How have the advisories translated into everyday life, how do people deal with frequent interruptions?

A local area resident said that they "drank the water, the entire summer and were fine." They "did not observe any discolouration."

They suggested that the Village's hands may be tied, "treatment standards are very high and that leads to applying boil advisory after boil advisory, leaving towns like Riverside-Albert stuck in a situation if having to take on massive system upgrades, it becomes very hard to [operate]."

Other conversations we had with locals suggest that there is more than one side to this story. In eight years Riverside-Albert has had numerous technical and treatment problems, there are land lease aspects, water storage, low reservoir levels, and the need for system upgrades.

We have contacted the Village Office, they have not yet responded to our request for comment.

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A lodge in Northern British Columbia is under a boil water notice due to water sampling issues.

The Liard Hot Springs lodge is located along the Alaska Highway near the province's border with Yukon Territory.

Its remoteness, although adding to its charm, has unfortunately resulted in water samples not being received by accredited labs in a timely manner.

"It's not that there's something the matter the sample," said Cheryl Burke, the lodge's property manager, "It just takes too long (to be delivered). We send it Fort Nelson and they send it to Fort St. John."

As the journey's a long one which can take well over ten hours, they have been sending the samples by the greyhound bus that runs past the lodge.

"We've got to get up at two AM to get the samples out on the bus," Burke said. She also added that the bus only comes a few times a week.

The managers are currently consulting with Northern Health Authority on coming up with a plan that will work for all parties but have yet to figure anything out.

In addition to the late samples, some work needs to be done on the system.

Northern Health Authority has suggested a flush of the holding tank and well that is used as the lodge's water source.

However, a back-up water truck is needed, as the lodge has run out of fresh water when performing the operation in the past.

Burke said that they were getting set to do the flush soon. In the meantime, they've brought in large 18.9 litre jugs to provide their guests with fresh water while the advisory is in place.

Signs have also been placed on taps around the lodge and water for amenities like coffee is being boiled previous to use.

The lodge is located across the highway from Canada's second largest natural hot spring and acts as a stopping point for tourists heading up to Yukon Territory or Alaska.

They underwent some renovations in spring and re-opened a restaurant for their guests on May 9.

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The Kehewin Cree First Nation, located in Alberta, are in the process of taking measures to end a six year boil water advisory.

The reserve, which is a 20 minute drive from Bonnyville, Alberta and close to the border with Saskatchewan has been under a boil water advisory since April of 2011.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) told this reporter via email that, "The community's raw water source experiences blue-green algae blooms each year and the treatment plant is beyond its lifecycle."

Originally built in the early 1990s, the plant, which draws its water from Lake Kehewin, was supposed to provide water for up to 850 residents. At present there are approximately 1250 living on the reserve. All of whom are affected by the advisory.

Currently, the government and Kehewin Cree Nation are working on a project to complete interim repairs to the existing water treatment plant to ensure it is optimized until a new system is constructed.

Alain Joly, a project manager working for the band's office said that the interim repairs will be to replace parts like valves pumps at the main plant and the pump houses that are used to fill up trucks that deliver the water around the community.

By taking on the $380,000 project, they are attempting to bring the quality level up but don't believe that it will be enough to lift the water advisory.

In the meantime, families are stuck fending for themselves.

"Each individual is using their own methods (to get drinkable water)," Joly said, "At the band office we get bottled water delivered to us. Each home would either do the same or take a chance (with what's delivered to them). If a family can, they buy water, but it can be expensive."

There is hope on the horizon for the community however. INAC told us that a new water treatment plant intended to replace the old one is in the works.

Joly was able to confirm.

"We're in the design phase for the new water treatment plant," he said, adding that they're very close to finished, "We're almost up for tendering, we just need one more meeting. Once it's tendered out we're scheduled for it to be ready for 2019, weather permitting."

Joly is insistent that they don't make the same mistake that happened with the last plant.

"We're taking into account the growth of the community," he said, "It'll have enough capacity to handle growth for the next thirty years."

The project will involve two parts, building the new plant itself and putting in a new transmission line. They are hoping to go from a six inch transmission line to a 10 inch transmission line but haven't received the go ahead to fund it yet.

"We didn't get an answer from the funders yet but we want to get 4.8 km of line so we can bring the water right to the houses, so we don't need to use trucks to deliver the water. We want to service an extra 76 houses."

In April of this year, muddy conditions on the reserve hampered the ability of trucks to reach the houses they were servicing, resulting in a state of emergency being declared.

This advisory is one of 101 First Nations drinking water advisories (DWA) that have been active for over a year. This number doesn't include British Columbia First Nations, Saskatoon Tribal Council or First Nations North of the 60th parallel. As of 2016, Canada has committed to ending long-term DWAs on public systems on reserves within 5 years.

Advisory of the day


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A powerful windstorm affecting the southern part of Saskatchewan knocked out power to a number of communities last week, resulting in water advisories being issued.

The storm, which began on the evening of October 17, had 17 weather stations across the province reporting wind speeds of over 100km/hr.

According to some media reports, Moosejaw was the windiest city on the planet that day with gusts reaching 131km/hr.

11 small communities across the province issued water advisories once their power was knocked out. These include Allan, Alvena, Englefeld, Richmound, Stenen, Togo, Endeavour, Frontier, Lintlaw, Smiley and Dodsland.

A representative from the town of Allan who asked not to be named, told this reporter that the storm knocked out power to the community on the 18th for about seven hours.

A precautionary drinking water advisory was issued on the 19th as the pumps at the treatment plant were not working during the outage.

This resulted in a depressurization of the water supply system, during which contaminants of a chemical and biological nature could enter the system.

Once the power was back up and running a flushing was necessary, after which some testing occurred.

"We're hoping to have it lifted by tomorrow," they said, "We've taken both sets of samples and took them in today to the lab at the SRC (Saskatchewan Research Council) in Saskatoon."

The entire community has been helping to make sure everyone is aware of the advisory.

"Between text messages, Facebook postings, signs and knocking on doors, we've been doing whatever it takes," she said.

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A boil water notice (BWN) is still in place for Silva Bay Marina on the eastern tip of Gabriola Island in British Columbia.

The advisory has been in place since October 10 and is a result of firefighting activities used to put out a blaze at the restaurant on the property.

According to dock manager, Lisa Millard, the fire started in the early hours of October 5th, and destroyed the restaurant/ pub that was on the property.

It is still unknown what started the fire but she believes a wiring issue might have been to blame.

"The local person from the health authority had been down to do testing," Millard said, "It's just a standard boil water notice in the event that some backflow occurred because of fire-fighting equipment. Apparently when they hook up their hoses there's potential for that."

Vancouver Island Health Authority's (VIHA) website says, "Fire department hooked up to system and back flow may have occurred and water system may have been compromised."

They are suggesting that the Silva Bay Marina submit bacteriological samples over the course of two different days. Millard has confirmed that the first have been conducted and the second is scheduled to be taken care of tomorrow.

VIHA is also recommending that they review the UV system to ensure it is operating correctly and that the system is flushed and disinfected by a certified operator.

The BWN will only be affecting a handful of employees says Millard, "It's just the marina. The restaurant was using the water but it's burned down so it's not being used for that purpose anymore. It's only affecting a couple employees as there are no residents or guests."

"We will just bring our own water anyway; it only comes out of the taps in the bathroom (at the marina)."

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The rural municipalities of North Norfolk and Westlake-Gladstone in southern Manitoba are under a boil water advisory (BWA) as of this morning.

The Yellowhead Regional Water Co-op, which services both of these communities, is undergoing some patching up, so the BWA is a precautionary one while the work is being completed.

"Due to planned repairs, the Yellowhead Regional Water Co-op water system will be shut off, leading to depressurization in the line feeding the RM's of North Norfolk and Westlake-Gladstone," said a provincial spokesperson in an email to this reporter.

The advisory will be affecting approximately 400 residents of the two communities located south west of Lake Manitoba.

Once the line becomes pressurized again, testing of the water supply will have to be performed over the course of a day or two.

Should everything go according to plan, the advisory is expected to be lifted before the end of the week.

The water treatment co-op receives treated water from the City of Portage La Prairie, which uses the Assiniboine River as their raw water supply.

It consists of a network of pressure pipelines, booster stations, a pressure reducer station, water storage reservoirs, and meter stations.

It has been largely without incident in the recent past, however, according to their 2016 report, they were experiencing slightly higher than normal trihalomethane (THM) levels. This is typically caused by chlorine, which is added to disinfect the water, reacting to organic material. A compliance plan was in the works, which was intended to improve organics removal and reduce THM formation potential.

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A British Columbia elementary school is under a do not consume (DNC) advisory after their water was found to not meet Canadian drinking water quality guidelines.

Nicholson Elementary in Golden, British Columbia discovered higher than acceptable nitrate concentration on a recent test and as a result the DNC advisory was issued on October 11.

In addition to the nitrates, the well system that supports the school has also been deemed at risk of containing pathogens.

The most recent information available shows the school as having 90 students.

According to a source at British Columbia's Interior Health Authority (IHA), "The school is providing students with bottled drinking water and signage has been placed at taps in the school."

Parents have also been advised of the DNC.

IHA said in an email to this reporter that, "The do not consume and other potential notices or advisories will be lifted when appropriate treatment for nitrates and pathogens are put in place."

As of publication, the Rocky Mountain School District #6 has not provided comment on the advisory.

Some solutions for higher than acceptable nitrates, which can occur from wells being located near to agriculture, include installing reverse osmosis water purifiers or ion exchange water conditioners. These methods tend to reduce the concentration significantly.

As an elementary school, the students make up a particularly vulnerable population to water pollution. So whatever the solution is, it should probably be a well thought out one.

Lead Pipes


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"The adverse health effects of lead exposure in children and adults are well documented, and no safe blood lead threshold in children has been identified." - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Yet today, a Toronto Star analysis of the data provided by the Ministry of Environment of Ontario reveals that more than 640 Ontario schools and daycares failed lead tests in the past two years.

In BC, a recent Vancouver Sun investigation
uncovered that more than half of the province's 60 school districts had unsafe levels of lead in drinking water sources in 2016 and early 2017.

The alarming issue of lead in water, brought to the forefront by the crisis in Flint, MI, has been around since time immemorial yet it remains unsolved to this day.

Have a read of our lead stories below.

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A coastal New Brunswick village is in the middle of an eight week boil water advisory (BWA) while some repairs are done to local infrastructure.

The Village of Port Elgin, located on the mouth of the Gaspereaux River, slightly east of Moncton, has been on the BWA since September 18.

"They emptied the water tower to paint the outside and refurbish the inside," said Donna Hipditch, the village's clerk/ treasurer, "So the water is coming right from the wells. Chlorine is being added but it's not the same as when it's sitting in the tower."

According to New Brunswick Health's website, the planned repairs will have pressure levels dropping below acceptable levels. This will typically necessitate a precautionary BWA, as the low pressure could result in contaminants, like unwanted bacteria or chemicals, leaking in through cracks in depressurized pipes.

Hipditch said that village officials hand delivered notices to the population of around 450 residents.

"And it was put on the news," she said," We have a local lady that runs a grocery store and she (broadcasts) notices on the radio."

There are not any water filling stations in town that people can use. For that, residents will have to travel to nearby Sackville or Amherst.

In 1922 Port Elgin became New Brunswick's first incorporated village, it has been a maritime port of call for over 400 years and according to Hipditch, it is 20 minutes away from everyplace like great beaches and Prince Edward Island.

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A small water system in British Columbia's interior is on a boil water advisory due to unsatisfactory water quality.

The Missezula Lake Waterworks District (MLWD) has been under the advisory since September 29 with microbiological issues being the cause provided by British Columbia's Interior Health agency.

The community, located at the south end of the 4km long Missezula Lake, is primarily frequented by those using it for recreational activities in the summer.

"Approximately 200 households are affected by this boil water advisory,"said Interior Health's Environmental health team in an email,to this reporter "However, it is worth noting this is a highly seasonal community and it is estimated roughly 95 per cent of the community's residents are currently away for the fall/winter."

As of publication, Interior Health has told us that an investigation is taking place at the water source to determine what has occurred.

In the meantime, steps to remedy the issue and follow up testing are currently underway as well.

At this time, it's unclear as to when the advisory will be lifted.

The main water source for MLWD is Missezula Lake. It is then gravity fed from an intake into an in-ground reservoir. Pumps are used to pressurize the water through the system and to the residential properties.

Leaks were discovered in the fall of 2013 at which point repairs to the infrastructure were made to reduce water losses. The water operator for MLWD did not respond to calls and messages.

As recently as May 4, there has been discussion of Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen buying MLWD. The district currently owns nine other water systems across south central British Columbia.

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Residents of the town of Disreali, Québec are forced to boil their water while a newly built water filtration works out a few kinks.

A boil water advisory has been in place for the town, located in the southern part of the province on the shores of Lac Aylmer, since September 27.

Patrice Bissonette, Director General of Disreali, told this reporter in an email that the plant is simply taking a while to get up to full capacity and that the issue was a small one.

"The incident that caused the boil water notice is due to a programming error," he said, "The whole thing was quickly settled, but on the other hand, we must retain the boil water advisory as a preventive measure as long as the computer system is not able to issue the operation reports for the new plant."

The town of 2,212 (Statistics Canada, 2016), might not have thought the matter to be so small when they were alerted by the town's website on the morning the advisory was issued that, " Following a major breakdown of the water system and a complete water supply shutdown , a preventive boil water advisory has come into effect."

To ensure panic didn't occur it was noted that service was scheduled to resume by noon on of the same day, but added that the preventive notice would remain in effect.

A previous bulletin told residents that flushing of the new water system would begin on September 25 and continue every morning from Monday until Friday for the next three weeks, warning that some black water might come out of the faucets but if taps were left running it would dissipate quickly. Of note was an offer for the town's offices to provide stain remover were the unclean water to affect laundered clothes.

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A campaign promise in the unincorporated community of Wroxton, Saskatchewan was kept, resulting in a long standing water advisory being lifted.

While running for the position of reeve for the rural municipality of Calder No. 241 last fall, Roy Derworiz told potential voters that part of his platform would be to rid Wroxton of its multiple-year-long water advisory.

Lo and behold, he followed through on that promise once elected in November of 2016 and last Friday the advisory for elevated turbidity, which had been in place since 2014, was finally lifted.

"It was the perfect weekend gift," said Wendy Becenko, the rural municipality administrator, "Everyone's ecstatic. Some are in disbelief, some are thinking it's about time and others are just happy to be off it."

Becenko said that the community's previous water treatment operator resigned around the time of the election, leaving them able to start anew.

"We hired a new lady, who took the (water treatment management) course to do it for us and hired someone from Saltcoats (a nearby town), who is a water treatment professional to help us out too," Becenko said, "We had to replace a few pumps that weren't working properly and gave a lot of attention to it. At the end of it all we were able to clean up the turbidity levels that were too high to meet the standards."

The community of 27 households were boiling their water and buying jugs up until last weekend.

It can sometimes be difficult for a community of that size to make the necessary changes to older infrastructure.

"It's a small community that you only have so many paying service customers, so you have limited operational funds," Becenko said, "We were also given a [Canada Clean Water and Wastewater - $21,625] grant, which will help a little bit for necessary upgrades."

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Buffalo Pound water treatment plant in Saskatchewan beat out nine competitors this weekend in a taste test at the 69th annual Western Canada Water Conference in Saskatoon.

The plant, which primarily services the cities of Moosejaw and Regina, won the contest for the second time, allowing them to compete in the American Water Works Association's (AWWA) contest, which will be held next year in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Established in 1955, Buffalo Pound water treatment plant serves about 260,000 people, which is approximately a quarter of the province's population.

Of note is that it wasn't always known for its great tasting water.

"Back in the eighties we had some of the worst tasting water in North America," said Ryan Johnson, General Manager of Buffalo Pound, "We were a running joke on Johnny Carson. The water was always safe but aesthetically it was unpleasing." The raw water source for the water the plant uses is the South Saskatchewan River, after which it flows into the man-made Lake Diefenbaker and through the upper and lower Qu'Appelle water systems and then into Buffalo Pound Lake. Buffalo Pound Lake is quite shallow, very trophic and prone to high amounts of algae.

As Johnson put it, "It's not great quality as a water source but it's what we have to work with."

In 1985, the two cities that take their water from the plant made a major investment and installed granular activated carbon contactors (GAC) into the water supply system, which improved the aesthetics of the water dramatically by removing any taste or colour. In addition, the GACs helped the general quality of the water too.

When asked to share the secret to winning a water taste test competition, Johnson divulged the following, "In our case what helps us a lot is our GACs but it also might be how we run the plant. Because we're a wholesale provider we only chlorinate enough to meet regulations."

As the water is then shipped to cities, small communities, a provincial park and a water stand, the plant knows that in many cases it will be re-chlorinated, so doesn't add too much of the chemical in the first place, giving the water a cleaner, more pure taste.

This year, they faced off against White City, Saskatchewan; Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Dauphin, Manitoba; Calgary, Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta; Medicine Hat, Alberta; Red Deer, Alberta; and Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

The judges gave the contestants grades from one to five in three categories: Taste, Clarity and Odour. The city with the highest combined marks takes home the prize.

Johnson stressed that the competition is all for a bit of fun, noting," Our primary duty is to make the water safe at all times. Taste is just an added bonus."

Western Canada Water (WCW), the organisation that puts on the conference is connected to the American Water Works Association, which promotes the exchange of knowledge between various water management related organisations.

WCW's members hail from the northern territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. British Columbia has its own, similar association Kristen McGillivray, Deputy Executive Director for WCW said this year's competition had the highest amount of submissions it's seen.

"It's really gained attention in the last couple years, " she said, "It's something we're wanting to highlight and promote because it is one way that makes it really easy for the public to see what we're doing. Obviously it's water professionals judging it but it's easy for people to understand," adding, "A lot of the public have questions about the water thanks to situations like Flint. We think this is a good way to highlight that the water is safe and there are a lot of people involved in producing safe municipal tap water."

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A boil water advisory (BWA) for the city of Trois-Rivières has just been lifted, according to city officials.

The advisory was put in place on September 26 for the residents of the Cardinal-Roy perimeter in the Cap-de-la-Madeleine area after a drop in pressure within the water system raised concerns of possible contamination.

Trois Riviere, which is located on the St. Lawrence about halfway between Quebec City and Montreal, said on their website that, "No apparent signs to date indicate the presence of bacteria or any other material."

"The goal (of the advisory) was to ensure that drinking water met the standards set by the Government of Québec and that no bacteria could have developed due to this drop in pressure," said Yvan Toutant, a communications representative with Trois-Rivières in an email to this reporter, " In total, 4 500 citizens were informed by our targeted telephony system, our website and by the local news media."

Toutant added that tests that have been carried out over the past 24 hours have yielded good results.

"Fortunately, no bacteria or coliforms have been detected," he said, "Allowing the City of Trois-Rivières to lift the preventive boil today 27 September 2017."

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A boil water advisory (BWA) is still in effect for a small section of the city of Sherbrooke, Québec.

The city, located due east of Montreal in southern Quebec, found a positive test for E.Coli on September 6 in the Huntsville area of the Lennoxville Borough.

40 homes are affected by the BWA.

"It's very small sector, said Michel Cyr, Chief of the Water Management Division in Sherbrooke, "It's a new tap for 40 houses. Here in the city we have more than 70,000 houses and 69,960 are fine."

In the meantime, the residents of those homes, found on Campbell, Pharo, Pleasant View, Mitchell, and Glenday streets, will have to boil their water for drinking and washing fruit and vegetables.

Cyr said that they haven't identified the source of the bacterial contamination but have been flushing the system repeatedly in hopes of clearing it.

"We have also taken hundreds of samples to have a good knowledge of what happened," Cyr said, adding, "We shut off the two wells and shut off the reservoir and also we added more chlorine. Up to now the results are mainly good but they need to be good for a long time before we relieve the boil water notice."

When asked to estimate how long that might be, Cyr said, "Unfortunately I can't say. I hope it will be short. Sometimes it's one week, sometimes it's one month. We don't know when it will be (lifted)."

Up to now, the city has not been providing alternate sources of water for the residents affected.

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The City of Moosejaw, Saskatchewan was put on a boil water advisory over the weekend due to infrastructure issues with their water system.

A burst water main on Friday near the water reservoir on South Hill lead to some necessary emergency repairs and an advisory being issued for residents and businesses in the entire south hill area from 5th Avenue and Lillooet St. West to the city limits.

City officials from the engineering department said that a combination of 2482 residences and businesses were affected by the advisory.

"Our crews are really, really quick," said Craig Hemingway, Communications Manager for the city on a phone interview on Monday afternoon, "They had it pretty much repaired Friday night, so it was just a matter of doing the testing of the water. The labs opened yesterday, so we're looking to get our results back within minutes."

Hemingway said that they did receive verbal confirmation that the customary second test came back negative for contaminants but the city was still waiting for written confirmation before officially rescinding the advisory.

Since speaking with Hemingway, he was able to confirm that the advisory has been officially lifted.

He had mentioned that bursting pipes are becoming somewhat of a common occurrence for the city's crews.

"We've got a lot of decades old infrastructure under our city street," Hemingway said, "In fact, our crews have been busy with 84 water main breaks this year."

In order to make the public aware, Hemingway said that municipal operations teams had the situation locked down within a half hour.

We spread the word through local media, social media, billboard signs, and we hand delivered messages to local businesses and a care home," he said.

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A favourable end is in sight for a long standing boil water advisory in North Western Manitoba.

The residents of the unincorporated community of Sherridon, named after the since closed Sherritt Gordon nickel mines nearby, have been on a BWA since October of 2010.

According to Wendy Vacheresse, Sherridon's Community Administrative Officer, the BWA was issued shortly after a new water system was built.

"The plant, when it was commissioned wasn't meeting the chlorine residuals at the end of the distribution line," Vacheresse said, "The plant wasn't large enough to be doing the job of accommodating the process of making the water to serve the community. At the time there was about 80 people and now there's 108."

She informed this reporter that the government's Indigenous and Northern Relations are in the process of helping provide a water treatment plant expansion.

"They're anticipating that after this expansion, the boil water advisory will be lifted," she said.

Vacheresse went on to mention that the project is currently up on the MERX site, a tendering service for government contracts, and is taking on bids.

"Indigenous and Northern Relations will be coming in with the contractors on October 2," she said, "They'll be meeting with the mayor and council to discuss the expansion."

Right now the council is figuring that the project will be completed by next year with a projected start date of sometime this winter.

As of right now, it's business as usual for residents who have become pretty accustomed to the advisory.

"People are boiling the water or they bring water in from out of town like bottled water or the jugs. No one has their own well," Vacheresse said.

The town has an interesting history, as over 200 buildings formerly located there were put on sleighs and transported hundreds of kilometres to Lynn Lake once the mines went out of business.

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Parts of Sudbury, Ontario are under a drinking water advisory after some routine maintenance went awry this week.

The Sudbury and District Health Unit (SDHU) issued the advisory after hearing of the problem.

Burgess Hawkins, Manager Environmental Health with SDHU told this reporter that the city had a valve break and that their office was notified at approximately 9AM on Thursday morning.

He went on to say that approximately 80 homes are affected by the advisory.

A press release on the SDHU website says that the advisory will be affecting the residents living on, "Lancaster Drive, Windsor Crescent, Tudor Court, Gloucester Court and York Street between Hillsdale Crescent and Gloucester Court."

The release also mentions that boiling the water may not make it safe for drinking, essentially making this a do not consume advisory.

Hawkins said, "It's due to lack of pressure. You see, the pipes in the ground have small leaks but as long as there's pressure in the pipes they leak out. If the pressure goes away there's a chance that something from the outside can get in."

He pointed out that while it's most likely that the worst thing that would enter the system would be bacteria, which can be boiled off, the risk of another chemical resistant to boiling entering the system is enough that a do not consume advisory is the most prudent way to keep residents safe.

At present, workers are expected to finish repairs on the valve on Friday afternoon, at which point there will be some testing done.

"The test results take from 24 to 48 hours," said Shelly Ahmed, a Communications Advisor with the City of Sudbury, "Once they get the results back the advisory should be lifted. The repairs don't take that long but it's the testing of the water that's taking the time. We're thinking Saturday to get the all clear." Ahmed added that the city has alerted residents to nearby water filling stations as well as a water buggy for those affected to fill up water bottles.

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The Town of Bonavista, Newfoundland has been under a boil water advisory (BWA) since September 15.

Situated on the tip of the Bonavista peninsula on the East coast of Newfoundland, the town is undergoing maintenance and repair of their water supply system.

"It is common practice for municipalities to implement a voluntary boil water advisory to residents as a precaution in such cases," said a spokesperson for Service Newfoundland, "It is expected that the Town of Bonavista will be able to lift the current advisory by Monday, pending the completion of this maintenance."

The water supply system, which draws their water from nearby Long Pond, services a population of just over 3500 residents. It's uncertain at this time whether all residents are affected by the advisory.

The first European to set their gaze upon Bonavista is said to have been John Cabot, who upon seeing her shores exclaimed," Buon vista," which translates as, "Oh, happy sight!" Since then, the town was known as a bustling centre of commerce, specifically as it relates to fishing. Many tourists visiting these days take delight in watching puffins, whales or icebergs float by.

This is the 20th water advisory for the town since 2008, many of which were due to low chlorine residuals. Multiple attempts to get a representative from the town to give more details on this advisory and its possible tie-ins to previous BWAs were unfruitful.

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A restaurant in Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia is under a boil water advisory (BWA) as of September 8.

Harbour Fish and Fries, located on Highway 7 opposite the railway museum, had a bacterial issue in its latest series of tests, so the BWA was put in place as a precautionary measure.

An email from a provincial representative gave us some insight as to what the issue is and when the BWA it might be lifted.

"Harbour Fish and Fries have been put on a boil advisory due to total coliforms in their water," Chrissy Matheson, a media relations advisory for the Department of Environment, said, "We are awaiting additional tests that we are expecting soon, and if those come back negative then the boil order will be lifted."

Judging by the more-than-favourable Yelp reviews the restaurant receives, they have a loyal customer base that they work hard to impress.

Restaurants in this instance will typically sell bottled water to their customers and either boil the water they intend on using for cooking, or purchase jugs for the purpose.

"We had a little bit of bacteria in our water but that was corrected with the new sample," said Paul Fleming, manager for Harbour Fish and Fries, "Sometimes the screen at the end of the spout can be a little dirty and without proper cleaning it doesn't take much to get a negative sample."

He said that since the screen was cleaned an initial sample of the water has come back clean.

"I'm taking a new sample tomorrow (September 21) and if that comes back clean we should be good."

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Bridge construction necessitated a boil water advisory (BWA) for a British Columbia town this week.

The Village of Zeballos, located on the North West coast of Vancouver Island, has been hard at work since June 5 constructing the Sugarloaf Bridge.

As the project has been nearing completion, water had to be shut off as of September 12 in order to install a permanent waterline across the bridge. The BWA that followed the shut off was placed as a precautionary measure.

According to Eileen Lovestrom, the village's Chief Administrative Officer, the advisory will only be affecting those on the east side of the Zeballos River, which amounts to about 75 residents.

"Construction involving the waterline is finished as of yesterday," said Lovestrom," And I think the final test has gone off to the lab today. If all goes well, we'll have the water advisory lifted by late Wednesday or early Thursday."

In order to spread the word of the advisory, Lovestrom said village workers went door-to-door posting notices for those affected.

"Door-to-door is the most effective way of letting people know," she said," but we are also using social media and the village's website."

The village, known for its rich mining history and beautiful scenery, has had four boil water advisories due to the construction of the bridge. However, spirits still remain high among the residents.

"It's just about finished," Lovestrom said, "We're getting a brand new bridge and we're all really excited about it!"

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On September 5, residents of Hudson, Québec were invited to hear the presentation given by the Infrastructure Committee. The committee was to present an "update on the potable water situation in [the Town], the measures currently in place to improve the situation, as well as some long-term planning ideas." It has been reported that Hudson is looking to the Ottawa River as a source of potable water. We contacted the Town of Hudson for more information.

We spoke with Simon Corriveau, Superintendent of Water Treatment in Hudson, he explained that the town "has [imposed] water bans for the last few years because we are unable to pump enough water from our wells to meet peak demand." This years ban was implemented on June 13 and lifted on September 8. The town has water shortages this is why they are "moving to dig a new well, and the contract has been given to hydrologists to [locate] the best spot," Corriveau said.

Corriveau explained that the Infrastructure Committee "was formed four years ago after the last municipal elections," to discuss challenges and provide solutions for Hudson. Their mandate went beyond the town's infrastructure. The committee itself is comprised of "mostly citizens," Corriveau added.

It was this committee "who thought it would be a good idea to take water from the Ottawa River," Corriveau said.

The project is in the initial stages, no impact studies have been carried out "the committee said that this is something that should be looked into," he said.

There are no real financial numbers associated with the project, though it was mentioned at the presentation that it would cost between $12 and $15 million to complete. Corriveau said that "those numbers are rough estimates based on similar projects in other municipalities." According to the minutes of the regular Council meeting held two days after the presentation, council voted unanimously to "appoint a water advisory committee."

Hudson is on to the next step of changing their source of drinking water which Corriveau said "is to contact other municipalities to see if they would be interested in joining the project, and conducting feasibility studies." There are still many steps to take before this project is complete, and the town still has to complete a new well to meet their short-term water needs.

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A September 11 post to the Potlotek Events and Community News Facebook page recommended the Mi'kmaq community not consume, bathe, or wash clothes with their water. The post asked residents "to bring any water jugs they may have to the hall so we can prepare to supply drinking water."

An email from an Environmental Health Officer from Health Canada (HC) to the community stated that "the latest [test] results show both Manganese and Iron concentrations in the drinking water supply are in exceedance of the Aesthetic Objectives set out in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality."

The Canadian objective for iron is no more than 0.3 mg/L and 0.05 mg/L for manganese.

We communicated with Maryse Durette, Senior Media Relations Advisor for Health Canada, via email. Durette said that "iron and manganese affect the quality of the water and contributes to discolouration, foul odours, and staining of plumbing fixtures." This was why HC recommended the DWA and recommends using "an alternative source of water."

Higher concentrations of the two metallic substances can be related to seasonal change, and "there are no known health impacts associated with the reported levels of iron and manganese," Durette added.

Iron and Manganese concentrations can rise and fall naturally, and Durette clarified "there is no set timeframe for the levels to return to normal." For the time being HC will work with the Potlotek First Nation and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to monitor the situation and provide further recommendations.

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The Town of Smithers, British Columbia has been under a preventative boil water advisory since September 1st due to consecutive water sample results containing coliform bacteria.

According to the town's Chief Administrative Officer, Anne Yanciw, water issues within the town are more than rare.

"Smithers is one of those super lucky communities that has never, ever had a boil water notice," Yanciw said, "So for this community it feels like a bigger thing than for say another town that has one every couple years."

The town credits a protected aquifer with a large clay barrier for their previously untainted water. Yanciw said that the water's so clean that it doesn't needed to be treated with chlorine or other disinfection agents at all.

"Our water has always tested where we don't require any treatment whatsoever," she said, "We do an annual shock with very low levels of chlorine but that's about it."

Currently, the town is cleaning its reservoirs and running a much stronger chlorination cycle thoroughly through the system. "This concentration is ten times our annual regime," Yanciew said, "We also have a very complicated directional flow occurring and because we will need the disinfection to cycle through the system to begin the process of sampling, we estimate (that the advisory could last) anywhere from ten to fifteen days."

In conjunction with Northern Health BC, a number of sites across town have been chosen for sampling once the disinfection agent has run its course.

For spreading the news of the advisory around, Yanciew told us that town is relying on three methods: media releases, the town website and social media.

"Our mayor has an extremely active social media page that he uses for town notifications," she said. Smithers is located close to two provincial parks and is well known for being a jaunt away from Hudson Bay mountain, a well lauded ski resort.

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The town of Hanley, Saskatchewan is under a precautionary boil water advisory as of September 11 due to some much needed system upgrades.

Located 65km south of Saskatoon, the small farming community is replacing the pumps and motors in their water distribution system as well as adding some alarm systems for their operators.

"The system started up in the early sixties it has looked pretty rough recently," said Darice Carlson, Chief Administrative Officer for Hanley, "We got clean water and waste water funding from Building Canada Fund which is a new grant that came out this year," adding, "It's tremendous. It's a $103,000 project and we're getting $77,000 from the grant to make sure we can proceed."

The town has no industry outside of agriculture, so the added boost was much appreciated.

Problems with the pumps came to a head in early spring when the town last issued a boil water advisory.

"We were having trouble with our pumps in March," Carlson said, "Our electrician was jimmying them to keep them running, so it was overdue that we needed to replace them."

The town's 511 residents will all be affected by the advisory, as will five farms, located just outside of town that the systems services.

"I just had a famer in this morning who wanted to get into the truck fill and I had to tell her that you can't drink it," said Carlson, "So we do have some other local farmers that are still coming in here looking for water." The town is hoping that the advisory will be lifted by this Saturday. Construction should be completed by Thursday at which point the operators will run samples to a lab in Saskatoon.

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The City of Regina is dealing with near record levels of water main breaks due to the shifting soil and dry weather. These types of events happen annually in the city and late summer into the fall is peak season. Unusually high temperatures and virtually no rain through the summer has city work crews responding to a greater number of cases.

We spoke with Pat Wilson, Director of Water Works for the City of Regina, who explained that the city's water infrastructure consists of "old cement pipes [in] clay soil." The soil dries out over the summer months and begins to shift, and "the [cement] pipes are not very flexible."

The damage the shifting soil causes is not limited to the water distribution system Wilson said that "this is a problem that Regina home owners are familiar with, they can tell you about basement cracks."

This summer Regina experienced the driest July on record, and there is still little precipitation which may cause additional problems. If there isn't enough of a snowpack in the coming months "this could lead to more leaks and cracks in our secondary break season." which is January through March. Not only does the city have to deal with soil shifting when it is dried out it also has to deal with it when the ground thaws.

Wilson said that for the time being the city is "mostly doing repairs, [though] we do have a Proactive Program," which targets the areas most frequently touched by water main breaks to replace the concrete infrastructure with something modern and more flexible. The city is "behind schedule [on repairs], we are adding additional crews, and should be in a position to catch up in October to November."

At the end of August Regina had 65 active leaks, not to mention well over 100 for the year. In the month of August alone registered 71 new leaks which are nearing the record of 79 set back in 2003.

The city maintains no home will be without water for more than 24 hours and install emergency connections where needed. The situation that has resulted from the extreme weather is not over, and the city "will continue to monitor the situation."

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Last week parts of Longueuil, Québec, just south of Montréal was placed under a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) on September 6, after laboratory test found the presence of E. Coli in the drinking water. More than a quarter of a million South Shore residents were affected by this BWA.

Everything went according to plan and the BWA was lifted approximately 48 hours later on the afternoon of September 8.

Over the weekend reports began to surface that a Thai Express restaurant in Boucherville, one of four areas touched by this event in Longueuil, was serving clients fountain drinks during the BWA. The issue is that soda fountains require a connection to the water supply.

Julie Lavigne, Boucherville Communications Director, confirmed that all residents and restaurants "were advised [of the BWA] by our automatic message system, and notices were posted on our website and our Facebook and Twitter accounts." The automatic message service is a service that citizens register for to be alerted to important information such as a BWA. Lavigne added that those that are registered for the service "are contacted annually to update their contact information."

We contacted the Thai Express in question and spoke with the owner who only identified herself as Miao. The owner denied outright serving clients fountain drinks or tap water. She said "the water that we served to clients was from bottles," suggesting that the individual cups of water was transferred from their stock of bottled water.

The owner explained that these measures were taken as soon as she was informed of the BWA, and asked "did something happen?"

The initial report by Télévision Rive-Sud (TVRS) stated that "an employee assumed 'everything was okay' due to the fact that the restaurant was not contacted since [the advisory was first announced] and why no measures were put in place." The advisory that was issued by Boucherville said that "a new announcement will be issued once the situation is restored."

We contacted Sésame, another restaurant in the same complex as Thai Express, to see how the situation played out there. Managerial staff at Sésame said that they were advised and they quickly put measures in place to ensure safety. We were informed that clients "were given free bottled water [and], this was not something we were required to do."

Restaurants in Boucherville appear to have been informed of the BWA and the circumstances behind it. According to the owner of Thai Express, they were informed and took measures to address it, though there is the report that says otherwise. Whether or not clients were served fountain drinks during the BWA only those who ate there between September 6 to 8 know for sure.

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A mini putt course in Martintown, Ontario has been under a boil water advisory since early summer.

Straight Shooter Mini-Putt, which also doubles as an ice cream parlour was put on advisory in July when tests showed that they had higher than acceptable bacteriological levels in their water supply.

According to a representative from Eastern Ontario Health, "Repeated changes in chlorine levels have so far been unsatisfactory."

"At this point in time, they're using bottled water," said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health for Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

As for when the advisory will be lifted, Dr. Roumeliotis said, "It's in their corner at this point. We always work with operators to see what they can do to rectify the problem."

At this point in time, the course operators will retest the water until they've come up with the right solution.

"In many situations (the operators) are anxious to remove it and they act on it," said Dr. Roumeliotis, "We're satisfied they're not using the non-potable water."

Calls placed to Straight Shooter Mini-Putt went unreturned.

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A small water system outside Regina has been on a precautionary drinking water advisory (PDWA) since July of 2006.

When the city of Regina experiences high water usage, The Boggy Creek Well system that supplies two rural customers outside the province's capital city may use un-chlorinated groundwater.

According to a representative from Saskatchewan's Water Security Agency (WSA), the customers receive properly chlorinated water most of the time.

"The City wells would only be used when there is a Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant outage," said Patrick Boyle, Director of Corporate Communications for WSA in an email to this reporter, "This has occurred on average about once every 2 years and usually last for less than a day."

Boyle also mentioned that the WSA is working with the City of Regina to rescind the PDWA, and make the City issue Drinking Water Advisory notices to the 2 customers when the high water usage instances arise.

They are hoping to resolve the issue so that the advisories are no longer a problem but did not inform this reporter of any solutions they have in mind.

WSA informed us that the rural customers are aware of the situation and do not complain.

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A long standing boil water advisory (BWA) has been lifted at Grand Valley Campgrounds in Brandon, Manitoba.

A spokesperson for the province confirmed in an email that the advisory was issued in 2013 due to elevated bacteria in the drinking water.

They went on to write that, "Routine bacteriological monitoring over the 2017 operating period indicates the water is safe for consumption."

Husband and wife, Jordan and Catherine Ross took over the lease on the campgrounds, which are located on a provincial park, in 2015 and have been working to bring it back up to code since.

"The well wasn't looked after properly in the past years, so we took some steps and worked with the drinking water authority to get (the BWA) lifted," said Jordan Ross, "This summer we were doing monthly tests that come out positive, so we were able to lift it recently.

The camp has 22 electrical sites and another 10 un-serviced sites on its grounds.

According to Ross, it is a seasonal camp with shallow pipes, so as soon as it gets cold, they are going to have to drain the system.

That being said, they plan on keeping the campground open as long as the weather permits.

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A precautionary boil water advisory (BWA) has been in place for the residents of Angusville, Manitoba since September 5.

The community, located within the Rural Municipality of Riding Mountain West underwent a cleaning of their reservoir recently. Since a loss of water pressure in the Angusville distribution system was unavoidable and depressurization comes with a risk of compromising the safety of the water supply, a BWA was ordered.

According to an email received from a spokesperson for the Office of Drinking Water, "The approximately 500 residents of Angusville were asked to boil water as a precautionary measure until Public Works staff completed flushing and testing of the distribution system. The duration of the advisory is considered short-term and will be rescinded once testing confirms the water is safe for consumption."

Brad Burla, the municipality's Utility Operator said that reservoir had not been cleaned for a while and the community had been experiencing issues with discoloured water.

To notify the residents, Burla said, "A notice went up on everybody's door that we were doing the work four days in advance and the boil water advisory was attached to the door the day of."

He went on the say that the cleaning work was completed on Tuesday and they are now waiting on bacteria samples to determine whether they can lift the advisory.

If tests coming back negative, it could be rescinded as soon as Monday.

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A boil water notice (BWN) has been in effect for those serviced by the Ootsa Lake Community Water System in central British Columbia since September 2007.

According to BC's Northern Health Unit's website, the system, which draws water from a nearby lake was built without adequate disinfection equipment.

It goes on to mention that the residents appear unconcerned about the lack of potable water and that there is little chance of public exposure to the water beyond the residents themselves.

Northern Health has warned the residents of the non-potability of the drinking water due to the presence of coliform bacteria.

In addition, water system operators have been advised to apply for a construction permit to install disinfection equipment as well as what equipment would be needed to bring the system up to code.

"For the vast majority of boil water notices, we work collaboratively with a cooperative operator. Our typical process when advisories of this kind are not heeded is to follow a route of progressive enforcement with the operator in order remove the boil water notice in a safe and timely manner," said Andrea Palmer, a spokesperson for Northern Health in an email to this reporter, " If the operator is not cooperative, the Environmental Health Officer may be required to issue an order and/or ticket. If this enforcement route is still not successful, court action may be required. However, in this particular case, there is no specified operator or owner of the water system, which complicates enforcement."

As it turns out, the water system was a gift to the users from the Canadian mining company, Alcan. While they funded the distribution system, society members were expected to use their own money to install a treatment system. However, since all the users of the water system are private homeowners and there is no specified operator for the water system, it is difficult to order all the independent users to install water treatment, especially considering there is a lack of funds available.

"The risks of drinking untreated surface water were communicated to the water users," said Palmer, adding, "Recent users are content with the status of the water system and have accepted the risks associated with the water system. Communications with the water users is ongoing and action will be taken to address any concerns if they are brought forth by the water users."

As it stands the present water system is non-conforming to the Drinking Water Protection Act and the BWN will remain in place.

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An E.Coli scare has prompted a boil water advisory (BWA) for residents in parts of the city of Longueuil, Québec as of the afternoon of September 6.

Laboratory findings indicated positive tests for E.Coli bacteria in the water supply system supplying the neighbourhoods of Saint-Hubert, Boucherville and Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville. This is the largest of the city's three water systems.

Located across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal, 264,000 of the city's residents are affected by the advisory.

According to city spokesperson, Louis-Pascal Cyr, they haven't discovered the source of the E.Coli yet.

"When we received the lab results we discovered that at one point there was some contamination," said Cyr, "It's very rare that the problem comes from the water treatment facility. A common cause is there are some public works somewhere like a construction site and someone has hit the pipes (resulting in contamination)."

He added that the samples could have just been improperly handled at the lab but at this point they are exploring many avenues to find out the cause.

Follow up samples have been taken and they are waiting to find those results before determining next steps.

"Before taking drastic measures, like flushing the entire system, we need to be really sure what the result of the tests are," said Cyr, "The Québec provincial regulation on water quality is making us take two separate series of sample before we're able to lift the advisory. It takes about 24 hours for a sample to grow in the lab, so the ball park is about a 48 hour delay before we can lift."

To alert residents of the advisory, the city of Longueuil will rely on a few different mediums. In addition to spreading the word through traditional media, they have electronic billboards that will be permanently showing the BWA information. The city's social media pages are also active and followers have been tagging other residents to inform them to be wary. They also have a call system set up where people who are on the land line directory or have registered their cell phones will receive automated phone messages or texts with relevant information.

Advisory of the day


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Early last week, staff from Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) observed a "discolouration" in the Thames River. This prompted the group to contact the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) whose staff conducted sample testing. In a release on August 30, LTVCA stated that the MOECC test results indicated that the discolouration "was a cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) bloom," and that it was the same species that caused problems for drinking water intakes on Lake Erie.

We spoke with Austin Pratt, LTVCA Water Quality Specialist, to get a better sense of the situation.

Pratt said that "water levels in the Thames river through Chatham are controlled by the water levels in Lake St. Clair, so even though there has been minimal rainfall the past few weeks, there is still a significant depth of water." The problem is that it is virtually stagnant. Pratt explained, "the water is just sitting there because there is no push from higher flows upstream." He added, "this combined with warm weather, resulted in favourable conditions for the growth of blue-green algae."

Last month we saw that in Chatham-Kent there are still quite a few agricultural lands, perhaps farming or another local activity may have had an affect on the bloom? Pratt said that "excess nutrients including Phosphorus are a chronic issue within the Thames watershed." The river itself "has been targeted in the Draft Domestic Action Plan,[...] to reduce the frequency of [algal] blooms." Aside from that Pratt confirmed that "no local activities or discharge events have been identified, which could have triggered this particular bloom."

The bloom is "confined to a beach in the immediate vicinity of Chatham, and is distributed throughout the water column, however, there is no apparent concentration on the surface." Since the initial observation, the intensity of the colour has lessened and Pratt attributes this to "stronger winds and cooler temperatures." However, the lab analysis "confirmed the presence of Cyanobacteria as Oscillatoria and Microcystis species." No notice of a toxin analysis has been given and no impacts on wildlife have been reported.

We approached Pratt on what LTVCA would like to see done about the situation and he had this to say. "This blue-green algae bloom wasn't triggered by a particular event, which reinforces that this is a watershed-wide issue that needs to be dealt with." This begins with phosphorus reductions, Pratt is realistic reductions "to the target levels will require the implementation of multiple best management practices over much of the landscape, paying particular attention to reducing wet weather loadings most often associated with the timeframe outside of the growing season."

The situation on the Thames River watershed is such that there needs to be a reduction is phosphorus. To achieve this on the scale described by Pratt will take "significant resources including funding to meet targets," there has to be enough staff to make the required interventions. In the meantime, the MOECC and LTVCA will continue to monitor the situation.

Advisory of the day


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The Municipalité de Ragueneau, in the Côte-Nord Region of Québec, was placed under a Boil Water Advisory on August 21. According to the notice on the town website, and social media pages there were "low levels of chlorine in the distribution system following [a] power outage."

The notice remains front and centre on Ragueneau's homepage; it however does not appear on the listing published by the Ministère de Développement durable, Environnement et Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) because the province does not publish water advisories caused by repairs or maintenance as it is not a requirement under Québec's Regulation respecting the quality of drinking water and it is up to the owners of these systems to report the advisories. We contacted the town to clarify the situation.

Ragueneau Administration confirmed that "the [BWA] is still in effect until we receive new orders." The necessary samples have been sent for testing and "results are expected this afternoon." If all goes well the advisory "will be lifted this afternoon or early tomorrow morning."

NOTE: The adivsory remains in effect Sunday, September 3rd.

Advisory of the day


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On August 24, 2017, a Do Not Consume (DNC) advisory for Parc du lac Témiscouata, a Québec national park, was listed on the website of the Ministère de Développement durable. Environnement, et Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC). The notice points to Petit lac Touladi, though no additional information regarding why the advisory was issued was provided. Further, there was no mention of it on the park's website.

To get a sense of what was happening we spoke with Denis Ouellete, Park Director. What Ouellette told us was "there was a temporary irregularity" found in test results. He assured us that the issue only affects the administrative installations and does not impact the camp sites.

Ouellette said, "that is why we have that advisory, and we will continue to perform tests." This situation is not new, he said "this has happened in the past." He suggested that the weather has had an impact on the aquifers stating, "it did not rain much this summer."

Visitors to the park should not be alarmed, Ouellette underlined that "it is nothing major, really only affects the administration at Petit lac Touladi." No timetable for when the advisory will be lifted was provided.

Municipal Water


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Ville de Gatineau announced yesterday that it will modernize the water treatment plant in the Hull Sector. In a news release, the city said while the work is ongoing the system will not be shut down which was described as "a sizeable logistical challenge, requiring every step be perfectly coordinated."

To facilitate the effort Gatineau has issued a mechanical water ban in the Sectors of Hull and Aylmer to "maintain a steady and constant supply of water." Mechanical watering is described by the city as "any form of watering other than manual that involves a hose." This ban is in effect as of this morning through December 1.

The city is also asking residents in the affected sectors to reduce their water consumption. We spoke with Yves Melanson, Gatineau Media Relations, who said the city will be encouraging actions like "not running the dishwasher or washing machine during peak hours" of consumption.

Melanson explained that the work is necessary because "the treatment plant and parts that are being replaced dates back to 1971, [and] the system needs to be brought up to standards set out by the Québec government."

Maintaining the operations of the system while undergoing upgrades is a regular practice, though it doesn't make it any easier. Melanson described as "like flying an aeroplane while having work done on the engines." The same approach was used when the Gatineau Sector had its water treatment plant upgrades done.

If any major problems arise during the work Melanson said that the city "has a backup system." To ensure that residents comply with the ban inspectors will begin patrols of these areas this fall.

Advisory of the day


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Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) listed the Salmon Pool Inn, in Margaree Centre, under a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) on August 24. The reasons are not listed for Public (Individual) Water Supplies. We contacted the Salmon Pool Inn for more information.

We spoke with Bob Short, the owner of the Inn, he said that "regular tests [that he] does every year, came back positive for coliform."

It was in a conversation with the operators of the restaurant on his property that Short realized that the Inn's water system was "not registered". He immediately contacted NSE about the situation. NSE informed Short that "this was nothing to worry about, there is enough time," to remedy the situation.

Short was also instructed to install an Ultraviolet Light disinfection system and a new cap for the well. The first samples were brought in for testing this morning, and the second sample will be tested early next week. As of now, there is no timeline for removing the advisory.

Blue-Green Algae Advisory


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Douglas Lake Blue-green Algae
Photo Courtesy of Brian Holmes, Upper Nicola Band Councilor

Fish were noticed floating in the south end waters of Douglas Lake, British Columbia, by an Upper Nicola Band (UNB) members on August 10. UNB Councilor Brian Holmes said that "overnight the water changed colour." An investigation was launched by the community and samples were taken and analyzed by the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).

Holmes explained that it was believed that the discolouration of the water was in fact a blue-green algae bloom and the fish deaths may be related. FNHA advised the band to "issue [blue-green algae] advisories whether or not" test results confirm the presence of the bacteria". The lab results "came back 100% positive" for blue-green algae, Holmes said.

Around the time the bloom began to form on the lake, the area was experiencing a period of "dead weather, no wind or precipitation," Holmes said. Once the wind and rain picked up the bloom is less noticeable. Holmes added the blue-green algae is "still present along the shore." The community is now waiting on the return of the toxicity tests.

Holmes explained that "the community hasn't been that affected by this bloom, we get our drinking water from another source well away from the lake." What is worrisome is that the community "uses the lake as a food source."

There have been four fish species that were observed to have been killed "Sucker, Prickly Sculpin, Shiners, and White Fish." Blooms remove oxygen from the water and Kokanees are most vulnerable in low oxygen situations.

Blue-green algae forms when there is a presence of phosphorous or nitrogen in the water. Holmes said that there is an "alfalfa field that is rich in nitrogen" in the area and suggest this may have had an impact on the lake.

The advisory remains in place for the time being, and Holmes said that "given the weather [the advisory] will remain until at least the end of September. Until then those that leave in the community will refrain from recreational activities in Douglas Lake.

Advisory of the day


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A Water Quality Advisory (WQA) is still in effect for the townspeople of Radium Hot Springs in British Columbia.

High Turbidity in the village's water source, Forster's Creek had the potential to overwhelm their water treatment system, so the advisory was placed on August 23 as a precaution.

All 776 of Radium Hot Spring's residents are affected.

According to a news report update on the village's website, "This turbidity, or suspended particulate matter, is primarily composed of rock flour, which originates from the five glaciers that feed into the creek."

"It is simply a water quality advisory that was placed on our distribution system due to a high turbidity event that hit our plant," said Mark Read, Chief Administrative Officer for the Radium Hot Springs, "Conditions have been improving. The plant is now dealing with the additional turbity which has gone down."

The update on the website pointed out that the water treatment plant is handling the high concentrations of sediment very well, and the treated water leaving the water treatment plant is meeing the Interior Health standards for turbidity.

They are continuing to provide full disinfection of the drinking water with both ultraviolet light and chlorination.

That being said, turbidity levels within the water line distribution system remain high and will continue to do so until the water lines are flushed and residual sediment that has accumulated is removed.

Read went on to say that the village's water treatment engineers are in the process of flushing water mains this week and he's confident that one that's completed, the advisory will lift. He thinks that should occur by this Friday (September 1).

Advisory of the day


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New Brunswick's Public Health Advisories and Alerts listed the Ville de Lamèque under a Boil Order on August 14. The reason listed was a power outage "that affected the water pressure in the entire system." Subsequently, there was no water in the system.

The Boil Order is still listed on the provincial government's website. The town's website has no posting referring to the Boil Order or power outage. We did find, however, a post from July 18th which stated that "upgrades to the drinking water reservoir are currently underway."; the work was expected to last until the end of this month and that resident may experience a loss of water pressure.

Digging further into the municipality's online presence we found that Lamèque operates a social media page on Facebook. On this page, we found an important notice to residents that announced the Boil Order, which was posted on August 13 a full day before the listing on the provincial site. The power outage and its effects on the drinking water system were not mentioned.

Three days later on August 16, at 5:42 in the morning Lamèque posted that the Boil Order had been removed. The province still has the order listed as of this morning. We contacted the New Brunswick Department of Health about the discrepancy.

Sarah Williams, Communications Officer, confirmed the cause of the Boil Order and listing date. The Boil Order was in fact "lifted on August 16 and will be removed from the list of current boil orders on the website shortly."

Advisory of the day


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Ville Sainte-Marie issued a Boil Water Advisory for its residents yesterday. The reason given in the notice posted on town's website was "unacceptable test results." The advisory does not apply the entire territory of Ville Sainte-Marie, a perimeter inside the city is not affected by the test results and advisory.

Maude-Emmanuel Drouin, Supervisor of Water and Municipal Building Engineering Services, confirmed "analysis of one of the three samples taken during the weekly tour demonstrated the presence of E. coli." She added "the other two samples taken at the end of the network that was analyzed, show us that the water in the network at these locations is free of bacteria." Drouin suggested that "there is every reason to believe that this result obtained at the town hall is due to a manipulation error during sampling or in the laboratory."

"Since the health of the population is paramount and the city does not want to take any chances, an advisory was issued as soon as the results we received the results from the laboratory," Drouin said.

The reason the sector an area of the city was not affected by the BWA is because "there are two levels of pressure in the City of Sainte-Marie, one gravity and one overpressure." The unaffected area is serviced by the overpressure system which did not return unacceptable test results." Drouin said that the two systems use a separate pipe system "thus it is impossible for the water in the gravity network to interfere with the overpressure network."

When the presence of E. coli was detected in the samples yesterday, "a series of 10 additional tests were carried out on the gravity network and sent to the laboratory," Drouin said. Another series of 10 was taken this morning. Receipt of the results from the last round of tests is expected by "noon tomorrow at the latest." If results are acceptable the anticipated removal of the BWA should be early afternoon tomorrow.

Advisory of the day


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On August 11, the Municipality of Colchester announced on their website that "until further notice, users of the Lower Truro Water Spring at 3642 Highway 236, are required to boil water for at least a minute," before consuming. The cause of the Boil Order is a case of "unauthorized tampering with the water treatment system." No other specifics were announced.

We contacted the Municipality for clarification.

Michelle Newell, Director of Public Works, explained that the Lower Truro Water Spring "is an overflow from a private well where members of the public fill their water bottles." she added that "a number of years ago, the Municipality agreed to take over maintenance of this overflow and a UV disinfection system was installed." The site and piping are exposed and are next to the road.

An issue was noticed a few weeks ago, it was discovered that "the UV system had developed a leak, and although it was still functioning, the discharge was much slower than usual," Newell said. It was at this time that an unknown member of the public tampered with the UV disinfection system. Newell said that the person "modified the system by disconnecting the UV system and creating a by-pass where individuals could fill their jugs without having to wait."

Newell underlined that the "site is not manned, nor [are there] cameras at the site, so there is no way of knowing who vandalized the system." There has been no investigation opened into the incident, though the Municipality has "plans in place to further secure the site to prevent this type of vandalism from happening again."

A new UV system has just been delivered to the municipality and is waiting to be installed. For the time being users of this public well will have to continue boiling any water they take from it. Newell said the "project timeline for removal of the Boil Order is one week from today."

The Municipality must have two clean bacteriological samples 24 hours apart standard in these situations.

Advisory of the day


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On Saturday, the Ville de Gatineau issued a Preventative Boil Water Advisory (PBWA) for two Gatineau sectors. The PBWA was linked to road work in the area.

We spoke with Yves Melanson, with the Gatineau Communications Department, who said that the PBWA "was indeed due to roadwork being done in the area that necessitated lowering the water pressure." Being that at least one of the communities is at "a higher elevation, on a hill, pressure would not have been sufficient." to supply the area and it was thought best to issue the PDWA.

Gatineau has been under BWAs a surprising 48 times since 2008. Melanson said that this is "mostly related [road] work, though weather such as strong precipitation, or other circumstances" can also result in the city issuing a BWA. A few years back a "transport truck hit a fire hydrant, which lowered water pressure in the delivery system, a PDWA was issued for this."

The municipality kept the public informed during the period, albeit brief. Gatineau not only posted the notice, it also created a direct link to it via an email alert on their homepage. The city also boasts a page that describes the BWA process in Gatineau, detailing how the municipality will inform the public. Gatineau even provided a map outlining the affected areas.

The road work that caused this PDWA has had residents boiling water for at least a minute before consuming for 48 hours. The Gatineau website states that BWAs in the city usually last around two days. Residents should not have to wait much longer according to Melanson the PDWA "should be lifted tomorrow if all goes well with sample testing."

Advisory of the day

Advisory of the day


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An eight-year long boil water advisory (BWA) was recently lifted at Wild Oaks Campground in Richer, Manitoba.

For readers who saw our holiday water reports from the beginning of summer, this type of multi-year water advisories at camps, lodges and RV parks are all too common, so it is of note when the right steps are taken to provide visitors with a safe water supply.

In this instance Wild Oaks had been issued their BWA in late September of 2009. At the time they were not using proper disinfection techniques and they were neglecting to take routine bacteriological sampling.

The Wild Oaks Campground public water system is a seasonal system with approximately 114 service connections and water is provided by a groundwater well.

John Neufeld, a public affairs specialist with Communications Manitoba was able to outline some of the steps that the camp took into order to have their water advisory rescinded.

"Secondary treatment consisting of in-line chlorination was confirmed to be installed July 2, 2015," he informed us via email, adding, "An operating licence was issued to the system in September 2015."

Although the camp now had the proper equipment, they were still found to be wanting in their submission of samples, however, "Following enforcement activities in 2017, the system has submitted bi-weekly bacteriological samples since end of June 2017," Neufeld wrote, "Chlorine monitoring reports have indicated the free and total chlorine residuals have been monitored daily at the treated sampling tap for the months of May, June, and July. All daily readings have measured above the required at a minimum of 0.5 mg/L at the treated water sampling location established by the Drinking Water Officer."

After meeting all the conditions set by the province, the BWA was lifted on August 14, 2017.

Advisory of the day


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In early July, WaterToday reported on a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) issued for Saint-Sixte Québec, in the Outaouais Region. The advisory was issued on July 7, and the website for the Ministère du Développement durable et Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDLCC) does not list reasons for advisories. We contacted a neighbouring community who was not affected by the advisory, where was were told that the municipal offices were closed for vacation.

According to the MDDLCC site on August 7, 2017, Saint-Sixte was placed back under a BWA. Once again, the reason is not given. Two BWAs exactly one month apart, something did not seem right.

We again tried contacting the Municipal Office, multiple times, with no success. The same message stating that the offices are open "Monday to Thursday, inclusively, from 8 am to 6 pm." There is still no mention of the BWA on the town's website.

We came across a Facebook page dedicated to the municipality which is run by local mechanic Jean-François Lamond, who said that he was informed "that the offices had moved," though he was unaware of the reason for the move.

Lamond said that he "received a notice," indicating the end of the BWA issued in July. He added that "the same day or the day after [he] received another notice that indicated that the government had not accepted," lifting the previous BWA. Being that he operates a garage Lamond posted the notice to ensure his clients' safety, and he continued saying "that was two weeks ago and I haven't had any news since."

The water issues in Saint-Sixte just don't seem to go away. The underlying reasons for the two BWAs are still unknown. Somehow the status of the Municipal Office and the way the information for the BWA is being handled are connected.

Advisory of the day


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A small water system servicing a gated waterfront community on Balsam Lake in the Kawarthas has been under a boil water advisory (BWA) since August 12.

Kingsview is a Kaitlin Corporation development made up of 30 cottages with private boat slips.

According to a representative from the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRD) problems arose when an electricity outage caused a drop in water pressure to the community's water supply system.

HKPRD officials are estimating the number affected by the advisory at 20-25 people currently.

They have assured this reporter that steps are being taken to remedy the issue.

These include restoring the power and water pressure, flushing the water system and increasing the chlorine disinfectant level.

After these steps have been taken two water samples 24-48 hours apart have to be tested to ensure that the drinking water is safe before the advisory is lifted.

At this time the HKPRD is still awaiting the results and cannot make an approximation of when the BWA will be rescinded.

Advisory of the day


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A Boil Water Advisory (BWA) is in effect for the Silver Maple Motel in Haliburton, Ontario.

The motel, located just south of Head Lake, was issued the advisory issued on August 10 after testing positive for bacterial contamination.

A representative from the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District (HKPRD) health unit told this reporter via email that maintenance work recently performed on the motel's small drinking water system likely introduced the contamination.

As a result the BWA was issued as a preventative precaution.

The HKPRD health unit confirmed that the motel's owner has been working to get the problem remediated over the past few days, adding that they have been very helpful and are following due diligence to correct the situation.

Moving forward, the health unit is currently awaiting water test results to see if the BWA can be lifted. They are expecting results back by Thursday (Aug. 17) or Friday (Aug. 18).

If the results come back negative for the contaminants, the BWA can be rescinded for the motel shortly afterwards.

Ray Gervais, the motel's owner, said that guests have been using their own water bottles in the meantime.

He confirmed that two samples have been sent off and is hoping that the advisory will be lifted by Friday.

The motel has twelve rooms but aren't full at the moment, so there haven't been too many people affected by the BWA this week.

Advisory of the day


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A do not consume (DNC) water notice has been in place at the Auberge du Lac Taureau since August 5.

A communications representative for the local health unit in Lanaudière told this reporter via email that abnormal water test results showed the presence of E.coli bacteria.

At this time all parties are still unsure what caused the concerning tests but a recent spate of bad weather might have resulted in some equipment problems.

The self-described 4 star log cabin is a 150 room inn/ resort located about a two hour drive north of Montreal.

David Sauvé, the marketing manager for Auberge du Lac Taureau said that they have been cooperating with the government authorities to ensure the problem is fixed quickly and their guests are kept safe.

"We have made some logistics for providing water for our guests including bottled water," he said, adding "We've put signs on the sinks, coffee machine and ice makers telling our guests not to drink the water."

He and the management at the inn have been working to resolve the issue. At this point, the basin for the establishment's water supply has been flushed and further tests have been conducted. They are still waiting for the results of the tests.

The health unity has said that the process typically takes anywhere from a few days to a week but would not commit to a precise duration at this time.

With the prime summer months upon them, and a reputation as an award winning hotel to uphold, a full investigation into the causes and a plan to ensure they won't happen again, should be forthcoming.

Advisory of the day


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The Cheticamp Outfitters Inn a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) was placed on a Boil Water Advisory on August 2nd, no other information regarding the situation was given. The B&B is located in Point Cross a small community in the Inverness County of Nova Scotia. We spoke with Veronica owner of the B&B about the BWA.

Veronica explained that the B&B's water is supplied by a stream and is disinfected via ultraviolet (UV) light. The owner said that the issue stems from the installation of a "brand new light." Cheticamp Outfitters "bought a new [disinfection system] last year."

Samples were sent in and the water was fine for a time, but this August, the owners were alerted to a problem by a series of "beeps," it was at this point that they discovered the UV light bulb had to be replaced. The bulbs are not given away Veronica said that it costs "$100."

The owners and operators of the private system replaced the bulb, and Veronica said that she "sent in [samples] and they didn't pass the test." The B&B has multiple disinfection lights and samples were sent for testing on the water disinfected by the second light. Veronica said that she received a phone call where she was informed that "the container (that the water was contained in) was leaking." Tests could not be performed on the first sample, the owner informed us that new "samples were taken this morning and sent in."

Veronica said that "they could not understand why the new light was not working."

If the samples for the second UV light test positive for contaminants, Veronica said that the "problem is in the well," itself. The owner ensured us that the wells were thoroughly scrubbed prior to the installation of the UV system. Until the situation is resolved guests at the Inn are being provided with bottled water.

Advisory of the day


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The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador listed the Town of Point Leamington under a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) on August 4th. The reason for the advisory was that "Escherichia coli (E. coli) [was] detected AND repeat samples cannot be taken as required." We contacted the town of Leamington to get the Town's perspective.

Point Leamington Town Administration confirmed the BWA and the detection of E. coli. The Administration was, however, unable to speak to the date of the detection and what levels of E. coli had been found. Questions of that nature were to be "directed to the [Department of Municipal Affairs and] Environment branch in Grand Falls."

The Administration explained that the Town "does its own testing, but [the department] performs weekly testing." Municipal Affairs were the ones who initially detected the E.coli.

The Town seemed to be unaware that the province listed that repeat samples could not be taken, in fact, the Administration said that "was not put on the notice" that was posted on the Town bulletin board and broadcast on the radio. There appears to be no interruption in the towns testing.

The Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment clarified that "E. coli was detected in 1 of 4 samples collected on August 2 and the remaining 3 samples showed free chlorine of less than 0.15 mg/l."

The Department advised the Town "to adjust chlorine in order to address issues identified in the August 2 samples." It was because of this that "resampling could not take place until the recommended corrective measure," had been carried out.

Municipal Affairs confirmed that the Town has "adjusted the chlorine level." The water was resampled yesterday and results are expected by the end of the week.

Blue-green algae


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A potentially dangerous blue-green algae bloom has been spotted on Nashwaak Lake in New Brunswick, prompting an advisory for the water body.

The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province advises those who may be visiting the lake to avoid swimming and other water related activities with dense blooms.

This particular advisory, issued on July 24 is one of thirteen active advisories within New Brunswick, some of which date back until before 2010.

According to Sarah Williams, a Communication Officer for the Department of Health, "A general advisory on blue-green algal blooms is released in the late spring/early summer each year to ensure New Brunswick residents are aware of the potential health risks posed by some algal blooms in recreational waters."

She went on to mention that lakes with an established history of reoccurring blue-green algae blooms have advisory signs posted in the late spring/early summer as well.

When the Department of Health is notified of a possible algal bloom in a new body of water, it works with the Department of Environment as well as local government to confirm whether blue-green algae are present.

Once confirmed, the Regional Medical Officer of Health will issue an advisory for the lake if appropriate.

Williams also pointed out that because blue-green algal blooms can be unpredictable, advisories remain in effect each year and may only be lifted by a Medical Officer of Health.

Blue-green algae can be caused by agricultural run-off, storm water systems or sometimes leaking septic beds. Consuming water tainted with the bacteria can be harmful to both humans and animals, be it livestock or pets.

Water shortage


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Southern Alberta has experienced long periods of heat and little rain this summer. Early last month Environment Canada issued a heat warning for this region. This has put stress on municipal water supplies and has prompted a number of communities south of Calgary to curtail how residents use the vital resource.

Four towns not far from Calgary, and less than an hour's drive apart, have put in place water restrictions due to low water levels. The towns of Turner Valley, Black Diamond, Okotoks, and High River are under Level 3 Water Restrictions. In the case of Turner Valley, the notice for the emergency measures asks residents to flush "toilets only as required."

Barry Williamson, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for Turner Valley, explained that "the Town is a member if a water corporation," along with Black Diamond and the Foothills Municipal District. About the current situation in Turner Valley Williamson said, "temperature is a factor, as is the river level, but these are not the only factors."

Water issues in the area date back a few years. Williamson said that "both Turner Valley and Black Diamond have been recovering from the Flood of 2013 whereby, all of the water wells were washed out [as well as] the water treatment plant in Black Diamond." He added "we have recovered most of the infrastructure; however, we have a further direct intake project to get raw water levels back to the original supply prior to the flood.

As a result, the Town has "been at a Level 2 restriction," pending the intake work. Recent conditions have pushed the restriction level up. Both Turner Valley and Black Diamond were at Level 3 for 18 months after the flood.

Sarah Kilby, who lives 3km outside of town and owns a Bed and Breakfast, said that "they are on a private well and are not really affected by the restrictions, [though] they still try to conserve water."

Janice MacIndoe, who lives in town said she isn't really affected other than "watering the garden less."

One of the other Towns on Level 3 Restrictions is Okotoks. Their situation is different they are supplied by 13 wells that are filled by surface water. Okotoks boasts on its website that its water "meets or exceeds current federal and provincial regulatory standards." Okotoks owns its water and wastewater systems, though they were designed, built, and not to mention are operated and maintained by EPCOR Utilities Inc.

EPCOR has one sole shareholder the City of Edmonton, to which the commercial entity paid a $146 million dividend this year. The utility provides water and wastewater services to 85 communities in Western Canada. EPCOR also operates private systems in three American States through its subsidiary EPCOR Water (USA) Inc.

We spoke with Elaine Vincent, the CAO of Okotoks. She said that the current water restrictions are "simply in relation to supply and demand on the Sheep River." During the period of extreme heat last month, the Town was "withdrawing 16 thousand cubic metres [a day] from the river and reservoirs." At that point the Town was only capable of producing 11 thousand cubic metres daily.

Vincent explained that the water ban was initiated to ensure "the safety of residents as our reservoirs must have a minimum balance [for] fire protection." Since the restrictions have been put in place "water consumption has dropped to 7500 cubic metres a day."

To understand the science behind why these towns are lacking water we spoke with Monireh Faramarzi PhD, Assistant Professor Campus Alberta Innovates Program (CAIP) and Chair in Watershed Science. She said that "uncertainty based assessments of freshwater scarcity at the watershed scale reveals that Alberta suffers from a permanent ‘blue' water stress in certain months of the year." Faramarzi added that a "high resolution hydrology model of [the province] shows the Oldman, Bow, and Milk river basins experience severe water stress during July and August."

The high water demand in the summer months can soar to "40% more than [the] availability," Faramarzi said. During these months "agriculture is the largest consumer causing water stress." During the winter water stress is brought on by industry and municipal projects.

Alberta's water woes have been known for some time and some may be systemic. A 2008 report from Eco-Justice and Bow Riverkeeper entitled Fight to the Last Drop pointed the trend of "Irrigation Districts seeking and obtaining licence amendments to operate as water brokers." Registered farms would receive water for its use from Irrigation Districts, these same entities sought "the authority to provide water to any person for virtually any purpose at whatever price they deem appropriate."

The provincial means of distributing water restrict access to it and stifle municipal growth. The Town of Okotoks has had other water issues other than those related to the recent heat. The Town ran into issues with the Water Licence Transfers.

Elaine Vincent Town CAO explained that "Water Transfers are critical component to the Town's water strategy as they provide for the growth of [Okotoks] in the absence of a water line to Calgary." The Town "has a policy that states that land use designation cannot occur until such time as enough water transferred," to supply the area.

The province put the Town's Water Licence Transfers on hold earlier this year "pending new impact modeling for the Sheep River." The new models have since been submitted and accepted by Alberta Environment and Parks and "in July four Water Transfers," were made to the Town. More are expected later this year.

Consumption of Alberta's freshwater greatly exceeds the supply in the summer months. This habit causes communities in the southern parts of the province to live with water scarcity in the July and August. Water scarcity has become an annual problem in the province.



by Ronan O'Doherty

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The town of Gravenhurst, Ontario will be using some innovative local technology when they undergo some infrastructure upgrades this week.

Instead of digging up large swaths of road and replacing their water mains, the District Municipality of Muskoka has opted for a trenchless solution designed by Envirologics, an engineering firm based out of Bracebridge.

They're hoping the method will get the job done quickly, efficiently and with less of an environmental footprint.

"It's actually a water main rehabilitation," said Marcus Firman, Director, Water and Wastewater Operations for the municipality, "It's ageing infrastructure; if we apply these techniques we don't have to replace the water main. We can rehabilitate it and bring it back into service.

Firman said that they are excited because the project will be undertaken and returned to service within 24 hours, with people only experiencing a disruption in services for 12 of those.

"There will be a boil water advisory but it's only precautionary until we get the results from the lab saying that it's fine," he went on to say.

The project will affect about 50 homes in the town.

Its non-invasive nature should be popular among residents who don't want a construction zone outside of their house for a week or two during the prime summer months.

"We're not actually digging up the road," said Firman, "We just dig pits and go from pit to pit." They'll be applying Tomahawk technology designed by Envirologics to clean and dry the water main using abrasives in a high volume, low pressure air stream. This will prepare it for a new lining and hopefully add many decades to the water mains life.

Firman believes that the rehabilitation will add at least 50 years, with the possibility of many more. "We knew we had this project coming up and we saw it as an ideal time to use this technology," Firman said, "If it proves to be successful we'll use it on other water mains."

Brian Thorogood, the general manager for Envirologistics is pleased that they're getting to apply their methods in their own backyard.

"We're pretty excited about that for sure," he said, "We've developing the technology for six years and we have been cleaning pipe in other areas in North American but this is our first time at home."

Thorogood also mentioned that Envirologistics were just in London England and were able to exhibit their innovations.

"It was at the water utility in London and they had a full street for us to show our technology for cleaning pipes," he said, adding, "It went very well. We consider out technology best in class in cleaning pipe and we put it on display."

When asked to differentiate Enviroligistics for other similar technologies, Thorogood said that theirs has a distinct advantage.

"A lot of the technologies are old technologies from cleaning sewers. Water mains are a pressure pipe, so you really need that liner to stick to that pipe wall and the only way you get that good bond is by cleaning up that pipe well. Our technology is the only one that cleans and dries the pipe."

Advisory of the day


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A wildfire related boil water notice is in effect for the Village of Clinton, British Columbia.

An almost unprecedented wildfire season is still ravaging the interior of the province and the drinking water needs of evacuated towns have had to play second fiddle to the race to put out blazes.

"The Village of Clinton, which is under an evacuation order due to wildfire activity, has issued a Boil Water Notice for its water system," an email response from Jessy Bhatti, Specialist Environmental Health Officer for BC Interior Health, said, "This is because the village's water treatment plant had to be bypassed in order to support the demand for water during fire suppression activities."

The water system, which draws from Clinton Creek and then captured in one of two reservoirs, normally serves approximately 600 people.

The Elephant Hill wildfire which has led to the evacuation is well over 80,000 hectares in area and expanding rapidly. It is one of over 850 fires that have struck the area this year.

At this point in time, Interior Health cannot say when the notification is expected to be rescinded due to high water demand.

Advisory of the day


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A burst water main in the town of Grand-Falls, New Brunswick is the culprit behind a water advisory that was issued yesterday morning.

"Some infrastructure work is being done in the area and following an accidental break a boil order was issued," Sarah Williams, Communications Officer for New Brunswick's Department of Health, told this reporter via email, "The entire south side of the city is affected which includes about 25 to 30 per cent of the population of Grand-Falls."

According to 2011 census data that would make the population affected around 1500 people.

Williams noted that the necessary repairs have been made and that pressure and normal operating conditions have resumed. The boil water advisory will be rescinded when satisfactory water results are submitted to the department of health, with a minimum 48hrs between the test samples being taken.

When asked whether these occurrences were frequent in Grand-Falls, this reporter was told that advisories have been more common while major infrastructure improvement projects are ongoing.

This is the second boil water advisory in the past two weeks. Another water main break had occurred on July 27th. A map of the affected streets for the most recent advisory can be found on the town's website along with specific instructions on what to boil water for (infant formula, juice, washing veggies etc.) and what it isn't required for (bathing).


Advisory of the day


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The Ville de Carignan, in the Montérégie region of Québec, was placed under a Boil Water Advisory last Monday, July 24. The advisory was issued due to a water main break that occurred over "the previous weekend [and] was found on Monday morning," said Michel Samson Director of the Public Works Service in the town.

Samson explained that it was "an air bleed valve that broke in a valve chamber, a room located in a wooded area at the beginning of a watercourse." There was high demand for drinking water on July 21, and this caused a corroded connection to drop. Samson said that over the weekend of July 22-23 "we found abnormal water consumption, we searched the most sensitive areas and found nothing."

It was on the Monday that the problem was localized and repairs were made. The effect this had was that a "section of drinking water pipe was depressurized," which necessitated the boil order.

On Monday afternoon, after the repairs, a series of samples were taken." A second series was taken the following day. After lab testing showed water to be normal "early Wednesday afternoon the Boil Water Advisory was lifted," Samson said.

The city of Carignan which is approximately 50 years old, "is in full residential development," Samson explained. When it comes to investment Samson said that "priority is given to water and wastewater." Almost all the city's pipes are made of PVC and "there are very few breakages [between] 0-4 a year."


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A Boil Water Notice has been placed on a United Church camp in Nelson, British Columbia.

Camp Koolaree, which sits on 137 acres on the west arm of Kootenay Lake, had unacceptable microbiological results from tests performed on their water supply on July 25.

BC Interior Health in an email to this reporter, confirmed that the results showed 6 counts of E.Coli and 22 of total coliform.

They have been advised to inspect the water system and following that, they will be expected to super-chlorinate and flush it accordingly.

"We have a chlorine injector and water storage tanks and the issue was one of the rings on the injector had malfunctioned," said Peter Herd, President of the Camp Koolaree Society, "It's been replaced and repaired."

According to BC Interior Health, " Two consecutive water sample results with zero E.Coli and zero total coliform taken at least 24 hours apart are required to remove the BWN."

Herd said that the first sample was sent Monday and they will be sending another tomorrow.

In the meantime the camp will be responsible for providing their staff and campers, which number around 35 in total this week, with an alternate source for the duration of the boil water notice. They will also berequired to put up adequate signage to ensure no one accidentally ingests potentially contaminated water.

There is one water fountain in a field without signage but Herd said that the supply to it has been cut off until the notice is rescinded.

In addition to boiling water, Camp Koolaree has plenty of 28 packs of 500ml bottles of water on hand.

The camp has not often been on boil water notice but there have been previous incidents in 2013 and 2015 based on single sample results of E.Coli.

Advisory of the day


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Planned utilities maintenance is responsible for a precautionary drinking water advisory being issued for a few streets and a college in the village of Caronport, Saskatchewan.

The province's Water Security Agency had initially labelled the reason for the advisory as, "Intentional contamination of treated water suspected or confirmed," however after speaking to Patrick Boyle, Director of Communications for the agency, it was confirmed that there was a simple data entry error by an agency employee.

"There was an issue with the posting and they entered the wrong reasoning," Boyle said, "It's actually just planned maintenance. They were doing some waterline work. Our guy just entered the wrong drop down information and it's since been updated."

Village officials declined to comment on the story, A contractor working for the city had called the agency ahead of time to schedule the drinking water advisory for the small area.

Although exact figures could not be provided, it's estimated that about 100 people may be affected by the advisory.

The work is scheduled to be completed within the next couple days, after which some tests will be conducted 48 hours apart to ensure to contaminants have entered the system.

Should all go according to plan, Boyle says that the advisory should be lifted early next week.

Advisory of the day


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The Grand Hotel in Martintown, Ontario will have its Boil Water Advisory lifted now that some faulty equipment has been repaired.

The resto bar with the capacity of 140 inside and 95 on the patio tested positive for total coliform on June 28.

According to Caroline Kuate, the Safe Water Water Program Manager for Eastern Ontario Health, the readings increased dramatically between then and when it was next tested on July 12th. Jumping from 1 colony per 100ml to 66.

"We then issued an advisory telling the public not to use the water because of the contamination, " said Kuate, " Following that they contacted a treatment maintenance company and found out that there was something wrong the with the water treatment system."

The system was found to have defective equipment and was in need of repair, which was seen to immediately. "The water system was treated adequately and follow up samples taken on July 24th came back clean," said Kuate. While the advisory was in place, signage was posted in the establishment and bottled water was provided to the restaurant's customers.

According to Kuate, no-one became ill as a result of the contamination.

The Grand Hotel has been around for over a century. According to their website, it was once a popular stop on the stagecoach route between Toronto and Montreal.

Many businesses have set up shop in the building over the years but the new owner decided to rebrand it with the original name.



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The Village of Dorchester, New Brunswick was placed under a Boil Order yesterday. The notice that was posted on the village website and Facebook page stated that the order was issued "due to a water main break, [and] the village water system may be in non-compliance with the Health Act and Clean Water Act." The notice went on to say that the department of health was working with municipal staff and how long to boil the water.

The villagers "will be advised when the boil order is removed."

There were still pieces of information missing, for example, what caused the break, have the repairs been carried out, how long before residents can stop boiling their water? We spoke with the village administration about the situation.

The administration stated that the water main break occurred during a "replacement of a fire hydrant." Staff offered no other explanation for the break and the village being placed under a boil order. They did, however, confirm that "the repair had been completed, and the system has been flushed."

Samples that are to be sent for testing will begin to be "collected today or tomorrow," and results are expected soon after. There is no anticipated date for the removal of the boil all administration would say is that "it [would] be soon." Until then villagers are encouraged to boil their water at least one minute before consuming



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Service Newfoundland is recommending that a boil water advisory be lifted this afternoon in the town of Pilley's Island.

The advisory was issued on July 21st when it was determined that three of four locations tested at Loadabats Pond, the source for the community's water, showed total coliform growth and one location showed E.Coli growth.

"The operators were ordered to increase their chlorine to reverse this issue, and resampling was done on July 24, 2017," Marc Budgell, Communications Manager for Service NL told this reporter via email, adding that since the work has been completed, "One set of satisfactory bacteriological water samples has been obtained and satisfactory free chlorine residual is maintained at the entry and throughout the distribution system."

He went on to mention that regular bacteriological monitoring of the public water supply will continue on a monthly basis.

The town of 301 residents is known for its mining history dating back to the late nineteenth century. A short lived state of emergency was declared there in January of 2016 after its water tank suffered damage during repairs.



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A grazing pasture near Shamrock, Saskatchewan gained attention earlier this month when approximately 200 head of cattle died. The pasture is operated by Shamrock Grazing Ltd. The deaths were attributed to the water that the cattle were drinking from a dugout located on the grounds.

Betty Althouse, the Government of Saskatchewan's Chief Veterinary Officer, said "testing determined that sulphate concentrations in the water extremely high, at over 24,000 milligram/litre (mg/l)." she also indicated that level of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) was found to be "33,400 mg/l." Neurological trauma occurs in cattle at sulphate concentrations over 1,000 mg/l, and death can occur when concentrations are over 7,000 mg/l.

Althouse said that "water with TDS greater than 7,000 mg/l should not be used for cattle at all."

Althouse confirmed that because the weather was hot and dry "the Ministry [of Agriculture] has received some reports of poor quality water." Producers are encouraged to check their cattle and the sources of water on a regular basis.

Kaley Pugh, the Executive Director for Animal Protection Services Saskatchewan, said that "there has not been a determination of whether there was negligence or not yet, and that is the primary question that we are attempting to answer during our investigation."

The animal protection service is "in the process of conducting interviews and gathering history." The investigation can be a rather lengthy process, contacting interviewees and waiting for official reports, that is why "it's difficult to determine an exact time frame" for its completion. Pugh added, "there is a six-month ‘limitation of action' on Animal Protection Act charges."

The group is "working as quickly as [they] can, [and] do have to the investigation concluded one way or another before that six-month limit." Pugh explained that any "final determination about the nature of the events will be given by a Crown Prosecutor."

Another individual with a window on this situation is Barry Blakley PhD, Professor in the Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan.

The effect happened rapidly between the arrival of the animals and the deaths, "the cattle were only put out into that field about a week before," Blakley said. He added, "the only reason we were testing [the cattle] was because they were dying."

There were high levels of salinity in the water on the pasture. Blakley explained that "in that area of [Saskatchewan] there is potash [in the ground] which is basically a salt." He continued "in this case the salt had access to the surface beneath the low area in the land," when the area filled with water it was just dissolved.

The President of Shamrock Grazing Ltd., Glenn Straub, was unreachable for comment. A look at a job description that was posted on January 20, 2017, for the Pasture Manager, lists as one of the many tasks "management of water resources including dugouts, shallow water lines, [and] troughs." There is a six-month window to lay charges, if warranted, in this case under Saskatchewan legislation, until then the Ministry of agriculture is aiding testing on water sources in

Water shortage


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The community of George's Brook-Milton (pop. 382), Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), incorporated in May 2017, has on occasion "had to endure water outages for days." The George's Brook-Milton Local Service District (LSD) Facebook page is the only official online presence for the district and is managed by its Chair Person Craig Pardy. The page itself not only offered a means of connecting with residents, it also gave a detailed timeline of the LSD's recent water trouble.

A new permanent water connection for Milton was already in the works. On June 5, the George's Brook-Milton Local Service District posted that it expected work to begin on connecting Milton to the George's Brook pump house "as early as Monday, June 12." Work did not begin as early as expected, a water outage was reported on June 27 due to a "$17,000.00 upgrade [to the George's Brook] pump house," before the first phase of the connection was about to start.

On July 4, the first indication of dropping water levels appeared. The District posted that the "water supply, was now 34 inches below the top." This indicated that levels had dropped 14 inches since June 28. Residents of the community were urged to conserve water as it was estimated that it would take another "6-7 weeks to have the new Water Main brought into Milton from George's Brook."

On July 18, the water supply level was "down 47 inches [from top] and 60 inches is the critical level when [the community] may lose it." Residents were told to avoid "watering lawns, filling pools, and washing vehicles."

The 20th saw the LSD go on the offensive in response to a report that surfaced in the community media. It proudly stated, "that once Milton is attached to the George's Pond supply network, George's Brook-Milton will have the good fortune of a supply comparable to that of Clarenville's Andrew's Pond and ought not to have any further issues with water supply and access thereafter."

This was in response to the neighbouring town of Clarenville suggesting that it had to meet to determine if it was able to sell water to George's Brook-Milton to help it meet its short-term need. The LSD affirmed that it would "assist the family members and residents of The Town of Clarenville now, and into the future," if roles were reversed and suggested that it would put in place conservation measures to be able to help. The statement made a call to the greater good sending the message "working together, we build stronger communities, create stronger bonds between residents, and are better positioned to engage in a greater vision."

The statement ended with "please be clear, George's Brook-Milton is not in the "Business" of "Buying" water, this is an emergency situation." That same day the samples from the first phase of the hookup were sent to be analyzed and if all went well that area of Milton would be connected "by the middle of next week."

Just two days later the LSD received another alarming report. Early that evening the water was "53,5 inches below" optimal supply level. It appeared as though the water was dropping "1 inch a day."

A water outage is expected in the community tomorrow allowing for a water line connection. Approval was given to a "chlorine assessment allowing [George's Brook-Milton] to permanently connect the new [water line] with the old." On Thursday, the first homes will be connected to the George's Brook pumping station,

There is light at the end of this tunnel, George's Brook-Milton is in the process of permanently connecting the two communities water systems which will ensure that the residents of Milton will never have to worry about Lily Pond running dry again. To bridge the gap until all of the residents of Milton are connected to the new system, at 6:25 PM EST, 7:55 in Newfoundland, the LSD posted that Clarenville just voted to sell water to the community in the interim.

Blue-green algae


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Loon Lake Community Water System has been put on a boil water notice (BWN) indefinitely as a result of a forest fire.

The BWN was declared on July 14 after power and phone lines outages rendered the system inoperable.

The customers that the system services have been evacuated from their homes, so lack of potable water is probably not priority number one for them at the moment.

"We had notice on late Thursday or early Friday that there was a good chance they were going to evacuate the area," said Arden Bolton, the Utilities Manager for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, "The winds came up on Friday afternoon and there was an emergency evacuation of the people. Around the same time we got a call that the power went out from the pump house. As soon as the power goes out the PLC (programmable logic controller) calls us with a message saying that there's a power failure at the site. I got the phone call originally, which meant the phone lines were still intact, but they went down shortly after and issuing the boil water notice was a no brainer after that. No power, no communication and no one to take care of it."

According to Bolton, Loon Lake is comprised of mostly vacation properties and the water system services around 40 homes during peak season, which is around now. As there is an evacuation order present however, no customers are being affected at present.

That being said, there is a chance users might still be without water once the evacuation order has been rescinded.

Bolton said that fire fighters have checked out the area recently and that it appears the homes in question as well as the treatment facility are still undamaged. Loon Lake itself is filled with debris and charcoal though as houses and forest further down the 13km long lake have been burned.

Once it has been established that it is safe for non-firefighting personnel to enter the area, BC Hydro and the telephone company will need to get the area hooked up for power and communication.

Soon after the Loon Lake Community Water System operators will be able to go back to the site and flush the reservoir, then flush the system and begin pumping water into the system using an infiltration gallery, which is a shallow well, drilled into sandy soil that filters water through the ground, eliminating the charcoal and debris mentioned earlier.

They will super chlorinate the system and start the testing process. If all goes well, BC Interior Health will give the sign off to remove the BWN.

There have been over 700 wildfires this season in BC that have burned over 350,000 hectares of land.

Blue-green algae


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On July 20, 2017, a Preventive Boil Water advisory was issued for the Municipalité de Saint-Adelphe, Québec. The reason given on the notice for this protective measure was that the municipality was carrying out work on the pumping station, as a result, there was "a risk that drinking water could become contaminated."

In a communiqué, the Inspector for Drinking Water Quality, Dany Lapointe, confirmed the reason the advisory was issued and added "the work was carried out by Groupe Québéco." The group is specialized in municipal and industrial plumbing and process mechanics.

Lapointe asserted that the work was necessary because of the "out of date accessories." The pieces that were replaced date back to the original installation in 1993. When the work was completed "the employees carried out an on-site cleaning [of the machinery] to eliminate any bacteria."

The Municipality has carried out "four water tests at a certified laboratory," over a period of two days to assure compliance. Lapointe underlined that "according to the advisory, [issued by] Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, it was not necessary to carry out the tests." It was out of precaution that Saint-Adelphe "preferred to carry out the tests just the same."

The advisory is expected to last a week.

Blue-green algae


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What is suspected to be a blue green algae bloom was spotted on Ramsay Lake by a local lifeguard on Monday. According to a chart found on Sudbury District Health Unit's (SDHU) website, the lake, located just outside of Sudbury has seen similar blooms every year since 2010.

"We went over to Bell park and walked through the park and checked all the beaches and we could see what looked like algae growing," said Rylan Yade, an Environmental Support Officer with SDHU, "We took a sample and brought it to the Ministry of Environment lab to be tested to see if it is blue green algae," adding, "We haven't received the results yet but as soon as we do we'll have another media release to notify the public and media as to what the sample came back as."

In the meantime, signs have been put up on the lake advising the public to avoid swimming, drinking the water and letting their pets into it.

Ramsay Lake is one of three lakes that have seen blooms in the Sudbury region this year.

Consuming water with high levels of blue green algae present can result in significant damage to the liver and nervous system of people and their pets.

At this time, the bloom has not been spotted near the David Street Water Treatment Plant intake but officials have said that it will not affect municipal drinking water.

"They have an effective barrier for the algae," Yade said, "After passing through that barrier there's a process using super chlorination that denatures the toxins. That chlorine is then brought back to acceptable levels to put into public drinking water system."

Yade went on to mention that it is difficult to know exactly what is causing the blue green algae. It can show up when there is a change in nutrients or when the water shifts from season to season. It could also have something to do with phosphorous or nitrogen levels rising or the water being more shallow than usual.

When asked about potential treatment methods on the lake, Yade said that they don't recommend doing anything to remove the bloom.

"When blue green algae dies, that's when it releases its toxins," he said, "It's best to wait to for it to leave an area. It's not anchored to the bottom, so can be here and gone in a few hours. It's important to just be on the lookout and watch. We train lifeguards at the beginning of the year to identify the algae and when they see it move in, they tell people to not use the area."

Advisory of the day


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Last Wednesday the Village of Windthorst, in the Southeastern part of Saskatchewan, was placed under a Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory. The poster issued by the Water Security Agency (WSA) states that the PDWA was issued "pursuant to clause 36(1)(a) of The Environmental Management and Protection Act 2010." The clause itself directs the Minister to issue a PDWA if the water being supplied from a "waterworks" is or may cause harm to the environment.

The WSA poster says that the PDWA was "due [to] the Village obtaining water from a neighbouring community that is currently under the direction of a PDWA."

The Village announced the advisory on their website. The Windthorst Facebook page was also used to keep villagers informed, though the message deviates from that of the WSA. The social media post states the PDWA was "issued for the Village of Windthorst as we have brought in water from an outside source for our reservoir."

There has been a water issue for some time, and Village Administration informed us that water levels "have been low and [the Village] has been waiting for [their] wells to be perforated." The work that is supposed to be carried out on the Village wells was to be underway in April.

Windthorst held a Canada 150 parade over the last weekend, where 300-350 extra people were in town. The Windthorst Administration stated that "the water was hauled in to ensure that [the Village] did not run out."

The water was hauled in expressly for the celebrations, from Arcola. As it turns out the Town of Arcola has been under a PDWA since June 12. Town residents have to boil their water "due to a failure of the disinfection equipment caused by the deterioration in the raw water supply."

Despite the layers to this PDWA, Windthorst Administration suggested that the advisory will be removed "really soon." The necessary testing on the Village water supply is being carried out, "three samples were taken yesterday [July 16] and three samples this morning," Results are expected tomorrow.

As for the Town of Arcola, the PDWA was rescinded at 8 AM this morning.

Advisories of the day


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Earlier this week, July 10, we reported on a situation in the Town of Spanish, Ontario where the lack of information surrounding a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) raised concern and speculation as to the nature and timing of the notice. Today we look at two very similar situations in rural Québec. The Ministère du Développement durable, Environnement et Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC), the government body in the province tasked with publishing BWAs, has the two events listed ironically for the same date as the Spanish advisory (July 7, 2017).

Both the Martinville in the Estrie region and Saint-Sixte in Outaouais are simply listed as being under a BWA. The MDDELCC does not publish the reasons for issuing advisories. Neither town has any information posted on their respective websites nor do they possess social media accounts which can be used as another medium to connect with the public.

In a statement, the Municipalité de Martinville confirmed the BWA, a "preventative measure is still in effect." Trace amounts of bacteria were found at the intake, and the advisory was issued even though "the water still underwent the chlorination process." The necessary testing is being carried out and the BWA is expected to be removed early next week.

We tried contacting the municipal offices in Saint-Sixte, with no results. We were finally able to make contact with representatives from La Vie au Lac, a residential area in Saint-Sixte. They were unaware of the BWA, and quickly informed us that "all residents of the area [are supplied] by private wells."

A reason why no information appears on the Saint-Sixte website and why it has been difficult to reach municipal officials is that "the offices are closed for vacations until Monday."

Both Martinville and Saint-Sixte are small towns both boasting populations of less than 470 people. Small numbers may allow the towns to notify residents personally and account for the lack of online information surrounding the water quality in these municipalities. The townspeople may be aware of the water issues, though thorough reporting can serve to keep those passing through the areas safe.

Advisory of the day


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The Town of Spanish Ontario was under a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) over the weekend. The date the advisory was issued seemed to be at the heart of some local confusion. The letter that was hand-delivered to those dependent on the water system stated that the BWA was effective "Wednesday, July 7, 2017." Last Wednesday was July 5.

Adding to the confusion neither the Town nor the public health authority made mention of the advisory on their websites or Facebook pages. The Town did have an announcement stating, "fire permits are now require[d] please pick one up at the town office."

We contacted the town offices to get clarification on the water situation. We were quickly informed that the "advisory had been lifted," and were then directed to call Algoma Public Health as they were the ones who issued the advisory.

Chris Spooney District Program Director for Algoma Public Health said that "the BWA was jointly issued by the Town," and the authority. Spooney added that notifying patrons "is completed by the Town of Spanish."

The Town of Spanish experienced a power outage on Friday, July 7. By some accounts, the situation lasted for 12 hours. Spooney explained that this "ultimately affected the pressure within the distribution system at the water treatment plant." It was this drop in pressure that triggered the BWA.

In order to have the BWA rescinded the process "is to collect 2 satisfactory water samples 24 [hours] apart," Spooney said. He continued "This has been completed," the BWA was in fact lifted today. Spooney did not address the difference in dates. Story to follow.

The town of Spanish Ontario no longer has to boil its water before drinking, that is the positive thing. The negative here is there was a lack of information surrounding this event that led to scepticism and confusion.

Advisory of the day


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Circle Square Ranch in Austin, Manitoba was issued a boil water advisory (BWA) on July 5.

The Christian summer camp's treated water supply system tested positive for total coliform, which is used as an indicator for unwanted bacterial matter.

According to a spokesperson for the Office of Drinking Water in Manitoba, "There are no known illnesses associated with the water at this time and it is anticipated to be under a BWA for 3 to 4 weeks."

Dan Ingram, Executive Director of Circle Square Ranch, is planning for the advisory to be lifted a little sooner.

"We're expecting for it to be lifted after two tests," he said, "which should be sometime next week if not sooner."

He went on to add, "We're in full compliance with the order and are working diligently to complete all the objectives we've been assigned."

Ingram told us that the camp is expecting about 75 children next week and about the same for the following one.

The camp, located a little over 100km west of Winnipeg, will be expecting some hot days over the coming weeks.

When asked how the campers will stay hydrated, Ingram told this reporter that, "We've got a lot of bottled water and jugs of water. There's water everywhere."

Advisory of the day


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A Boil Water Notice is in effect for Lac La Hache Provincial Park in the South Cariboo region of British Columbia.

According to Chris Russell, Environmental Health Officer for Interior Health BC, the Boil Water Notice was issued June 30 in response to two sample sites testing positive for bacteriological contamination. In addition, the water system operator also reported that the chlorinator was not functioning as intended.

The 24 hectare park has 83 campsites and a day-use area, so the population served varies based on the park's use. It is estimated that fewer than 500 people per day will be affected by the notice.

The advisory is posted on the BC Parks website with a recommendation to boil water for at least five minutes prior to consumption. "The advisory will remain in effect until repairs/remedial actions have been carried out and follow up sampling is acceptable," said Russell.

Lac La Hache is one of 21 provincial parks in British Columbia that are listed as having a water advisory. Although the province does have more stringent reporting practices, the number is significantly higher than any of its sister provinces.

Advisory of the day


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A Boil Water Advisory (BWA) has been lifted for Villa St. Albert in St. Albert, Ontario.

According to a spokesperson for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, the retirement home's water system had a test showing higher than normal bacterial activity on June 28.

Two subsequent tests were performed 48 hours apart however, and both came back negative for any contaminants. The advisory was lifted this morning.

Villa St. Albert's website says that they have accommodation for 42 residents.

It also boasts of an ultra-violet water disinfection system with a monthly laboratory test.

A manager for the home is currently on vacation and was unavailable for comment as of time of publication.

An employee present at the time was reluctant to answer any questions on behalf of the manager.

Advisory of the day


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A drinking water advisory (DWA) has been issued for residents who draw their water from Long Lake in the area of Dew Drop Road.

The Sudbury &District Health Unit (SDHU) has alerted residents not to consume the water, as hydraulic fluid has been spilled in the lake.

"(People) were bringing a dock in on a trailer, something happened with the trailer and the (hydraulic fluid) line broke," said Burgess Hawkins, Manager of Environmental Health for SDHU, adding, "About 15L (of the fluid) got into the water.

Hawkins told this reporter that Ontario's Ministry of Environment has overseen a clean-up of the spill but as a precautionary measure the DWA will remain in place until at least the middle of next week.

"What we're waiting for is the tests results from the surface water," Hawkins said, "Ensuring the hydrocarbons at the surface level aren't an issue."

Between 15 and 18 residences are affected by the spill but with the proper precaution, nobody is expected to fall ill.

"It is a light fluid so it floats," Hawkins said, "Most of the intakes (which take water from deeper down in the lake) wouldn't get affected by it but if there was some rough water it could mix and get in there."

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, consumption of hydraulic fluids can lead to gostrointestinal and nervous system issues. Like any hydrocarbon substance, it's best left unconsumed if at all possible.

Boiling water will not reduce the harm, so residents have been advised to use bottled water for consumption in the meantime.

Hawkins said, "As soon as we can lift it we'll put out the press release. If you keep an eye on our website it will be out on that."

Advisory of the day


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A faulty chlorine drip is to blame for a boil water advisory at Riverbank Cottages and Trailer Park in Wilberforce, Ontario.

A communications officer for Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit was able to confirm via email that they issued a Boil Water Advisory to the campground last Friday (June 23).

Mike Neumann, the owner of the park, told this reporter that they just had a bad reading on the system and everything is working at 100% now.

"The chlorine drip was acting up and I got it replaced on the same day," Neumann said, "There's a rubber band on the chlorine drip and it wore out," adding, "I noticed it right away and now it's fixed."

The park has 15 trailer sites and nine cabins on site.

Due to the poor weather they've been having, there haven't been many guests at the park since the BWA has been issued, so only two guests, Neumann, his wife, Allison have been affected.

She confirmed that tests, which were sent to Lakefield Water Testing on Monday, have come back negative for both total coliform and E.Coli, so she's hoping the ban will be lifted in time for the long weekend.

According to the Health Unit, as of this afternoon they were still awaiting the results of those tests, so the Boil Water Advisory is still in place as of publishing.

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Okanagan Indian Band is warning the public to avoid contact with water due to algae blooms that have appeared in the northern arm of Lake Okanagan.

A high level of organic material is combining with warmer-than-average temperatures to create the unseasonal blooms of blue-green algae.

The band's Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has advised against swimming, fishing and especially drinking the water. Even pets and livestock are recommended to be kept at bay. Unlike other water advisories, the EOC are saying that boiling will not reduce the effect of the harmful bacteria.

Just being exposed to the bacteria can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in the eyes, ears or throat. Actually drinking the water can cause acute reactions to the kidney, liver and central nervous system with a possibility of death.

The bloom is expected to be around for the coming week and the band will be monitoring it accordingly.

Initial reports were that untreated sewage made its way into the lake but further testing has discounted that for now.

This comes on the heels of 200 seasonal and permanent homes on band land being evacuated due to flooding.

Further details were inquired about through the Okanagan Indian Band's communication department but all questions and requests for interviews were denied.

On the band's Facebook group, their moderator wrote, "One of the largest contributing factor to the bloom is the burlap sandbags and as residents and visitors have been preparing the flood barrier protections this equates several hundred thousand sandbags along the Okanagan Lake in the North Arm."

Lake Okanagan has seen its share of flooding related issues so far this summer. A boil water advisory was issued in West Kelowna in late May after high water levels resulted in the Westside Regional Water Treatment plant having to discharge treated sewage into the lake.

Advisory of the day


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Residents of Whale Cove, Nunavut are being advised to boil their water for at least one minute before consuming.

Nunavut's Department of Health released a public health advisory informing residents that the water system in the hamlet tested positive for total coliforms, an indicator of other pathogens in the system.

Ron Wassink, Communications Specialist for the Nunavut Department of Health confirmed that the advisory is affecting the entire town of close to 500 residents.

The boil water advisory (BWA) will remain in place for the near future as a solution is still some time away, said Ian Copland, Whale Cove's Senior Administrative Officer.

Right now, the system lacks a filtration or UV device to remove the bacteria, so the water remains in holding tanks with a chlorine solution.

"They are talking about a portable unit being sent in by boat sometime this summer," said Copland, "I understand it has a filtration system but I'm not sure it has UV."

He added that this BWA came as somewhat of a surprise.

"For the past couple summers it has gone pretty well all summer long until the lake starts freezing."

Residents as being advised to boil water for the following uses:
  • Drinking,
  • Preparing infant formulas,
  • Preparing juices and ice cubes,
  • Washing fruits and vegetables,
  • Cooking, and
  • Brushing of teeth
While the water remains safe for adult bathing, it's recommended that the elderly and infants be given sponge baths to avoid accidental swallowing.

Advisory of the day


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The Municipality of Saint-Narcisse, in the Mauricie Region of Québec, issued A Boil Water Advisory on June 1, 2017. The reason behind the notice was a broken water main and water outage. The town issued two notices to residents on its website on June 1, the final communiqué stated that "the main break had been located and water would be restored," except one area on de l'Église Street.

The advisory is no longer listed on the website of the Ministère du développement durable, Environnement et Lutte contre les changement climatique (MDDELCC), the Québec government body that lists water advisories in the province.

We contacted the Municipal Offices of Saint-Narcisse to get an update on their water situation. Municipal officials confirmed that the "main break had been repaired and the advisory lifted within 24hrs." Municipal crews responded quickly and addressed the situation, and water has been restored to the entire town.

Advisory of the day


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A boil water advisory (BWA) has been issued for the Hamlet of Naujaat, Nunavut.

The water system for Naujaat, formerly known as Repulse Bay until two years ago, had recently been undergoing some operational difficulties, so a BWA was issued for precautionary reasons.

"We just got a brand new pump and fill station," said Rob Hedley, Senior Administration Officer for Naujaat, "And we were having difficulty getting the right mixture of chlorine in the system."

He told this reporter during a phone interview that testing has shown there is no inherent contamination of the lake that is being used as a source for the water system and that they are expecting to have the kinks worked out of the system in short order.

He expects that the approximately 1200 resident of Nauvaat that are affected by this water advisory will be pleased once the new system is running a little more smoothly.

"It eliminates the need for contact time," Hedley said," With the old (water system) it wasn't filtered right away so we had to wait twenty minutes before delivering to the residents."

He also mentioned that a lot of the population of Nauvaat are young children, so the BWA was issued quickly to avoid any possible repercussions.

Preliminary tests have come back favourable and Hedley is optimistic that the BWA will be lifted by start of next week.

Ron Wassink, a representative for Nunavut's Department of Health said that an initial press release sent out with information on reverse osmosis taps has since been recalled, as the community does not use them.

He also confirmed that he doesn't recall issuing any BWAs for the community before, so this is not an endemic issue for them.

Advisory of the day


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A Boil Water Notice (BWN) is in place at Elysia Resort in Horsefly, British Columbia.

The resort, located on Quesnel Lake close to a host of mountainous provincial parks, has been on the advisory since June 15.

In an email to this reporter, Darshan Lindsay, Director of Media Relations with Interior Health, said that during a site visit by an environmental health officer, it was noted the alarm light for the resort's water system was on.

Given concern that inadequately treated water could be entering the system, the BWN was put in place.

The system uses both filtration and UV light to clean its water but it is unclear at this time what the issue is.

A maintenance company has been called in to look at the system, and water samples are being taken to determine next steps.

Pending the results of those tests, the BWN could be rescinded in a few weeks.

Elysia Resort is a seasonal campground/resort with 9 cabins, 9 campsites, and a duplex and six-plex unit.

The number of people affected by the BWN would depend on how many people are on site using the facilities.

Healther Walstrom, a manager at Elysia Resort, said that she's pretty certain that the water system is running as it should and that the issue is a simple mix-up from when the bulb for the system's electrical panel was replaced.

According to Walstrom, the individual tasked with changing the bulb should also have reset the system and accidentally neglected to.

She confirmed that she will be dropping off some water samples tomorrow and is hoping the BWN is removed soon.

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The Town of Deer Lake in Newfoundland is currently under two partial boil water advisories (BWA) due to maintenance.

Gate House Row and Devon Road have been under a BWA since May 10, while the town's First, Second and Third Avenues have been on a BWA since June 14.

"We're upgrading some streets in town," said David Thomas, Deer Lake's Superintendent of Public Works, "We're taking out the old asbestos lines and putting in new PVC."

Deer Lake has seen 16 similar BWAs since 2008, so this reporter asked Thomas whether there was any relation to the current construction.

He was able to confirm that every couple of years the town upgrades a few streets at a time to replace the aging infrastructure. Thomas said that these BWAs are affecting, "roughly 150 to 200" residents of the town.

He is estimating that construction on the earlier project affecting Gate House Row and Devon Road will be completed by the middle of July, while the remaining project should wrap up by the end of summer.

At this point, the new infrastructure will be flushed and the water carried within tested until deemed fit for consumption.

When asked when the last of the construction projects needed to replace the old infrastructure will happen, Thomas said that he's not sure, as it will depend on government funding.

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A State of Emergency has been declared for the First Nations community of Eabametoong after a fire in a building beside their water purification plant resulted in contamination of the water supply on June 6th.

Area MP Bob Nault released a statement on his website saying, "The community has received 4000 litres of water from INAC's regional office and all potable water is being rationed and distributed from the school gymnasium."

He went on to mention that the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Police (NAPS) and the Fire Marshall's Office are involved in investigating the cause of the fire.

Health Canada informed us that the water advisory is a Do Not Consume. These are issued when the water system contains a contaminant that can't be removed from the water by boiling.

As such, the water is not safe for drinking, brushing teeth, washing fruits and vegetables or bathing infants or toddlers.

Water from a nearby lake is being pumped for non-potable uses like toilets.

In an email to this reporter, Health Canada said that they visited the community on June 8, 2017, to collect samples to verify that the water is free of contaminants and that they are expecting results from the lab during the week of June 19.

Once the samples confirm that the water is safe to consume, the Do Not Consume Advisory will be lifted by the First Nation leadership. Throughout the Do Not Consume Advisory, Health Canada has been working with Chief Atlookan, community technical advisors and other federal departments to ensure that bottled water is available in the community, including the nursing station, and that nursing services remain fully operational.

A boil water advisory (BWA) has been in place in the community since 2001 as well.

In the email referenced earlier, Health Canada told this reporter that it was put in place because of low residual chlorine throughout the distribution system and that it will remain in place after the Do Not Consume Advisory is lifted.

The community is working with their technical advisors at Matawa Tribal Council and is in discussions with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to make the necessary repairs to lift the BWA.

The First Nations Community of about 1000 residents is facing its second fire related disaster in as many years. In April of 2016, a blaze destroyed their decade old community centre.

Community leader, Chief Atlookan, did not comment by time of publishing.

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The Northern Village (NV) of Aupaluk is located on Ungava Bay in Northern Québec. The drinking water for the population of 159 is provided by tanker truck. The Ministère du Développement durable, Environnement et Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) has had the village's water supply under a Boil Water Advisory since May 22 if this year.

We contacted the Village Office and were promptly directed to contact the operators of the tanker truck. When contact was made with the operator, we were informed that they could not answer questions on the subject and were informed to contact their boss, the Kativik Regional Government (KRG). We were able to confirm with both the office and operator that the boil order is indeed still in effect.

The person responsible for Aupaluk's drinking water, has been unreachable for comment.

The question remains how did this particular tanker become contaminated? The World Health Organization's (WHO) Fact Sheet 2.28 offers some indications.

According to the WHO when drinking water is supplied in this manner "some contamination almost always gets into the tank." This could be due to the fact that other liquids have been transported in the same tank and some residue has mixed into the drinking water. These trucks have a tendency to become contaminated without regular cleaning, and the WHO recommends the tank be "spray-rinsed with a 0.2 percent solution of chlorine," before filling with drinking water.

Whatever the cause of this specific case of contamination may be, the 159 residents must continue to boil their water before drinking. Water delivered in this manner is very susceptible to germs. The WHO stresses proper maintenance because if not properly cleaned one dirty load can "contaminate subsequent, possibly clean, loads."

Advisory of the day


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Similar boil water advisories placed in relatively nearby water systems in Saskatchewan were found not to be connected.

Boil Water Advisories were placed on the Town of Midale as well as the Village of Manor last week for distribution system depressurization caused by low source water levels.

Water Security Agency of Saskatchewan was able to confirm that the two advisories, placed in towns an hour-and-a- half drive apart, had no bearing on each other.

"We ran out of water in our reservoirs due to a float that didn't shut off," said Linda Dugan, Administrator for the Town of Midale, "Someone was hauling huge amounts of water and it caused us to lose our water."

Once a water line is depressurized in Saskatchewan, it is standard practice to issue a boil water advisory, just in case some contaminants make their way into the line.

"It's up to the community as to when they have them fixed," said Patrick Boyle, Director of Corporate Communications with Water Security Agency, "We have to have a series of tests 48 hours apart once the repair is done. Once they satisfy our guidelines we'll lift the advisory."

Dugan said that Midale has received word from a lab in Regina that their first test is fine and are now currently waiting on the results of the second.

Although the Village of Manor could not be reached for comment, Boyle said that the issue in their water system was a water line break due to aging infrastructure.

"It's pretty common across the province and Western Canada," said Boyle, "It could be an aging line that the freeze/ thaw cycle wears and tears.

Advisory of the day


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A Boil Water Notice has been issued by the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), in conjunction with Island Health, due to a positive E.Coli sample found in one of their reservoirs.

The district is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

45,000 users are affected by this boil water notice including: the City of Courtenay, the Town of Comox, and the Comox Valley, Arden, Marsden/Camco, Greaves Crescent, and England Road water local service areas.

According to the CVRD, there are six water storage reservoirs in the Comox Valley water system and the outlet sample at the Comox Reservoir tested positive for E. coli.

So far, they have inspected the affected reservoir but have not been able to identify any issues.

CVRD are continuing to test samples taken from all the reservoirs. Once there have been three consecutive samples that are clear of the bacteria, Island Health will issue a notice to the CVRD to lift the Boil Water Notice. Until then, all residents are instructed to boil their water as per Island Health's recommendations.

Tannis Gray, a manager at Atlas Café in Courtenay, says that drinking water has been an issue in the Comox Valley for a couple years now.

"Typically it's water turbidity and it's creating a bit of a bad bacteria," she said," So we're starting to get used to this."

According to Gray, the city has talked about including a new system in their budget for some time, adding that people were expecting to hear about something in 2017 but seeing as it's halfway through the year, everyone is getting a little weary.

"Restaurants are taking on a lot of cost," Gray said, "We're bringing in bottled water, bagged ice and we have to bring in canned pop as the syrup is not of much use with tainted water."

She went on to say that some restaurants have been getting away with boiling their water, but since Atlas Café is a bustling establishment that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, it's not as feasible to rely on.

"We have to offer 25c a glass instead of free refills," she said, "I find that people for the most part are understanding about it, but it's nice to have a beer maybe instead."

Gray lives within the boundaries of the advisory, so she boils water and hauls jugs at home.

"We haul it all by hand so it's a bit of a workout," she said, "so nobody need a gym pass these days."

Advisory of the day


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A precautionary boil water advisory (BWA) was issued by the City of Gatineau in Quebec on Sunday.

According to Yves Melanson, Media Relations Officer for the City of Gatineau, the Buckingham sector's water plant underwent mechanical difficulties which resulted in a lower than normal level of chlorine.

"Because it was lower than the level prescribed by the province, we issued a preventative advisory," said Melanson, " We took samples yesterday and should be getting results today and we'll (take samples) again today, so we'll know tomorrow whether we're able to remove the advisory."

The Buckingham sector, located in the eastern part of Gatineau is home to approximately 12,000 residents, all of whom are affected.

The Boil Water Advisory comes on the heels of some major difficulties that the city has faced due to spring flooding conditions along the banks of the Ottawa River, Lac Leamy and the Gatineau River. According to Melanson, however, the BWA is, "completely separate from the floods."

Gatineau was hit quite hard this season, with over 1,800 houses affected by the rising water levels. Some residents were forced to leave their houses thanks to raw sewage surging through their pipes.

The town is recommending affected residents boil their water for at least one minute prior to using.

Some residents may find that the tap water is coloured, in which case they should let the tap run until it is clear again. It's estimated that the boil water advisory will be lifted by the end of the week.



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High lake water levels on Lake Okanagan affecting the treatment of waste water have resulted in a Boil Water Notice being put in place for a small section of West Kelowna, British Columbia.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan upgraded a precautionary Public Health Advisory issued on Tuesday night to a Boil Water Notice regarding the discharge of treated effluent from the Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant into Okanagan Lake.

"It's not just a single discharge, it's a continuous discharge," said Dan Ferguson, Manager within the population health portfolio with Interior Health Authority, "What's happening is the community sewer system is being inundated by the high water from Okanagan Lake. They're able to treat the sewage but they can't discharge it to the lake as rapidly as they need to."

The district has installed an overland line and are discharging treated sewage at the end of the beach.

"From our perspective, whether it's raw sewage or treated sewage, it does present health risks for water users hence the geographic notice," said Ferguson.

The exact number of people this notice affects couldn't be confirmed but it applies to 11 lots of land that contain a total of 14 dwellings.

The Regional District is providing the Boil Water Notice directly to the affected property owners. In addition, as recommended by Interior Health, they are providing bottled water for affected residents.

Ferguson said that the Regional District of Central Okanagan will continue discharging as long as the lake levels are high.

"We're waiting for the lake to recede, so it's probably another three to four weeks, Ferguson said, "It's the second highest water level ever recorded, so it will probably be until the end of June if I'm speculating."



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Flooding in the Eastern part of Canada has been particularly large and widespread. In Quebec, the elevated water levels have affected communities in 11 administrative regions across the province. Homes in six municipalities and boroughs in Montreal have been hit this spring.

The most recent information from Urgence Québec shows that 412 homes have been flooded, 537 people have been evacuated, and 9 roads have been closed in the metropolitan area.

Earlier this week the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) believed that there was no need to worry about the quality of water in areas touched by flooding in the province. Municipalities with water treatment systems are well equipped to deal with any contamination threat. The MDDELCC did caution those who are supplied from wells to disinfect the well and test the water before drinking if your area had been flooded.

Ville de Montréal echoed the ministry's statement from a few days ago. Jacques-Alain Lavallée, Communication Manager Public Affairs Division with the city, stated that "tap water remains of excellent quality in flooded areas." The reliability of the water is assured he said "when it comes from the municipal distribution network," the aqueduct.

Lavallée added that if people's drinking water is supplied "from an individual well, an artesian well, it is non-potable." If that is the case it is "necessary to boil water at a rolling boil for one minute before consuming."

Join us as we continue to monitor the drinking water quality as other municipalities report in.



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Government officials in Central British Columbia have been warning residents to be prepared for a potential flooding event.

Although last night's rainstorm didn't result in water levels rising to the levels expected in and around Kelowna, residents are still being advised to be diligent and on their guard.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations posted a news report to their website this morning saying, "Prepare for the worst, hope for the best."

Included in the report were the following tips:
  • removing items from below-ground basements and crawlspaces
  • being prepared to leave at a moment's notice by gathering all essential items such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (i.e. insurance) and immediate care needs for dependants
  • preparing to move any disabled persons and/or children, and pets and/or livestock to a safe area
  • arranging accommodation for your family, if possible
  • signing up for e-updates at www.cordemergency.ca for the most current information regarding the flood Excessive flooding can often result in water quality advisories being issued.
Darshan Lindsay, spokesperson for Interior Health British Columbia (IH) provided the following information via email.

"Our environmental health officers have been busy working with local water systems and ensuring that water system users are advised of changes to their drinking water quality resulting from either flooding or the spring freshet."

She said that Water Quality Advisories and Boil Water Notices are posted on the IH webpage

"Regular coordination calls are being held throughout the health region to review current status and contingency plans as the situation evolves. This includes an IH wide virtual Emergency Operations Centre, a Health Protection Incident Command Post and community level incident management calls," Lindsay explained.

Kelowna General Hospital continues to make preparations including sand bagging for precautionary reasons as it falls within the flood watch warning area.

Concerned residents can follow updates through BC River Forecast Centre.

They monitor, analyse and model the stream flow conditions around the province by using a variety of techniques and models with data input of snow surveys, weather and stream flow from BC Ministry of Environment and Environment Canada.

Their website can be found at http://bcrfc.env.gov.bc.ca/index.htm Gabrielle Price, a spokesperson for the organisation, said, "Currently, there are flood watches in effect for several rivers and streams in the interior, Okanagan and Peace regions of B.C. The River Forecast Centre is continually monitoring conditions in the affected areas and will update any advisories and warnings as conditions warrant.

A Facebook Group - Kelowna Floods May 2017 - has been started that is acting as a resource for volunteer coordination. Various people are offering their services for sandbagging help, while others are pointing where it is needed the most.

Joe Gerolami owns Border Plumbing, Heating and Electric in Kelowna.

"It's such an anomaly what's transpired," Gerolami said," Normally we don't get a ton of rain, nothing as drastic as this year." He's expecting to get a few calls about flooded basements in the coming days.

"Typically it's draining issue," he said, "In some of the older parts of town the sewers are above the drains."

Gerolami lives up in the mountains, so isn't worried about his own home but said that those living on the flats are more likely to suffer poor consequences.



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Ottawa Public Health has been warning those who live within flood zones that draw their water from wells to test for possible contaminants.

Heavier than usual precipitation during the first week of May in conjunction with the annual Spring melt has resulted in severe flooding in parts of Eastern Ontario and Quebec.

Gord Erikson lives in Constance Bay, a community west of Ottawa on the Ottawa River that has been particularly hard hit by the recent flood.

"Our pump is actually submerged so we haven't been pumping water out of a well," he said, "I'm pretty confident I'll be able to turn the pump on in a couple days and expect it'll be fine."

Erikson's used a sandpoint well, a shallow water well, for his drinking supply.

Although he remains sure his well remains safe, he says some of his neighbours are experiencing contamination.

"Most of the contamination is based on well heads that have been submerged," Erikson said, "So people are seeing surface water inside of their wells," adding, "There are probably within 10 houses down the road people are reporting coliform within their water."

The community of Constance Bay has become quite tight knit in their response to the flooding.

A Facebook Group - Constance Bay Flood 2017 - was started and has been used to spread info on volunteer services, bottled water delivery and availability, in addition to well contamination.

"It's actually very unique in its ability to come together and help each other out," Erikson said, "It's actually been overwhelming."

While water provided by the City of Ottawa is deemed safe to drink, those who use wells for their drinking water are advised to take precautions.

The following signs to look out for have been provided on Ottawa Public Health's website:
  • Well head is or was completely submersed by flood water
  • Well is or was surrounded by flood water
  • Basement is or was flooded
  • The well casing is or was damaged or compromised
  • Well cap is or was missing or damaged
The city is recommending that if a house is currently flooded, the owner should test their well water once the flood water levels have receded and the well is no longer affected by flood water.

Before testing, owners should ensure that there is no flood water immediately surrounding the well after which point they should shock and flush the well.

Ottawa Public Health provided the following comment via email, "Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is communicating with residents affected by flooding by providing information on a flooding information page on Ottawa.ca, which includes a FAQ with well water information and questions about water contamination.

OPH also has public health inspectors and nurses deployed at the City of Ottawa's Emergency Community Support Centres to triage, answer City resource questions and follow up on resident inquiries. These emergency community support centres will also be open throughout the upcoming weekend. Residents can also contact OPH's Information Line at 613-580-6744 during regular business hours or 311 afterhours."



The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment website states that "flood damage is an increasing problem," in the province. It is attributed to growing population density around bodies of water driven by waterfront property value. As the population grows on floodplains, the province seeks to understand the history of the phenomenon in the area.

Erin Shea, Communications Director with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment Newfoundland and Labrador, said that "infrastructure damage generally represents the highest percentage of repair costs from a major flood, very often this is municipal infrastructure." Shea added that the damage can include "exposure of and damage to water and sewer lines." Often bridges and culverts are damaged "due to inadequate capacity to convey the spring flood flows through them."

In order to be prepared the department undertakes regular flood risk mapping, hurricane alerts, as well as maintaining and cleaning infrastructure in the spring. The province engages in the usual flood preparations such as sandbagging, Shea said that "at times there has been the ability to divert stream flow to avoid further impacts to infrastructure [and] property."

A very important point is that access to overland flood insurance is gradually being introduced in Newfoundland and Labrador," for private sector claims. Until this become more available and affordable, Shea said that the "government will access the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program (DFAA) to assist with private sector claims." There is available coverage for sewer back-ups and for commercial properties.

As we have seen people's needs in times of flooding may go beyond the material. Shea continued, the province "will deploy resources to to support individuals or families," who require social support. Shea said that "residents in need of temporary emergency social services have their basic needs provided for through the provincial department responsible for [that] and from non-governmental organizations."

Shea concluded by saying "surface water supplies can be affected, as well as wells." Surface water supplies "might have sediment and silt run into them, while wells might be flooded and contaminated." Caution is to be advised before drinking this water when the water levels and flow rates drop.

The Flood Risk and Vulnerability Analysis Project which is a collection of data on flood and storm events from 1950 to 2014 underline the province's commitment to finding solutions to increasing flooding events. Contained in the project is nearly 700 records of flood events in Newfoundland.

The significant flooding in the town of Badger in 2003, which according to the Department of Environment and Climate Change, caught "the town off guard, [and] extremely cold conditions encased a large portion of the town in ice." As a result of this event the province The province innovated its approach, which "aided decision makers forecast whether floods from ice jamming may occur in the future."

Newfoundland and Labrador partnered with the European Space agency to develop a project that "has been presented internationally as a model for other jurisdictions to learn from." In 2003, no real-time monitoring of the river ice existed. The department explained that the project placed "cameras on the Exploits River to visually assess ice conditions, [used] satellite imagery to assess how much ice is in the river and where it is consolidating." The project even issued alerts for provincial, local, and emergency response personnel.

Newfoundland has realized the increasing threat of flooding and has managed to rise to the occasion learning from past flood events in the province and adapting new techniques which allow it to better predict floods and effectively respond to them.

Advisory of the day


A State of Local Emergency, declared late last week by Enderby, British Columbia town officials is still in place thanks to some infrastructure failure and poor weather conditions.

A broken waterline from a few weeks ago in conjunction with a massive storm that resulted in far higher than usual water turbidity, left the town struggling to keep pace with normal water demands.

Tate Bengtson, Enderby's Chief Administrative Officer, says that thanks to some "tremendous community support," the town has turned a corner and will be back to normal fairly soon.

The town of around 3000 people, has two water sources, a surface water intake off of the Shuswap River that is adjacent to their water treatment plant, and a ground water well in a rural area about 5km away.

According to Bengtson, about three weeks ago a waterline connecting the two sources, which went underneath the Shuswap River, broke.

"After sending a dive team to do an inspection, it was determined that it's not repairable," explained Bengtson, "So since that time we've been working to establish a temporary line along the side of a bridge."

In the meantime, the town has been running a temporary line overland made from eight inch high-density polyethylene (HDPE) inside of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) casing.

"We were working towards that and all of a sudden last Friday a massive thunderstorm walloped the whole region including Enderby," Bengtson said.

The impact of the storm was hard felt in terms of mountain run off and spring melt pushing the river to its capacity.

Bengtson said that river turbity went from around three to six NTUs to over 300 NTUs during the event, resulting in the town being unable to make their water meet Canadian drinking water guidelines in their plant.

So at that point a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) was placed.

To make matters worse, when the river spiked the town's water treatment plant couldn't get the water through their intake.

"Because we can't rely upon our secondary source because of the bad connection," Bengtson said, "We started to shuttle water in fire trucks from the secondary source."

The shuttling system couldn't keep pace with a normal day's demand, so the town had to declare a state of local emergency with mandatory water conservation rules put in place.

Enderby's volunteer fire department hand-delivered conservation notices house-to-house and that helped gain community buy-in, Bengtson explained.

"People have been very diligent at conserving water," he said, "They've adjusted their habits and this is what has helped to save the day."

A contractor is now on scene installing the temporary line across the bridge.

They are anticipating that it will take around three days to fully roll it out, pressure test and disinfect it.

"After disinfection occurs we would do the tie in," Bengtson said, "And then we'd be able to re-establish a connection between primary and secondary sources and we can ease back on our mandatory conservation advisory."

If all goes according to plan, it'll be around the middle of next week before the system is given the all clear and they can start communicating with the Health Authority to lift the BWA.

This summer they're looking to start putting the finishing touches on their permanent fix, which will involve drilling twin lines along the river bed at a deeper depth.

They're hoping that it will set up their system on a stronger footing than what they had in the first place.

"We always try to find a way to makes sure our system and our community come out more resilient and stronger after an emergency," Bengtson said.



The province of Nova Scotia has historical experience with major flooding. Nova Scotia Environment (NSE) website cites examples of catastrophic flooding such as the "record storm surge flooding along the Bay of Fundy coastline during the Saxby Gale of 1869." The site also points to "the serious flooding in Oxford and Truro in 2003 resulting from heavy rain."

Brian Taylor with Communications Nova Scotia for Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Internal Services and Public Service Commission said that "typical issues related to infrastructure as a result of flooding are washed out roads and culverts, [and] eroding of shoulders and coastlines." There are areas where the roads become inaccessible with no damage, "in other cases culverts and shoulders will need to be repaired after the water recedes," Taylor added.

Taylor underlines that "any time structure or roads near water courses are repaired or replaced, they are designed and upgraded to accommodate and withstand current and, to the extent possible, future weather patterns."

The province relies on a federal financial program in times of disaster to aid residents, businesses and non-profits. Taylor said that in "Nova Scotia the program becomes available when the damage exceeds $3 million."

Municipalities play leading roles in times of floods, the Emergency Management Office (EMO) supports the municipal effort in terms of planning, training and response. The EMO coordinates the efforts between departments for road closures and when the situation involves electricity they "would liaise with Nova Scotia Power," Taylor said.

Taylor highlighted that "the EMO works closely with partners on a regular basis on emergency planning and preparedness to support the safety and security of all Nova Scotians if an Emergency Happens."

In terms of drinking water, Taylor said that "flooding can lead to the contamination of well water with bacteria and chemical contaminants." Taylor added that "shallow aquifers may also have water quality affected, [with] increased turbidity and bacteria levels," though deeper groundwater will be more naturally protected.

The province produced a fact sheet on well water in flood situations and once it is operational again encourages individuals to flush well, disinfect, test for bacteria and chemicals. If Water is not clear after the results residents should contact NSE.

Update 2017/5/10


Residents and city workers stack sandbags to keep flood water at bay
on Cousineau Street in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough of Montreal. - Photo: Cori Marshall

The flooding in Quebec this spring has reached historic levels. Approximately 150 municipalities and over 1500 homes have been hit by rising water levels in the province. Some municipalities have declared a State of Emergency locally, including Montreal and Laval.

More than 150 bodies of water are currently under observation in all seventeen Administrative regions in the province. As it stands now there are 13 basins under surveillance, 14 with minor flooding, 4 with medium flooding, 3 with major flooding. Now the work is to keep the water at bay, but the real work begins when assessing the damage.

As the flood waters recede people will begin to feel the financial burden. Thomas Blanchet Civil Security Spokesperson for the mnistère de la Sécurité Publique (MSP), Quebec's public security ministry, said that "flooding is not an insurable risk, and is not covered by private insurance companies." Blanchet added that "this is why the MSP has put in place a financial aid program for citizens and municipalities."

In Quebec as a "tenant or owner of a principal residence [citizens] could receive financial assistance to guard against a danger or repair damage caused during a disaster." Claims may be reimbursed up to $3000, yet people are encouraged to act quickly and take preventive measures to protect their home. Municipalities are also eligible to be reimbursed for preventive measures such as sandbags.

The Red Cross has launched a campaign to support flood victims and the government has "supported the campaign by giving $500 thousand."

Blanchet said that infrastructure can be affected in different ways by flooding, adding "it has to do with the level of water and the length of time," that it is present. Blanchet explained that extended flooding on a roadway "may [cause it] to weaken]."

Flood relief efforts are coordinated with many public security institutions. Marie-Claude Dandenault, Commander of Communications and Media Relations for the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), said that their "role is one of support."

Dandenault added that their "main activities are controlling traffic in affected areas, and assisting firefighters and ambulances if need be."

Dandenault underlined that "officers will be going door to door in areas at risk to give residents advice."

The website Préparation à l'urgence stated that "flooding has many consequences," on drinking water. They point to "overflowing sewers and septic tanks [as well as] contamination by pathogenic germs."

Clément Falardeau, Publicist with the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, said that "the Department considers that there is no need to worry about the quality of drinking water produced by municipalities in different regions of Quebec." He continued "municipalities that source their water from lakes and rivers that are experiencing flooding are equipped with water treatment systems."

Falardeau assured that theses systems "allow [the municipalities] to cope with the degradation of raw water that could be caused by floods or sewage overflows." He added, presently "there is no indication that the quality of drinking water distributed could have been compromised." In the event that these water systems were to become contaminated people would be notified through their municipality with a boil or non-consumption notice.

For those whose drinking water is sourced from wells, the MDDELCC "recommends that the well water be considered unsafe if their area is flooded." These people would need to find an alternate source from an unaffected distribution system, use bottled water, or boil the water for at least one if they drink or cook with it. Before consuming the well water certain precautions should be taken, "disinfection of the well and analysis of water samples," Falardeau said.

In the upheaval of a major flooding event, there will always be things that are overlooked at the onset. For example, water heaters that are generally in the basement, how are they impacted when rivers and lakes leave their bed?

Valérie Gonzalo, Media Relations with Lowe's Canada said "anytime there is a water heater that is installed on a floor where there is flooding, [it] should be replaced as the combustion chamber will most likely be damaged." Gonza added that "this is especially true for gas units where the combustion chamber doesn't sit far off the floor." A major domestic appliance that generally needs replacement every 8 to 12 may most likely have to be discarded in the event of a flood.

Gonzalo pointed out that should the "heater be stationed on a drain pan and water doesn't rise higher than the pan, [it] should be okay." this may not be the case in some of the areas hardest hit this spring.

Not all the of the impacts come with a heavy price tag, there are human costs in natural disasters. Jeremy Stone, a PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia's (UBC) School of Community and Regional Planning, said that "obviously in all disaster situations there can be a significant psychological toll."

People will be dealing with "the loss of loved ones, homes, personal effects, businesses, and social and cultural spaces," Stone said. These issues "can have a significant and lasting impact on individuals and communities," Stone added. He underlined that "psychological services are increasingly important in disaster management, and play a key role in bridging individuals from short-term response to long-term recovery."

For those in affected areas the recovery may only be beginning, and this process may last for some time to come. The price tag may be heavy, and things lost may be irreplaceable. As people begin to the process to get their lives back to normal, the most important part of this recovery is self-care.



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Greater than normal rainfall during the first week of May has resulted in flood conditions across Ontario.

Clarence-Rockland, just east of Ottawa has been under a state of emergency since Thursday; already high lake levels have Toronto Island residents dealing with Lake Ontario encroaching on their yards and Peterborough recently had to issue a boil water advisory for those down river of them.

Daryl Stevenson is the Chief Operator at the Waste Water Treatment Plant in the City of Peterborough.

He said that they're doing OK for now but are not out of the woods yet.

A huge rain surcharge over the last week or so resulted in them having to perform a bypass last Friday, meaning a quantity of raw sewage entered the Otonabee River without being treated.

"We issued a water advisory for people south of us who take their water from the river," Stevenson said," We just wanted to make sure no one was pulling something from the river and using it as potable water, like a cottage or some sort."

Conditions have been a little better the past couple days and it is supposed to be dry in the area until the weekend.

"We've since been able to bring the flow back down," Stevenson said, "But the next challenge is going to be the Otonabee rising."

"We currently have some overland pumps installed," Stevenson went on to explain, "So we're prepared for the worst." They're not expecting the Otonabee to be at its highest until the weekend as a lot of water is expected to come down from up north in the Haliburton region.

Toronto Water informed us that there were no issues with their city's water treatment plants.

In a statement we received from Toronto Water via email, we were told that the previous week's storm was a slow moving one unlike the intense, fast storms they sometimes see in the summer.

They went on to mention that over 200 basement flooding calls had been received by Toronto Water as a result of the rain this past Thursday/Friday.

"Investigations are being conducted and include determining if the flooding was a result of sewer back-up or overland flow," they said, adding "The number is above normal call volumes but within expected volumes for rain events and reflects that it was a slow steady rain."

Apparently calls were fairly evenly distributed throughout the city with minimal impact in Etobicoke.

"The storm sewer under Lower Simcoe underpass in the week previous had been affected by Lake Ontario's high water level," Toronto Water explained, "Current lake water levels are above the elevation of the catch basins, so as a result, that area had experienced ponding on the road."

A temporary repair was implemented but they were aware that last week's rain could result in temporary flooding of this area again.

The underpass was monitored throughout the rain event and some ponding on Saturday morning was cleared by mid-day. Jon Careless is a chartered insurance professional who spent many years as an in-the-field claims adjuster.

He has seen his share of flood disasters, most notably being called in to help after Hurricane Sandy.

"When I first arrived, there were national guards escorting me around," Careless said, "I had to show (those making claims) my credentials as an insurance person as there were a lot of fears of robbery."

Those wouldn't be typical situations in the flood-affected areas in Ontario right now but that being said, there are undoubtedly some property owners with crossed fingers, hoping the significant damage done to their property is covered by insurance.

Careless explained that the one thing that claimants are most surprised by is how long it can take for everything to get back to normal.

In areas that are hard hit by floods, consultants need to be brought in on behalf of the insurance companies to handle the influx of claimants; they in turn have to pass along their recommendations to the insurance firms, who can often get bogged down, resulting in slower than usual responses to claims.

That compiled with a shortage of restoration companies that do the tear outs and dry outs can mean extended wait times. "In a flood situation people might not get their basement rebuilt for a year," Careless said, "So sometimes they might need to find new accommodations."

This can be extremely difficult when hundreds or thousands around you are also searching for a temporary place to lay their head.

"In some cases, they have to leave town," Careless said, "In situations like New Orleans, many never came back."



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While Quebec and Ontario are dealing with evacuations and major flooding in certain areas, New Brunswick has had it relatively easy this spring.

Robert Duguay Media Relations with the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety pointed out that there has been "no major damage or impacts to public infrastructure." There has been some minor flooding and some water on roads. Duguay added that the 2017 flood events "happened in areas that experience annual flooding."

Duguay said that "generally the province will monitor the roads for integrity," and if the roads prove to be unsafe due to water "they will be closed until they are."

Being that there has been no major flooding in the province there are no financial aid packages available to the public. Duguay said that "the government can decide to put [one] in place," if there was a major flood event and this has been done in the past.

Duguay stated that the majority of work in the immediate aftermath of a flood are "practical and generally deal with the cleaning of the roadways." Duguay suggested that New Brunswick "had it easy this year," where only the normal flood plains were affected.

Advisory of the day


A Boil Water Advisory (BWA) has been lifted in the town of Birchy Bay, Newfoundland after E.Coli was detected in the town's water supply.

According to Service Newfoundland (NL), who conducts bacteriological testing of public water supplies on a monthly basis, "Four samples were collected on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at Jumper's Pond. Test results received on Thursday, April 27 indicated that E. coli and total coliforms were present in one of the samples."

Jumper's Pond, the town's water source, is a natural waterway.

Service NL says that there is no known seasonal link to the detection of E.coli and total coliforms in water supplies. Bitchy Bay, named after the numerous birches spotted along its shores, is home to 566 people, all of whom were affected by the advisory.

"The usual process for addressing this type of test result is to increase chlorination and do follow-up tests as soon as possible.," Service NL informed us, "In this case, inclement weather prevented staff from travelling to the water supply to conduct the follow-up testing on a timely basis, and as a precaution a boil water advisory was issued on Friday, April 28."

Since that incident, further testing has since been conducted, and the results indicate the issue has been addressed. The boil order was lifted on Thursday, May 4.

Francis King, an employee of local restaurant, Nick's Place, said that the boil water advisory didn't really affect their business.

"The only thing we use the water for here is washing dishes," King told us, "We bring water in for the coffee and tea." When asked why they don't use the municipal water, King said that there's too much chlorine in it.

Town officials could not be reached for comment as their offices are closed until May 9.

Advisory of the day


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Information was coming out in the media that a few Quebec towns were under a preventative Boil Water Notice (BWA). The interesting twist to this story is that none of the three municipalities that we followed up with had any information posted on their websites. A glance at the active advisories on the site of the Ministère du Développement durable, Environnement et Lutte Contre le changements climatiques (MDDELCC), revealed nothing other than a system unique to a school in one of the towns has been under a Do Not Consume Advisory since September 23, 2015.

We were able to contact the towns of Saint-Dominique in the Montérégie Region, and Saint-Bruno in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

The town of Saint-Dominique fell victim of a major water main break on April 20th this year. A preventative BWA was issued on Friday, April 21st which encouraged citizens to boil water for at least a minute before consuming.

Sylvain Lauzier, Director of Public Works for the Town of Saint-Dominique, confirmed the main break. Lauzier added that local citizens were "advised of the BWA by automatic message system." Lauzier said that the "message is typed into a central system and residents receive the notice by email, text, or a simple telephone message."

Lauzier said that repairs made, and the BWA "was lifted on Sunday, April 23," after tests showed that the water was safe to consume.

Saint-Bruno was also victim to a water main break, and a BWA was issued on April 14th. Phillippe Lusinchi, Urbanism and Building Inspector for the town, confirmed the break and "preventative" measure. Lusinchi highlighted that residents are informed, "by mail, and [the town's] social media pages." There was still some confusion on April 18, as some residents were inquiring if the BWA was still in effect on the municipality's Facebook page.

Lusinchi added that the advisory "is no longer in effect, it was lifted in the following days." The town posted a notice on Facebook to that effect on Thursday, April 20 just before 5 pm. The notice ended with the town apologizing for the inconvenience that this situation may have caused," and then thanked residents for their collaboration.

The third town Saint-Simon was unreachable for comment, municipal offices are closed on Monday.

Advisory of the day


A burst water main has led to a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) being issued in the town of St. Lunaire-Griquet, Newfoundland. The town, located on the North East tip of the peninsula of Newfoundland, has been under the advisory since April 22nd.

A representative for the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed via email that all 618 people living in the town are affected.

St. Lunaire-Griquet's mayor, Dale Colbourne said that construction on the broken water main has been recently completed.

"I would be very surprised if it wasn't lifted by tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest," she said," it's a fairly short process when it's a waterline break."

Colbourne informed us that water quality tests have been sent off to a department of health lab in the town of St. Anthony and that she is expecting results back from them soon.

Travis Blake, who works at Skipper Hot's Lounge, a local bar and music venue, said that they are not on the town water supply.

"We have our own well, pump and purifications system," he said, "So things don't really affect us."

According to online reviews, out-of-town visitors to the pub are probably more likely to be getting "screeched" and "kissing the cod" than enjoying a glass of water.

Advisory of the day


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A Boil Water Advisory is still in effect for some residents of the Rural Municipality of Pipestone, Manitoba due to some construction needed to repair a cracked valve.

The Rural Municipality of Pipestone, located in South Western Manitoba, alerted the authorities at Prairie Mountain Health this past Monday when they realized that the construction they needed to do stood a risk of contaminating the water supply. According to Tyson Anderson, Manager of Utilities for the Rural Municipality of Pipestone, the advisory is affecting two or three businesses and 31 homes.

"We located the leak and started digging," Anderson said," and we found that a six inch main valve was cracked." He informed us that as soon as you have to have to isolate a line with gate valves, usually there are three or four valves you have to shut down. Since some of the system they were working on was old, and some of the valves don't close anymore, they decided it was best to call the local drinking water officer.

"If someone has something hooked up that they shouldn't," Anderson said, "It could easily contaminate the line."

For precautionary reasons, municipal officials passed out paperwork to everyone living and working in the affected area.

Anderson explained that they have replaced an inch and half saddle which was old along with some copper lines. They then proceeded to super-chlorinate the line after which they opened up a valve on a fire hydrant with the intent of re-pressurizing the line and flushing it to get the line clean again.

The water is back on now, however officials are waiting for tests taken 24 hours apart that have been sent to a lab in Winnipeg for the all clear.

Anderson believes the advisory could be rescinded as soon as Friday afternoon, however with it being so close to the weekend, it is more likely to be called off early next week.

In 2014 the Rural Municipality of Pipestone was allotted $1.85 million for the expansion of the rural pipeline within the municipality as part of a $12 million municipal water initiative in Western Manitoba.

Anderson confirmed that they are on phase four of the project at the moment and hope to get another 40 to 50 homes hooked up in the near future.

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Advisory of the day


A Boil Water Notice (BWN) has been issued to the owners of the Rivermount Motel, Campground and Restaurant in Little Fort, British Columbia.

A representative for the Interior Health Authority (IHA) confirmed that the BWN was issued on April 13th after an inspection was conducted. The inspection took place due to a recent change in ownership at the premises, which is standard practice for IHA.

"The water source is from a well, with the ground water considered at risk for pathogens, based on the criteria outlined in the November 2015 provincial Guidance Document for Determining Ground Water at Risk Of Containing Pathogens (GARP). There is currently no treatment system in place, hence, the issuance of a BWN," wrote the IHA representative in an email sent to Watertoday.

They have confirmed that the notice will remain in place until a suitable treatment system is installed, with a target date of April 1, 2018 being established.

One of the new owners of Rivermount, who didn't feel comfortable providing her name confirmed the information above.

"We have those big jug water dispensers in our lobby and are providing guests with water as well," she said, "We also have the boil water notice posted in each room for precautionary reasons."

The owners of Rivermount are hoping to install a water treatment system by the opening of summer season or failing that sometime before the end of the season.

She said that visitors to the resort are often passing through from Jasper to Vancouver or vice versa along the Yellowhead Highway #5.

The area surrounding the Town of Little Fort is well known for its leisure activities, including excellent fishing on the many nearby lakes and rivers, skiing at the renowned Sun Peaks resort or hiking and canoeing at Wells Gray Provincial Park.

Advisory of the day


A Do Not Consume Advisory has been in place at Brent Kennedy Elementary School in Crescent Valley, British Columbia, since April 6.

The school, located 20km west of Nelson, notified authorities when a discoloration was spotted in the water supply. According to a representative of Interior Health, initial tests to determine the origin of the contamination were inconclusive.

They are waiting on follow up testing by the Kootenay Lake School District before rescinding the advisory.

The water supply system provides water to 316 school children.

Interior Health hasn't received any reports of increased absenteeism or illness since the advisory was placed.

Larry Brown is the Director of Operations for School District 8, Kootenay Lake.

"What first triggered our concern was some yellow color in the water," he said," Right away we notified IHA (Interior Health Authority) and they put us on a Do Not Use, so toilets can run but sinks must be turned off."

Brown confirmed that the school district contacted a professional from Western Water and testing was performed.

Just this morning a report was received in which the consultation company said they suspected there might be a high concentration of iron reducing bacteria.

Considering the situation, Brown said there are probably two options available to them at this point.

"We could so some cleaning of the well," he said," but considering the age of the well (around 40 years old) we might want to be considering drilling a new well."

Brown said that the well is a fairly shallow one at 70 feet, so they if they do decided to dig a new one, it'll probably be a lot deeper.

"The high school up the road is sitting on a 250 foot well and they don't seem to be having any problems," he said.

In the meantime, the district has been providing bottled water to the elementary school as well as the day care and a bus compound that was also using the water supply.

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Advisory of the day


A precautionary drinking water advisory has been in place for the Village of Calder in Saskatchewan since April 12th.

According to Patrick Boyle, spokesperson for the Water Security Agency in Saskatchewan, some unauthorized work took place last week, during which a cross connection was made from a drinking water source into a wastewater source. "What happened is not acceptable and it's not in any way, shape, or form legal," Boyle said," As soon as we were notified of that, we told the community to resolve it."

He pointed out that the Village of Calder has performed the necessary repairs to fix the mistake. However, the Water Security Agency is still waiting on two positive tests, taken 48 hours apart, in order to ensure the drinking water is free of contaminants before rescinding the advisory.

Boyle has estimated that should everything go smoothly, the advisory should be lifted by the end of the week.

Calder, located in south eastern Saskatchewan, is home to approximately 100 people. All are affected by the drinking water advisory and have been told to boil water before using for consumption or even doing the dishes.

Mildred Danylko is the president of the Calder Senior Citizen Good Neighbour Centre, a particularly vulnerable business to be running during a drinking water advisory for liability reasons.

She heard about the advisory over the weekend when notices were sent to her home and business.

So far, it's been a bit of a pain for her.

"I'm in charge of making the coffee around here," she said," So I've been hauling my water from Yorkton, which is about 40 minutes away."

For personal use, she has plenty of five gallon jugs at home, which she can use until the advisory has been lifted. "A lot of people say it doesn't bother them (and that they're drinking) it but I don't want to take that chance," she said.

Advisory of the day


The town of La Scie on the north east coast of Newfoundland has been under a boil water advisory (BWA) since 1991.

Named by a French fisherman, who thought the jagged surrounding hills look like the teeth of a saw, La Scie is home to just under 900 people.

The town draws its water from Stakes Pond, located on higher ground just south of the city.

A representative for the Department of Municipal Affairs and the Environment in Newfoundland confirmed via email that the BWA is in place, "Because the town's drinking water system has no disinfection system."

Furthermore, they wrote, "The Water Resources Management Division of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment has recommended that the town chlorinate its drinking water; but to date, the Town has chosen not to proceed with chlorination."

They added that, "The Provincial Government continues to work with municipalities to ensure that they have the capacity to maintain safe and sustainable communities. The department offers water system operator training to communities if needed and upon request."

Representatives for the Town of La Scie did not return calls before publication.

Celeste Colbourne has been operating the Fair Haven Retreat, a local Bed and Breakfast, for seven years.

"I don't want to see chlorine in our water because it would be a disaster for our environment," she said, "The community wants to keep the environment as natural and pristine as possible."

Colbourne believes the chlorine would just end up in the ocean and cause chaos to the creatures living there. She even goes as far as saying that a lot of people from town just drink the water from the tap without any problem.

For her business however, she has to make sure the water is suitable for out-of-towners.

"Last year over a period of four months I served 425 breakfasts," she said. "Honestly, you can't have people coming in that aren't used to drinking local water, so it has to be filtered," adding. "It doesn't bother me though because I have a two stage water filter, so I filter the water no matter what."

According to Colbourne, all the businesses in town have a similar system purchased from Cape John Industries.

She said there is little need to service the systems as they just use spin off Rain Fresh filters that can be bought at the local hardware store.

Marlene Regular works at Critch's Snackbar and Restaurant. The BWA has been around for so long, that she hardly gives it a moment's thought. "It's mostly what we've been used to for years," she said, "There's no chlorine or anything in the water, and (the town) doesn't have a treatment facility, so we boil water to use it for drinking."

Regular pointed out that there are two facilities within town that will fill big jugs for their water dispensers but for her own personal use, she tends to just boil water.

"Once you get used to stuff, it's just a way of life," she said.

This story is brought to you in part by Idénergie

2017/3/23 - Update 2017/4/12
Advisory of the day


There are currently 94 active Boil Water Advisories and 26 Do Not Consume advisories, in both municipal and private water systems in Quebec. While reasons for the advisories are never given, some of the notices in the non-municipal systems in the Capitale-Nationale, Estrie, Mauricie, and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean regions do not provide details as to the affected area of the advisory. There is a total of nine private or non-municipal systems where the name of the system is not published.

Although the Développement durable, Environment et Lutte contre les changement climatiques (DDELCC) website does not display the reasons underlying Quebec advisories, in every other active case, the name of the distribution system is mentioned. In lieu of a specific name, all nine cases have this mention, "L'installation d'eau potable est propriété d'une personne physique," This translates to "the drinking water installation is the property of a natural person."

In addition to the mention, each of the 17 regional non-municipal advisory listings has this explanatory note at the bottom;

"The drinking water distribution system is the property of a natural person' means that under that Act Respecting Access to Documents Held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal Information, [the name] may not be posted on the website."

We contacted the Commission d'accès à l'information du Québec, a provincial tribunal that intervenes in cases where institutions and organizations refuse to provide media and citizens with the information they requested. It was suggested that in the cases that had the special mention that "the name of the distribution system may contain, or be the name of an individual."

The MDDELCC confirmed this by adding "Those responsible for drinking water distribution systems whose names are not displayed are natural persons." This is not uncommon, many "names of distribution systems associated with natural persons actually include names of citizens who are responsible for them."

The MDDELCC added they do not publish names of systems containing names of citizens "in order to comply with the restrictions set out in the Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information."

Though the exact article is not named on the DDELCC website there are a few that would seem to fit this situation.

Chapter three of Quebec's Act Respecting Access to Documents Held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Personal Information addresses the protection of personal information. Article 53 declares that all "personal information is confidential." There are certain situations where this is not the case, if "the person to whom the information relates consents to its disclosure" or if the personal information is obtained by a public body in the performance of an adjudicative function."

Article 56 appears to the most likely clause that would be invoked in the case of a boil notice. This states that someone's name is not personal, "except where it appears in conjunction with other information concerning" them. This is extended to situations where "the mere mention of [their] name would disclose personal information."

This makes sense when one considers that the distribution system is attached to an address and the obvious fact that the individual owns a water system. While it may be anomalous that the name of the nine non-municipal systems on boil advisories are missing, it is clear that this is the DDELCC trying to balance the public's right to be informed where it concerns potential health issues, while balancing the individual's right to privacy.

This story is brought to you in part by Hitchinge Dock Couplers

2017/4/5 - Update 2017/4/12
Advisory of the day


On January 7, 2017, three separate Do Not Consume (DNC) orders were issued for the drinking water at Pizza 97 A in Osoyoos British Columbia. Water plays a key role in the day to day business of a restaurant, a DNC could have serious impacts.

Osoyoos Town Hall confirmed that the home of "Osoyoos best pizza" is indeed open, and the affected water system is separate from the towns.

The DNC must cause some financial hardships for the establishment. If the restaurant cannot provide water for drinking, ice, and cooking it must find alternative means of doing so. We wanted to see how this situation affected business, we contacted Pizza 97 A, no one was available for comment.

Jennifer Jacobsen, Team Leader B.C. Environmental Health Services said that "restaurants are required under the Food Premises Regulation to have potable water." Pizza 97 A is under the same requirements as everybody else and is "required to meet the Drinking Water Act and Regulations" Jacobsen added.

British Columbia's Drinking Water Protection Act (SBC 2001) states that a "water supply system must provide potable drinking water." The water supplier must "monitor its drinking water source." Laboratories conducting the testing must report any samples that do not meet standards and must notify the supplier, water officer, and health officer.

For cases like this involving a restaurant, the procedure is the following, "a source assessment is conducted and risks are identified" Jacobsen said.

In Québec, according to the Environment Ministry (MDDELCC),the "obligations of the person responsible for a private drinking water supply system, whether it be a restaurant or other type of establishment, are similar to those of municipalities." In the case that an event does occur in a restaurant, the operator "must inform the MDDELCC, and the regional public health authority as well as the public of the measures that they will undertake to address the situation."

The specific reason for issuing the DNCs at Pizza 97 A, was that "uranium and nitrate levels were above the Maximum Allowable Concentration." Jacobsen added that the restaurant was drawing its water from a "shallow well [which was] at risk of contamination from surface water." Luckily, situations with restaurants like this do "not happen very often" Jacobsen underlined.

Jacobsen highlighted that the good news is that "this water system is projected to be connected to the Osoyoos water system in May of this year".

This story is brought to you in part by Idénergie

Advisory of the day


Last week the town of Sept-Îles, Québec was subject to three major water main breaks in a short space of time. When residue was found to be causing a brown discolouration of the tap water, affected residents were informed not to consume the tap water and use bottled water as a replacement. Sept-Îles crews were able to fix the issues late last week and the boil notice was lifted for most of the municipality, only the Clarke sector is still urged to boil their water before consuming, until further notice.

On April 4, the municipality reported a "major break in the water main, [and asked] citizens in all sectors to boil water" before consuming. Over the course of the next six hours, the town experienced two more breaks which changed the situation. The next morning making reference to the additional line breaks Sept-Îles announced that "the colour of the water may be affected."

Later on, April 5, the town posted that the brown discolouration of the water was "caused by residues in the pipes, which have been spread by the breakage." In the case that residents found that their water had been affected Sept-Îles urged citizens "not to consume the water and use bottled water." In addition, residents who experienced this problem were told not to use the hot water, as to not stain their water heaters.

In its communiqués to residents, the town underlined that their "teams were on the ground working to repair breakages as soon as possible." On April 6, the city announced that work on the damaged infrastructure "was completed [that] morning." The boil notice would be upheld through Sunday.

We were informed by the town's communications department that water main breaks at this time of year are not unusual, it was that they "had three major breaks at the same time" that is out of the ordinary.

This type of event doesn't just affect towns in the Côte-Nord region of Québec, because of our climate this is an issue that touches municipalities across the country. In fact, the City of Edmonton views "extreme temperature fluctuations in the winter and spring [as] a leading cause of water outages." Water mains are susceptible to breakage when the ground shifts due to freezing and thawing that occurs as the weather begins to warm up.

The City of Vancouver views main breaks as a "top priority." as it can interrupt water service and cause damage to property. In 2015 the city responded to 121 main breaks and reported that 68% "occurred "During the winter months." Vancouver spent over $13 million on operating and maintenance in 2015.

Saskatoon operates a program that monitors main breaks then selects the locations with the "highest break rates for [infrastructure] replacement." Main breaks are a major concern for Saskatoon as well as other Canadian municipalities.

Are Canadians ready to pay more taxes to fund drinking water infrastructure?

In the 2016 RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Survey an average of 49% of Canadians are willing to pay more tax to upgrade ageing infrastructure to ensure safe drinking water. Of the six regions, British Columbia lead the way with 57% in favour and Québec being the least in favour with only 36% of respondents willing to pay more tax.

The Canadian government for their part has allocated $2 billion through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, that provides funding for infrastructure upgrades.

Advisory of the day


A Boil Water Advisory for luxury condominiums in the Haliburton area was rescinded today after the Health Unit received a satisfactory test result.

The BWA was issued to Granite Cove Condominiums on April 3 after a drop in water pressure was recorded.

The 30 unit building is located on the shores of Head Lake.

Randy Friesen, a representative of ASI, who manage the water system at Granite Cove told this reporter that a leak in an improperly installed nipple was to blame for the pressure drop.

As the repairs to the system had to take place within the reservoir where the drinking water is stored, a careful process had to be used to ensure no contamination was caused.

As a precautionary measure, they informed the Health Unit to issue the BWA while they carried out the necessary repairs. A representative for Around the Lakes Condomunium Property Management said that the repairs were carried out diligently and the water pressure is now better than ever.

Bill Eekhof, a communications officer for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit confirmed that the water was subsequently tested to ensure it was safe for drinking.

When a satisfactory test was received this morning, the BWA was rescinded.

Advisory of the day


The trailer park community of Lynnwood Gardens has been living with substandard drinking water for more than a decade. The lack of potable water puts a strain on the day to day lives of community residents. Public officials have encouraged the property owners to address the issue, yet the situations still persists.

Kim Prevost has lived in Lynnwood Gardens for 35 years and has seen her share of water issues.

"Most of the time it's E. coli scares," Prevost said, noting that there are farmers' fields around the park, which would affect their water supply when liquid manure was used to fertilize crops.

Prevost's family was even affected back in the 1990s. "My son actually got E.coli poisoning when he was little but we couldn't prove where it came from," she said.

She pointed that when the park was built in the late sixties it was on the edge of swamp land and tons of landfill was brought in to make the property suitable for living on.

There were originally two wells; an artesian one and the one they're currently using. Water from the two wells were mixed together and Prevost said it was decent water.

That being said, she claims she hasn't drank the water there since 1985, relying on water from work and family members to get by.

She doesn't even trust the park's water for some of her laundry needs.

"When I first moved in I ruined beautiful blouses," Prevost said, "Now I don't wash any good clothes at all."

Moving out isn't really a viable option for Prevost at this point either. She pays around $400 a month in lot fees and supports her husband who is on disability.

"Where can you live for this amount of money?" she asked, before pointing out some of the endearing qualities of the park, "There are nice trees and animals and birds and our lots are a nice size."

The trailer she currently lives in is an older model that wouldn't fare too well if her family attempted to move it to another park too.

Prevost referenced some other residents who are having trouble selling their property too.

She told of a lady who had her trailer up for sale this past winter but couldn't sell it because there was issues with the water.

"Three potential buyers couldn't get their mortgage approved," Prevost said. "Canada Mortgage and Housing wouldn't approve it and cancelled it because of the water issue."

She's seen much worse landlords than Killam Properties, calling some of them slumlords. However, she would still like to see more from them for a crucial issue like this. She said she gets the feeling that Killam just looks at its residents as units and dollars per month.

"They don't see us as people," she said, "Just income."

Ontario MPP for Nepean-Carleton Lisa MacLeod said that she had "been made aware of the situation eleven years ago." MacLeod has been active in the negotiation process, and to find a viable solution to Lynnwood Gardens water troubles. MacLeod added that there has been work done by "local elected officials to fix the situation, but it always seems to fall on deaf ears with Killam Properties."

Killam Properties, who owns and manages the community of "manufactured homes", has been approached with alternative solutions that would bring safe clean drinking water into the homes located on the 54-acre property.

MacLeod said that "over the years we have explored different options to access potable water, [that is] aesthetically pleasing" for the community. MacLeod explained that Killam had been presented with a plan to connect Lynnwood to the "Carlsbad Trickle Feed System, and that was ruled out." The property owners were finally presented with a plan to bring water to the community through the "Russell Pipeline, that runs through the City of Ottawa and that was really a non-starter" MacLeod said.

MacLeod has visited the the community on several occasions and has been inside some of the homes. "The sodium content is so high in the water, [that] the taps corrode very easily" MacLeod said. The community's water situations has implications on doing the laundry, "anybody who washes a white shirt, will find that the shirt will come out yellow" from the water MacLeod added.

According to the MPP "it's a sad situation, many of the folks that live there, are there because its affordable housing." MacLeod said "We would expect [Killam Properties] to do the right thing, they just have not done that to date."

There really isn't much more that can be done to entice Killam to bring clean water into the community. MacLeod underlines that officials are "constrained given the property rights available to the landowner."

As long as Killam provides bottled water they are compliant with regulations. Part III of the Safe Drinking Water Act states "that all water provided by the system to the point where the system is connected to a user's plumbing system meets the requirements of the prescribed drinking water quality standards." As an alternative, a minimum requirement is to "provide the users with access to a supply of drinking water for daily human consumption and food preparation purposes."

MacLeod added, now "it is really up to people being vocal about this so that Killam Properties will come to the table with a viable solution that will bring water into that park."

An Ottawa Public Health Spokesperson was able to confirm some of the recent advisories that have been placed on Lynnwood Gardens in an email.

"Ottawa Public Health (OPH) was advised by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) of health-related water quality issues that prompted the issuance of a "Do Not Drink" Advisory to residents of Lynnwood Gardens Mobile Home Park, a private well system, on June 22, 2016.

OPH issued this advisory as a result of elevated arsenic levels found in the water supply at Lynnwood. This advisory remains in place to this date (April 5, 2017). More recently—following work done by the owners of the system—arsenic levels are now acceptable for drinking, however levels of trihalomethanes and sodium now exceed the Ontario Drinking Water Objectives and hence, the "Do Not Drink" Advisory is still in effect.

OPH has provided two updates to the users of this system on the water quality, to remind them not to drink their tap water, and provide advice on how their tap water can be used. These notices were hand delivered in August 2016 and again this March 2017 by Public Health Inspectors.

OPH continues to work with the MOECC and the park owners to ensure residents are aware of the water quality issues, and answer any health-related questions residents may have. The MOECC is working with the owners of the system to bring it into compliance with relevant legislation. As this work continues and until OPH rescinds the "Do Not Drink" Advisory, the owners of the system are providing residents with bottled water."

Pamela Crowell, Vice President of Tennant Experience and MHC Management for Killam Properties said that the "Poor water quality in this area is a natural condition in the bedrock aquifer that affects a large portion of the eastern part of Ottawa and beyond."

Crowell added that "groundwater is characterized as highly mineralized, with naturally occurring high concentrations of iron, manganese, sodium, sulfate and chloride." The combination of these minerals has presented "significant treatment challenges", Crowell said.

The Do Not Drink Advisory that was issued in June 2016 for high levels of arsenic was "followed by a subsequent elevation in the levels of trihalomethanes (THMs)." Crowell informed us that the company's engineers felt that it "THMs themselves are not typically difficult to treat, however, we needed to address the root cause." At the time of the rise in THMs there was no known source for the compound.

Health Canada defines THMs as "group of compounds that can form when the chlorine used to disinfect drinking water reacts with naturally occurring organic matter." The most common form of THMs in drinking water is are "chloroform, bromodichloromethane (BDCM), dibromochloromethane (DBCM) and bromoform." Chloroform is possibly carcinogenic in humans and "animal studies have shown links between exposure to specific trihalomethanes and liver and kidney tumours" in mice and rats.

Killam Properties purchased Lynnwood Gardens in 2005 and Crowell suggested that the water was "treated, tested, and useable - the situation that occurred in June is new." Crowell confirmed that residents have been receiving between one and five 18 litre bottles of water a week.

Crowell said that the source THMs has been found and that "new water treatment equipment [has been] designed and will be installed to provide water of a higher and clearer quality." These plans include a new building, filtration, contact pipe, and pressure tanks. The reason Crowell gave for the long process "is the complex nature of the design of the plant and the approvals process through various levels of government."

Until the new system is installed, residents will have to rely on the bottled water that they have been receiving.

This story is brought to you in part by TecTeg - Thermoelectric Power Generators

Advisory of the day


After a week-long shut down, water service has been restored to hundreds of people in a southeast Edmonton condo complex.

On March 22, a water main broke that cut off water for all 78 units of the Laurentian Estates facility located 1452 Lakewood Rd. West in Mill Woods.

Engineers and water experts decided that the best course of action was to replace the old water main with a new one. Repair work March 27th and was completed March 29th.

While residents were reliant upon water-dispensing trucks supplied by Epcor Utilities Inc., these water-filling stations ran out regularly and required frequent refills. Two out of the five tankers used by EPCOR in Edmonton were used.

Numerous reports cited growing frustration with each passing day among tenants and condo owners at the inconvenience of having to rely on EPCOR's trucks to meet their basic water needs.

All water lines and valves within private property are the owner's responsibility to maintain and repair.

This reporter was able to reach property manager Robert Lerner of KDM Management, the company that oversees the condominium. In an email, Mr. Lerner said, "I can tell you water has been restored. Any perceived delays in these matters is usually from the location of the break."

Amanda Ash, Digital Media Specialist, Public & Government Affairs at EPCOR confirmed in an email that "...EPCOR turned the water back on at the Laurentian Estates condo complex on the afternoon of March 29. We completed the turn on after the property owner confirmed repairs on the private system were complete and requested the water be turned back on."

This story is brought to you in part by Waterloo Biofilter Systems

Persistant Pollutants


It is quite common to hear of air pollution or water pollution but an often overlooked space is the sediment found at the bottom of our waterways.

Pollutants trapped within its grasps can have a slow release into the environment that can last for many years after originally finding their way there.

Professor An Li of the University of Illinois is part of the Great Lakes Sediment Surveillance Program (GLSSP), a US based lab that is responsible for studying various pollutants in the Great Lakes sediment.

Their most recent study was on organophosphate esters (OPE), which have been used as flame retardants and plasticizers in various household goods from children's toys to electronics.

"Most people are exposed to OPEs directly through many consumer products in the home and daily life," Li said, "Although (the exposure is) not directly from sediment, the fact that these are detected in the sediment is very alarming."

Li and her team didn't know whether they would detect these types of chemicals in the lake sediment because some of them are pretty water soluble and it was thought they'd take some time to accumulate.

When broken down, they can be highly toxic. Some organophosphates are used as insecticides and as nerve agents in biological weapons.

"We're still figuring out how persistent OPEs are," Li said adding that although production of pollutants like PCB stopped production in the 1970s, resulting in lower input into the Great Lakes, the sediment is still highly contaminated by them.

In this case, "OPEs are still being produced and finding their way into the environment," said Li," So the sediment becomes a secondary source, releasing the chemicals gradually back into the water and air."

According to the study, 63 tons of OPEs are in Michigan at the moment. Of those, 17 are in the sediment.

"From the spatial distribution we did on three lakes we saw differing concentration levels," Li said,"

In Lake Superior, where there is less human concentration we saw more volatile (relatively light) OPEs," adding," Lake Ontario, which is much closer to human activity has heavier OPEs."

This story is brought to you in part by Proteus Waters

Advisory of the day


Today we look into five similar long-term Precautionary Drinking Water Advisories (PDWA) affecting water pipelines in the Moose Jaw area. We consulted the listings for active PDWAs in Saskatchewan and found a sixth. Although the last advisory does not qualify as long-term, 365 days or more, it does share the same cause.

The pipeline distribution systems in question are the Highway #1 West Water Co-op under advisory since November 30, 2005, Caribou South Water Co-op active since November 30, 2005, North Valley Waterline Co-op active since October 8, 2009, Mount Pleasant Water Pipeline Corp. active since November 5, 2014, and 9th Avenue Viaduct Co-operative Ltd. active since November 24, 2014.

All six PDWAs are listed due to operational issues, in this case "inadequate disinfection residual in distribution system."

Aside from the lack of chlorine residual, and geographical proximity, all the PDWAs are regulated by the Water Security Agency or the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, and overseen by an Environmental Protection Officer. We contacted the EPO for comment but at the time of publishing, our request for comment had not been returned. We did consult the most recent inspection reports for the affected pipelines.

The Highway #1 West Water Co-op was compliant for the level of residual in water entering the system but the system was non-compliant for the level of chlorine residual throughout the system. The problem here appears to be distance, the comment attached to the non-compliance was, "chlorine residuals tend to be below regulatory standards the further away from the city the service is."

Caribou South Water Co-op maintains continuous disinfection but was non-compliant for the chlorine residual both entering and throughout the system. This PDWA seems to be based on seasonal changes. Residual levels may be below standards in the winter and the EPO's notes read that it "appears chlorine residuals were above regulatory values since May until now."

The North Valley Water Line Cooperative, had problems that went beyond the reasons for the PDWA. North Valley's operator was no longer certified at the time of the inspection. The notes for this system point to a problem in winter months; the notes read "seasonal low chlorine residuals" in the first three months of the year.

Mount Pleasant Water Pipeline Corp. also has "low chlorine residuals in winter months." For the 9th Avenue Viaduct Co-operative Ltd. it simply states that it was already under a PDWA "for low chlorines." In most of these cases it is a seasonal issue as it appears chlorine residuals are effected by the winter months, and in another it is a case of distance from the city that caused the disinfectant to drop below regulatory standards.

Saskatchewan's Water Regulations requires that a "minimum of 0.1 mg/L free chlorine residual or 0.5 mg/L total chlorine residual" be maintained at all times. Waterworks in the province are also required to submit chlorine residual test results with every bacteriological sample. With the amount of regulation and inspection, these PDWAs are not persisting because of a lack of oversight.

This story is brought to you in part by Canadian Custom Truck Works

Advisory of the day


A Boil Water Advisory is still in effect for the unincorporated urban community of Rivers, Manitoba. The BWA was originally issued in April of 2015 when routine testing spotted a failure in the treatment process which allowed for poorly treated water to enter the distribution system.

According to Todd Gill, the Mayor of Riverdale Municipality, the BWA affects the 1200 residents of Rivers as well as rural people who haul their water from the community's system.

Rivers, located 40KM North West of Brandon, Manitoba is in the process of building a new water treatment facility to suit the needs of its residents.

Gill said, "Construction started in early 2016 and it'll be completed at the end of May."

Local businessman, Vaughn Lamb said that although the BWA was a pain to begin with, people have gotten used to living under the advisory.

He owns and operates Tempo Place Emporium, a gas station with a convenience store and restaurant attached.

"You've got to remember to boil the water," he said, "We boil six to 10 five gallon pails every morning."

Lamb ceded that the new plant being built is something that the community needed and everybody is patiently waiting on. "None of that stuff happens at the right time," Lamb said, "But everybody will be happy in a couple months and it'll be good."

If all goes according to plan, the facility should be up and running by June with the BWA being rescinded by Manitoba Health shortly afterwards.

This story is brought to you in part by Hitchinge Dock Couplers

Advisory of the day


Three trailer parks in Northwestern Ontario are still under long term drinking water advisories due to high levels of uranium found in their water supply.

According to documents acquired from Northwestern Health Unit under the Freedom of Information Act; Robincourt Trailer Park, Chomitsa Trailer Park and Willowdale Trailer Park have all been under advisories since spring of 2005.

In the meantime, the owners of the trailer parks have been responsible for providing the tenants with bottled water to drink.

The acceptable standard for uranium in drinking water is 20 micrograms per litre of water, whereas some private wells were testing at around 90-100 micrograms per litre.

We managed to track down the owner of the Robincourt Trailer Park water distribution system, Norman Robinson. Robinson said, "It isn't just the trailer park that is the affected by uranium, it is the entire area."

He added that the park has been complying with all provincial requirements by, "Notifying all tenants every year, and giving them bottled water."

It would appear as though that the Ministry of Environment is monitoring the water at Robin Court. Robinson said that the Ministry, "Checks the situation on a regular basis."

We contacted the offices of the MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, Sarah Campbell. We were informed that for better or worse, "The groundwater in [that] part of Ontario is rich in minerals." The unfortunate drawback for those living in the area and not on municipal systems is that they must live with high levels of undesirables in their well water."

The MPP's offices wrote that residents of the region "Need to make adjustments to their water for drinking. The course of action that has been followed at Robin Court, Willowdale, and Chomitsa trailer parks will be the plan for the foreseeable future."

We were informed that parks in the area have been providing bottled water to tenants for some time and that the MPP's office, "Haven't had any complaints from the tenants of these parks since that practice began."

Thomas Nabb is the acting Manager of Environmental Health for Northwestern Health Unit. He said that the uranium found in drinking water is quite common for well users around the Dryden area but is not present municipal water systems.

"It's naturally occurring uranium that can occur anywhere in the Canadian Shield," Nabb said.

Nabb noted that drinking water with uranium might not have any short term acute effects, but said," Drinking it over a lifetime living in a house, you could develop chronic conditions."

Experts say that drinking water with elevated levels of uranium can affect the kidneys over time, however bathing and showering with water that contains uranium is not a health concern.

For small private trailer parks with between 40 and 100 tenants, the expense for cleaning drinking water of uranium can be high.

The two most common methods for doing so are reverse osmosis and ion exchange.

Reverse osmosis works by forcing water filtering through a membrane that prevents the uranium from passing through, while Ion exchange involves passing water through a system that replaces uranium with a safer compound.

"We do have (the drinking advisory for) one of the trailer parks rescinded but the others are working with the Ministry of Environment to get through this," Nabb said, "I foresee that all these should be off soon but it's just a process."

More info on this story is coming in the following days.

This story is brought to you in part by CleanCistern.com- Chemical free

Advisory of the day


The Village of Granisle in the Northern Interior of British Columbia has issued a boil water advisory for its 350 residents. Total coliforms and E.coli were found in regular water testing and reported to the Health Unit.

Postive tests are fairly commonplace at this time of year, due to the Spring melt.

A town official said that they're hoping to get the all-clear by Thursday when the next test results are ready but can't confirm anything yet.

The seventeenth anniversary of the Walkerton water crisis is almost upon us and it is just as important as ever to ensure our water sources are E.coli free.

The tragedy, which saw seven people die and several thousand become very ill in a small South West Ontario town, was preventable. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that was in charge of Walkerton's water supply neglected to report a positive sample test for E.coli. Even when many in the town fell ill, they continued to insist that the water was not the issue.

E.coli is a bacteria naturally found in the intestines of humans and other warm blooded animals. It doesn't occur elsewhere in nature (plants, soil etc.), so the presence of it in a water sample is seen as proof of recent fecal contamination. Although many strains of E.coli are harmless some, like E.Coli 0157:H7, can be lethal.

The symptoms of drinking water tainted by E.coli aren't pleasant. Severe stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea are common.

Andre Gagnon, a Media Relations Officer with Health Canada, wrote in an email, "The guidelines for some contaminants, like E.coli which indicates the presence of microbiological pathogens, are very clear and should never be exceeded because people will become sick soon after drinking contaminated water."

Pregnant women, the elderly, children and those with weak immune systems are particularly at risk of major health problems like kidney failure, stroke, seizure and sometimes, as in the above mentioned cases, possibly death.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change's website, 5% of Boil Water Advisories (BWA) issued in Canada in 2015 were due to the detection of E.Coli in drinking water samples. This is down from 2010, when the percentage for BWA due to E.Coli was up at eight.

Although most municipal systems across Canada have low instances of E.coli, it is imperative for water systems of all sizes to be tested diligently and run by licensed professionals.

Advisory of the day


Badger, Newfoundland and Labrador recently saw the end of a story that began on September 6, 2012. A four-and-a-half-year Boil Water Advisory was lifted by the province's Department of Environment and Climate Change (ECC) on March 16th. The town of seven-hundred and four residents, eighty-nine less than at the issue date, was under the notice for ECC code E1 or not having "a free chlorine residual of at least 0.3 mg/l".

The ECC tracks water issues quite thoroughly, as of March 31, 2016 of the 222 active advisories on that date 77 or 35% had to do with "chlorine residual issues".Why are free chlorine residuals so important fro drinking water systems? Why was the lack of a significant level of it enough to place a town under a boil notice in for more than four years?

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) technical document on chlorine disinfection in drinking water systems, chlorine "is the most commonly used disinfectant in the world for treating drinking water". The type of chlorine used in a particular town or municipality differs quite a bit and is dependent on "cost, availability, equipment maintenance, and ease of application."

Chlorine is used in both primary and secondary treatment and calcium hypochlorite is the "most commonly used" in Canada.

According to ECCC document, chlorine is introduced into the water at the treatment plant with the "primary objective to achieve the necessary microbial inactivation." The secondary use of the oxidant and the chlorine residuals provide benefits to the safety of the drinking water. Chlorine residuals "can limit the growth of biofilm within the distribution system" and any "rapid drop in disinfectant residual may provide an immediate indication of treatment process malfunction".

There is no standard minimum level of chlorine residuals in for Canadian drinking, minimum standards are set by the provinces and territories. A document published by The World Health Organization (WHO) says an optimum level "is in the range of 0.3 to 0.5 mg/l." Newfoundland and Labrador fall within the WHO minimum range.

BWAs are quite common and regular in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador for many different reasons. According to ECC data, between the fiscal years of 2000-01 and 2015-16 the province generally has between 200 and 250 advisories. During that sixteen year period, only three years were above 250 (2000-01 to 2002-03), of which the first two years were above 300.

There are currently 194 active boil water advisories in Newfoundland and Labrador, referring to the ECC summary from March 17, 2017. Thirty-one of these are for the same reason as the town of Badger. The province has less active advisories than at the same time last year, and the percentage of E1 issues has dropped significantly as well, down to 16%. Newfoundland seems to have addressed chlorine issues Badger and across the province, but it and long-term water advisories still remain.

Advisory of the day


The community of Bear River's Hillsborough Water Supply was removed from a Boil Water Advisory on March 3, by Nova Scotia Environment. The government authority issued the advisory on December 16, 2016. According to NSE, the notice was a "result of a water sample analysis determining the presence of total coliform."

NSE adds that there were two other samples taken within that same week on December 13 and 19, both of which "were absent [of] total coliform and E.coli." NSE informed us that the follow up test results were enough to meet "the requirements to be removed" from the advisory. Residents were advised that the notice was "removed on December 20, 2016." The Nova Scotia government department informed us that Hillsborough Water Supply uses a "chlorine treatment" system.

This was not the first experience with water troubles that the unincorporated town has faced. The town looked to find solutions to long term issues. The town had a feasibility study conducted around a central water system project by local firm CBCL Limited in 2007.

According to that study "the Hillsborough Water Society was incorporated in 1905". In the beginning the system delivered water to the town "by gravity." It wasn't until eighty-five years later that the first well was drilled. The treatment process has not changed since the time of the study, in 2007 it was noted that it consisted of "the periodic manual addition of Javex to the reservoir". The Hillsborough Water Supply was finally registered with NSE in 2000 and was immediately placed on a "boil advisory".

Not all community members were connected to the water supply, and "24 service connections". The study points out that the community was serviced mostly by "private dug or drilled wells." This further complicates the water security issue in the area because, depending on variables like well depth, the water flows through cracks in the bedrock resulting in "highly variable yields."

The river itself presents particular challenges to those serviced by wells. The study showed that wells drilled that intercepted "aquifers located immediately adjacent to the river may be vulnerable to salt water intrusion." The water supply of those living in Bear River are also affected by the tides.

These were some of the issues facing Bear River drinking water, and it appears to have gotten to a crucial stage. In an issue of the Bear River Tributary, a town newsletter published by the historical society, an operator of the Hillsborough Water Supply was quoted as saying that "the water was unreliable and the system needs attention to the point where it may not last much longer." The town moved to look at a central distribution system and focus on connecting the town centre.

According to the Tributary, the proposed system would be a "user pay service but no home owner could be compelled to hook-up". This meant that those who did not connect to the new system would not be charged. Although the feasibility study points out that "there is a higher level of service and reliability with a central system".

The study identified a suitable area that would adequately meet the water needs of the town. Bear River, has had water quality issues for quite some time and was under a boil water advisory for the better part of the first decade of this century. In light of the boil advisory that was just removed, the towns water safety issues are not that far in the past.

Advisory of the day


On March 3rd a Boil Water Advisory was issued for the Municipality of Sainte-Pertétue, Québec. According to a post on the town's Facebook page, the preventative measure was issued by the Ministère de Développement durable, Environment et Lutte contre les changement climatique (MDDELCC). The social media post states that "as a result of the many warnings to save drinking water, work has been carried out on our pumping station in order to make a connection to a temporary well."

The precautionary measures will be in place "until the MDDELCC accepts the request for the new well". The post adds that the ministry is giving itself a window of "two months minimum to respond to the request." We learned through the municipality's public documents that the drinking water source has been something that town officials have paid considerable attention to.

A motion put forward by Council Member François Pinard, in the regular February meeting points to a decline in well performance. In this case the well's ability to adequately provide drinking water to the town. The minutes also indicate that the council believed putting piezometer (PZ4) into operation is the "temporary solution to stabilize the situation".

The project to connect the town's water system to a temporary well would require very specific expertise. The council acknowledged that the project would require the services of a hydrogeologist, and to that end voted to "award the contract to Arrakis Consultants Inc." The Québec City firm specializes in the areas of hydrology, environment and geophysics.

We contacted the offices of Arrakis Consultants for insight into their role in the Sainte-Perpétue project. Unfortunately, no one was available for comment.

An Extraordinary Council meeting was held on February 27, 2017 and was preceded by a presentation by a hydrogeologist. There was only one piece of business on the agenda a "request for authorization to use the water from well PZ4". The request would be made under provisions set out in Québec's Environment Quality Act article 31.75 subsection 2.

The article allows for "a temporary, non-recurring withdrawal for emergency response, humanitarian or civil protection purposes". The council adopted the motion to file the request with the MDDELCC "no later than September 30, 2017". The Facebook post would seem to indicate that the request has already been made.

Sainte-Pertétue is under an advisory until it receives official authorization to begin to pump water from PZ4 temporarily. Questions still surround the situation in the town in the Centre-du-Québec, and deserve answers from municipal officials. Those answers will have to wait until the municipal offices re-open on March 20.

Advisory of the day


The Glenmore Ellison Improvement District (GEID) has issued a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) for the Ellison area in Kelowna, British Columbia.

The BWA was issued on March 10 by the GEID, one of five water purveyors servicing Kelowna.

According to GEID's General Manager, Ian Wilks, the BWA is a precautionary one.

"The weather's changing," Wilks said, "It's getting warmer and we're looking at doing water quality sampling tests and test for turbidity," adding, "As a precautionary and safety measure, we've issued the BWA."

Wilks was unable to provide exact numbers on how many people will be affected but gave an estimate of several hundred. He said it is going to affect the east side of old Vernon Road north of Anderson Road and that it includes country roads and the country view estate streets.

"It's a relatively small area of our district," Wilks said, "and it's less populated than Glenmore. It's more rural with lots of space between properties."

There is no definite date for the BWA to be taken down. Wilks said that they anticipate they will be in a position to remove the BWA soon, but can't say exactly when.

"We take it seriously and we're implementing quality management systems to check water quality," Wilks said.

In addition to the BWA in Ellison, there is a long standing water quality advisory (WQA) in Glenmore. The WQA has been in effect since 2006 due to elevated turbidity in the system.

According to Wilks, the major infrastructure upgrades the GEID has been undergoing should result in the WQA being removed quite soon.

Construction on a concrete treated water storage reservoir should be completed in the next couple months. Wilks said the plan is to have it done by summer.

The project is estimated to cost around $4 million.

This will work in conjunction with a brand new treatment facility that just finished being built in the fall of 2016. The GEID seem quite proud of it.

"This is a world class water treatment facility," Wilks said, "We're going to have ultra-violet and chlorination screening and treatment."

Just like the Ellison BWA, Wilks says that the Glenmore WQA is precautionary.

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Advisory of the day


Manitoba currently has approximately 80 active water advisories. For the most part the province publishes little information regarding the notices on their website. We wanted to look into the reasons behind the Manitoba advisories and if climate and geography play any role.

Just over a week ago, a Boil Water advisory was issued for the town of Souris by the Prairie Mountain Regional Health Authority. The notice is posted on the government website with no reason given other than it will be short term. This is the second time since the beginning of the year that users of the Public Water System in Souris have been advised to boil their drinking water.

We spoke with Charlotte Parham, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Municipality of Souris-Glenwood, about the situation. Parham informed us that the advisory was issued "because of scheduled maintenance". Work was needed on one building in the town, but Parham did not have any detailed information as to why.

Parham added that "any time [water] pressure drops below 25%, the Office of Drinking Water must be informed." The town informs the office when they perform maintenance and the system needs to turned off. It is that government department that issues the drinking water advisories.

In our conversation, Parham confirmed that the advisory issued in January was due to "a water main break." This is not an unlikely situation when Canadian winters are factored into the equation. When asked if temperature posed any challenges to providing safe drinking water Parham responded that "some years we have two to three [main breaks], other years there are none."

A Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality Technical Document entitled Temperature, qualifies that the heat and cold "affect every aspect of the treatment and delivery of potable water." The document states that "as temperature decreases, the viscosity of water increases, and the rate of sedimentation decreases." This becomes a problem in plants with fixed "flow rates" as additional time to treat and purify water is unavailable. According to the document temperature does not have a direct effect on health.

Parham suggests that the "spring thaw may cause more problems" to water systems, but "historically,[in Souris], it has not been a problem."

The town of Souris operates a public water system that provides drinking water to 882 service connections and 1837 residents, according to the latest Public Water System Annual Report. The town's water supply comes from two "groundwater wells located 16 kilometres northeast of Souris." The town removes iron and manganese from the water "followed by reverse osmosis, PH adjustment disinfection and fluoridation."

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Advisory of the day


On Saturday Île-Perrot issued a Precautionary Water advisory. Residents are urged to boil water for at least a minute, and to reduce water consumption for the duration of the situation. The city did not give a reason for the public notice, nor did they give any timeframe before the advisory would be lifted.

We contacted the Ville de l'Île Perrot for more insight into the preventative measure taken over the weekend. We managed to speak with Elisabeth Guilbault, Director of Human Resources and Communications for the city. According to Guilbault the frigid temperatures over the past weekend was the cause of the "water main break and loss of pressure".

Guilbault confirmed that there were no mechanical malfunctions or evidence of any contaminant that lead to issuing precautionary advisory. Guilbault adds that "crews are at work repairing the system, but there is no date in view for lifting the advisory". When asked if this is a frequent occurrence Guilbault said that "main breaks do not happen daily, but with cold weather they do tend to happen."

The Annual Assessment of drinking water quality for Île-Perrot did not reveal any major cause for concern and, as in this case, the city appears to act quickly when situations arise. Most of the tests for inorganic substances such as arsenic, copper, and uranium in drinking water came back within normal standards. The only issue here was four samples that came back with higher than normal levels of Bromate.

According to, the New York State Department of Health fact sheet "Bromate is formed when ozone used to disinfect drinking water reacts with naturally occurring bromide found in source water." The fact sheet states that the formation is influenced by "bromide ion concentration, the pH of source water, and the amount of ozone and reaction time used". There are minimal to serious health risks associated with Bromate but they are at much higher levels than what would be ingested through drinking water.

Île-Perrot did, however, have a minor issue with microbiological norms. A sample taken on August 18, 2015 raised a concern over "atypical bacteria". As a result, the city issued a letter to all residences concerned and proceeded to rinse, purge, and conduct work to replace the pumps.

The City of Île-Perrot operates a water filtration plant and a water purification plant. Between the two operations the city employs 8 people. The city has given the water treatment system the mission to provide drinking water that respects or surpasses the strictest water quality regulations for its nearly 11 thousand residents.

Advisory of the day


On March 8, 2017 Saskatchewan's Water Security Agency issued a Do Not Drink Notice for all users of the Rural Municipality of Hoodoo's Wakaw and Cudworth water station. The advisory was due to the possibility of an unknown chemical substance which may or may not have been introduced into the drinking water. The advisory also states that there is an "absence of backflow prevention devices on lines used to fill chemical tanks."

Users of the system are not to drink or cook with the water until further notice. In an announcement on the municipality's website, residents are being directed to use two coin-operated water stations in Cudworth and Wakaw, to meet short-term drinking water needs. We contacted the office of the Rural Municipality for comment on the situation.

We were informed that the municipality "was advised by Water Security that [they were] not able to sell [un]guaranteed" drinking water. This statement was echoed on the municipal website. According to the SaskWater website, the way it works is the provincial water corporation distributes water to municipalities. It is the municipalities who then distribute water to residents, and fixes the final water rate.

According to the Hoodoo website the advisory comes two months after users of the system saw an increase in their water rates. On January 1, 2017, a 7% rate hike was applied on water coming from the municipality's two water stations. The reason given for the rate bump was an "increase from SaskWater".

The stations will remain closed until Hoodoo "has the infrastructure in place to meet potable water regulations." The Municipal office added that Hoodoo has "initiated the required testing regime", though did not elaborate on what the regime is. The municipality did not elaborate on what the required regime is.

We contacted the Water Security Agency for comment but by the time of publishing had no response.

NOTE: Scroll down or wait for front page link to take you to the story you clicked on

Advisory of the day


A broken waterline has led to a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) being issued in the Village of Warfield, British Columbia.

The advisory, issued on March 4, is affecting slightly under 200 homes in the lower part of the village.

Warfield is located in the West Kootenay region of BC and was built on the side of a mountain. Excess precipitation, in addition to the spring melt has resulted in some unstable ground in between the middle and lower parts of the village.

According to Jackie Patridge, the Village's Corporate Officer, the ground on the steep slope between those parts became sloughed as the result of a mini-mudslide and a waterline was taken with it.

"When we first looked at it, we looked to see if some of the mud got into the water system," Patridge said, "We then notified all the neighbours, called in some contractors to fix the issue and issued the boil water advisory to be careful."

Patridge was unsure as to exactly how long the repairs would take but estimated they would be completed by the middle of next week.

According to BC Interior Health policy, village officials will have to keep the BWA active until repairs are finished and four clean water tests have been completed twenty four hours apart from each other.

Warfield is located in between the cities of Trail and Rossland, which is home to one of North America's oldest ski resorts, Red Mountain.

Advisory of the day


On Monday, Onoway Alberta was home to a water issue that was out of the ordinary. Users of the Onoway Waterworks System found that their tap water was a bright pink in colour. According to announcements on the town's website the problem arose when Public Works began the "weekly backwash if filters [in the] Water Treatment Plant.

We spoke with Dale Krasnow, Mayor of the Town of Onoway about Monday's rose coloured incident. Krasnow informed us that the cause of the discolouration was a "valve that stuck open during the regular flushing of the filters and lines". Krasnow adds that "some potassium permanganate infiltrated the water system."

According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information's website PubChem Compound Database, potassium permanganate "is a purplish coloured crystalline solid", hence the water colour. The water-soluble compound is non-combustible, yet it accelerates the burning of materials that are. The biotech website states that should combustible material finely divided, "the mixture may be explosive." The compound has limited use as a topical medication, and is used in water treatment processes.

The Mayor underlined the fact that "Alberta Environment and Parks was notified immediately" about the water discolouration. Krasnow added that Onoway Public Works acted quickly enough so that the situation only effected a portion if the town, the school being among the buildings not effected by the pink water. Krasnow said that "at no time was anyone's health in danger", throughout the event the water system was never turned off. To the best of the Mayor's knowledge no one in the town ingested the discoloured water, but potassium permanganate can stain skin.

The question was put to the Mayor about plans of action or prevention in the case that something similar should arise. The Mayors response was that "we are working on backup plans with other nearby municipalities." The Mayor was unable to elaborate on those plans he simply said that "they are progressing."

The likelihood of another water event happening in Onoway is low. Alberta Environment and Parks lists at least the town's last three reports as having "no drinking water concerns". In fact the Onoway Waterworks System has had "no previous water advisories". In the end, human error was ruled out, and all signs point to an equipment malfunction.

Water shortage

UPDATE 15:00 - City of Kamloops says Water Treatment Plant fully operational. Water usage can return to normal. Here's what happened.


A power outage lead to the shutdown of the Kamloops Centre for Water Quality at 4am PST this morning.

The programming that runs the treatment system was affected by the outage, rendering the treatment system inoperable.

Public Works and Utilities Director Jen Frentz said that there is still treated water in the reservoirs and the distribution system. That water is certainly usable and potable.

The shutdown will be affecting everyone within the city limits of Kamloops, which has around 92,000 residents.

According the Frentz, this is the first time this sort of accident has occurred.

As it turns out, the outage affected the worst possible system.

"There are normally fail safes. We have backups for everything in the plant but not programming," Frentz said," We knew it was one of the weak components." Having established it was weak, Frentz mentioned that prior to the outage, Kamloops' Public Works department had started working on a complete update for programming. The outage couldn't have come at a worse time.

It's unclear when the treatment system will be back up and running, so Frentz is asking residents of Kamloops to take a conservative approach to their water usage for the time being.

"We're asking people to reduce their non-essential water use if possible. The reason is that the less water people use, the longer the water in our system will last," Frentz said.

This story is brought to you in part by Proteus Waters

Advisory of the day


Saskatchewan's Water Security Agency issued a Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory (PDWA) for the Saskatchewan Landing Regional Water Pipeline Utility (SLRWPU) North Pipeline Zones 6 and 7. The Advisory states that it "is in effect and will remain in effect until further notice." The advisory encourages SLRWPU users to boil water to be used for consumption or any other "activity where it may be ingested."

The reason behind the notice is that the pipeline is undergoing commissioning and "the safety of the drinking water cannot be ensured at all times." Commissioning is a process that ensures that the system is in working order and pursuant to a 2002 law, an advisory must be issued.

We spoke with Patrick Boyle Director, Corporate Communications Water Security Agency in Saskatchewan. Boyle confirms that the advisory issued on March 3rd was due to a "well failure". The agency did not have any specific information as to why the well failed.

We also spoke with Grant A. Ferguson, Associate Professor in Civil and Geological Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, about what can cause drinking water issues in wells. Ferguson suggests that issues in drinking water wells are varied. He adds that there are areas with "uranium above drinking water guidelines in the province". Ferguson says "if you drill too deep, or in the wrong places, you are going to find elevated metals and high salinity".

The SLRWPU is relatively new, and was commissioned in June of 2015. The system has 42 kilometres of main pipeline connected to 700 kilometres of rural pipelines that serves about 2500 people. The system is fed from groundwater aquifers and production wells. The entire project cost approximately $30 million.

Boyle added that the Saskatchewan Landing Regional Water Pipeline Utility had to "haul in water from Rosetown" a nearby municipality. The utility seems to be getting the situation under control, and taking steps to have the advisory lifted. Boyle says that "tests are being conducted at 48 hour intervals", and hopes that the ban will be rescinded.

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Advisory of the day


There has been talk about rumoured massive budget cuts to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. These cuts would affect the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence water system, the source of drinking water for 40 million people on both sides of the border. US budget has not been presented and the discussion is taking place in an environment of uncertainty.

We spoke with David Ulrich, the Executive Director of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, about the situation. The Cities Initiative was formed in 2003 and represents local governments when decisions are made concerning the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence region. The group is made up of a 128 member cities, 70 percent are Canadian. The collective population represented by the Cities Initiative is over 17 million.

A Cities Initiative blog post states that the proposed cuts would reduce the EPA budget by 25%. The blog also states that the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) budget would be cut "97% from $300 million to $10 million." The GLRI exists to clean areas of concern (toxic hotspots), controlling invasive species, preventing algal blooms, and restoring habitat to protect native species.

Ulrich suggests that "it is very unlikely" that the cuts will happen. The scope of the cuts, Ulrich adds is "well beyond what anyone could have reasonably imagined, [and] is cause for concern for the Great Lakes." Ulrich adds "if there were cuts of that magnitude it would virtually bring work there to a halt" on clean up efforts on the five bi-national toxic hotspots.

According to the Executive Director one of the major concerns for member cities in this context is "nutrient loadings in the Great Lakes, particularly the western basin of Lake Erie which is generally ground zero for algal blooms". The blooms have an effect on drinking water and have been linked to water advisories north and south of the border. Ulrich says blooms "lead to the formation of Microcystins and other toxins that are dangerous for water supplies".

Ulrich says that the Cities Initiative has "not seen any hard numbers" on the budget cuts. The group is focusing on educating the general public about the situation in the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence. Ulrich is counting on the fact that "we are fortunate enough to live in democracies on both sides of the border." Ulrich believes that the general public putting pressure on their local elected officials is important and that Canadians speaking through the Ambassador have a strong voice.

This story is brought to you in part by Glenergy

Advisory of the day


An operator of a small water system in South East Ontario is upset to find out that his system was still included on a Boil Water Advisory list.

Roy Coburn, owner of Valleyview Estates in the village of Hastings had a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) issued in October of 2016. According to Coburn, he was installing a state-of-the-art water system and had the BWA issued for safety's sake. He followed protocol and the advisory was lifted shortly after.

The lift was confirmed by Bud Ivey, a Health Inspector with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

Yet, the BWA is still listed on the Health Unit's website.

Debbie Johnson, Environmental Manager for the HKPR District Health Unit, said there must have been a communications breakdown somewhere.

"Normally procedure is, the health inspector who put the BWA on circulates the particulars to our communications department," Johnson said.

As of publication of this article, she has confirmed that the BWA has been removed from the site.

Coburn, who spent $50,000 on a new water system, may very well have had his business affected by the BWA that had been on the website since October of last year. Prospective buyers and renters of the trailers on his property might have been turned off by the thought of a long-standing BWA.

"We've got a state of the art system that no other community can boast," Coburn said, 'Our waster is the same quality as the blue jug (bottled water)."

Coburn and his wife are both certified to run the water system as well as test it when necessary.

He said, "You're always going to have a couple issues with hard water where we are, but we took a test at our well recently and it was 0.22 turbidity."

Turbidity is a common measurement that tests for undissolved solids in water. It's often a sign that water has something the matter with it if the measurement is high. Coburn measured it against bottled water bought from a chain store and said that the bottled water came in just under 1.

Coburn insists that he always sides with caution when dealing with his water system, and that's why the BWA was listed in the first place, saying, "Our residents will have peace of mind, knowing we have their best interests in mind."

This story is brought to you in part by Idénergie

Alert of the day


Earlier this week Québec's Ministry of Wildlife, Forests, and Parks confirmed the presence of the Asian Grass carp in the Saint Lawrence river. In addition to the discovery, the department announced measures limiting the use of bait fish in the province. Now the question is how did this invasive species get into the Saint Lawrence and what is being done about it?

We spoke with Véronik de la Chenelière, biologist and interim Chief of the Aquatic Habitats and Fish Production Branch, Wildlife Expertise Directorate of Québec's Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, about the situation. De la Chenelière confirms that the Asian carp issue, at least in the North American context, is really about four separate species "the Grass, Silver, Black, and Bighead carp." Further, she adds that these species were first introduced on the continent over fifty years ago.

According to De la Chenelière, the Asian carp species were initially "introduced into fish ponds in the Southern United States, basically to clean them". De la Chenelière adds that the fish were seen as the "miracle solution" due to the fact that they mature quickly, they grow to large sizes, have large appetites, and are very fertile. Things would have been okay had the fish remained in the ponds in which they were introduced.

Over time, de la Chenelière adds, "they escaped into the natural habitat and slowly invaded the Mississippi watershed." It was in the 1990s and early 2000s that the carp "made their way down stream to edge of the Great Lakes." It was at this point the federal government and the government of Ontario became alarmed in the wake of the "immense damage that was caused by these four species in the Mississippi Basin".

The four carp species have a way of completing each other, according to De la Chenelière "they occupy different ecological niches". What is alarming is that in areas where they establish, "they represent ninety percent of the biomass." Further they "completely change the habitat, and the fish communities" she says.

The presence of these species has impact on commercial and sport fishing. De la Chenelière suggests that the reason Ontario, the federal government, and Great Lake States were so alarmed at the arrival of the fish is because "fishing on the lakes is a $7 billion industry."

The Grass carp was first seen in Québec waters in May 2016 after one was caught by a commercial fisherman. At that time, De la Chenelière tells us that the thought was that it was "just an isolated incident." Fortunately Québec had already begun collaborative work with Louis Bernatchez, Biologist and Professor at Université Laval.

The technique used was inspired from the experience in the Mississippi and Great Lakes called Environmental DNA. De la Chenelière describes the process as "collecting water samples, and filtering the DNA molecules within the water [which allows] the identification of species present" in that particular body. The technique is "especially useful [when trying] to detect rare invasive aquatic species."

"Québec was lucky enough to detect one of these species early", she says. "These species are very hard to control once they are established." The battle is to prevent the carp from establishing themselves in our waters.

De la Chenelière states "that we don't know the size of the population" present in the Saint Lawrence. She adds that "it's too early to tell, and we hope [numbers] are low". There may not be any way "to stop them from expanding their population" in the river, de la Chenelière says. Québec's approach is to prevent a "move into inland waters where our most unique ecosystems are and where most of the sport fishing takes place" in the province.

This story is brought to you in part by Idénergie

Advisory of the day


The little town of Saint-Luc-de-Vincennes, 27 km northeast of Trois-Rivière in the Mauricie region of Québec, has had a few problems with its water distribution system since January.

The city issued a water notice on January 13th stating that the town's water would be cut off for repairs of a major breakage that affected the whole system. The repairs took only a full day and everything went back to normal the following day.

On February 1st, a boil water advisory was issued for users located from 770 rue Principale to 1800 3ième Rang, after another system shut down due to equipment failure at the pumping station; again, the repairs took only one day and the BWA was lifted on February 3rd although the town's website still lists it as active 30 days later.

On November 10th, there was a major landslide in Saint-Luc-de-Vincennes, followed by a second landslide on the 11th, which required 2 homes to be evacuated as a precaution after a large section of land collapsed and fell into the small Champlain river that leads to the St. Lawrence River. The help of Sûreté Du Québec, Civil Protection, the Saint-Maurice firefighters along with Ministry of Transport's Geology department were required. No one was injured.

Today we talked to Saint-Luc's assistant administrator Lynda Turcotte about the recent water system breakdowns and subsequent repairs: "The boil water advisory was lifted on February 3rd as everything tested out to be normal and safe." (NOTE: As of noon Friday, it was however still listed on the front-page of the town's website).

When asked if the recent breakage had anything to do with the recent landslides she replied: "It's not impossible, as the recent breakage were due to pipe leaks, but the landslide happened on the other side of the town which brings no immediate correlation."

We asked if other repairs or upgrades were in the works she replied: "No everything is back to normal, the work was required because of last minute leaks but the system has been inspected and everything checks out to be fine."

The recent repairs of January and February required a few dozen men hours along with some pipe repairs, at a total cost of a few thousand dollars which fits in the town's budget as normal maintenance and repairs expenses so far, this year.

This story is brought to you in part by Graystone Environmental

Environmental Enforcement - Part 1


An Environment and Climate Change Canada news release announced on February 17, that Fibrek S.E.N.C. (société en nom collectif or limited partnership) had pleaded guilty to two charges under the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations and the Fisheries Act. The company admitted to "depositing actually lethal effluent from its water treatment system" and "failing to file the required report in the case of depositing deleterious substances in water frequented by fish." The Resolute Forest Products subsidiary was fined a total of $125,000, ninety percent of which will be paid directly to the Environmental Damages Fund.

We spoke with Stéphane Dinel, Regional Director, Environmental Enforcement Directorate, Québec region, about the matter. Dinel informs us that the Saint-Félicien operation has a primary and secondary wastewater treatment system. Dinel states that during the investigation Fibrek was found not to be "pumping the sludge" from the wastewater lagoons used to ensure contaminants can sink or float to be removed from the effluent.

According to Dinel when the operation began the wastewater lagoons had a "capacity of 680 tons of treated effluent per day." At the time of the recorded offence the mill was producing approximately 1000 tons of effluent per day." Environment and Climate Change Canada noticed that the production capacity of the mill had increased, the wastewater lagoons were no longer efficient for the size of operation and the fact that the sludge was not being pumped compounded the situation. Wastewater should be allowed to collect in these lagoons "between six and twenty-four hours depending on the type of chemical used, and size of company" he adds.

This is not the first time that Fibrek has had problems with Environment and Climate Change Canada. Dinel says that "between 2007 and 2010 the company received four warning letters" from the department. At that time inspections were conducted and nothing was found. The main investigation that led to the guilty plea was performed in 2012.

Dinel informs us that it was during this investigation that Environment and Climate Change Canada found that the "company was in non-compliance" with weekly and monthly testing as well as not informing the department of contaminants being discharged into rivers. Dinel adds that this is the reason why Environment and Climate Change Canada initiated "law enforcement measures." The substance found to be discharged into the rivers was ammonia.

Attempts were made to contact Fibrek but our requests for comment were not responded to.

The pulp and paper industry remain a large part of the regional and provincial economy. The Resolute organization holds accountability and making choices that ensure sustainability as core values. The Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean plant employs 227 people and produces up to 356 thousand metric tons of Northern bleached softwood kraft pulp annually.

This story is brought to you in part by Graystone Environmental

Environmental Enforcement - Part 2


As we have seen with the case of Fibrek, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) plays a major role in ensuring that companies are in compliance with Canadian environmental regulations. The ECCC traces its roots back to 1971, and according to the departmental website, this science-based arm of the government "provides the science and technology information so Canadians can make informed decisions about the environment."

One of the results of Fibrek mill's guilty plea was that they were entered into the Environmental Offenders Registry. This is a database of corporate convictions under Canadian environmental and wildlife legislation. The ECCC registry is a requirement of the Environmental Enforcement Act, which according to the act itself, "strengthened and harmonized enforcement regimes" across nine environmental laws.

We spoke with Stéphane Dinel, Regional Director, Environmental Enforcement Directorate, Québec region, for insight into the registry. According to Dinel, any time a company "pleads or is found guilty", an entry into this database is created. The actual entries are quite thorough, listing corporate, conviction, and offence related information.

Dinel suggests that the registry came into being in 2012. In addition, Dinel says that it is there for "all Canadians to consult when they have questions about what is going on in their [region]", in terms of corporate environmental law and enforcement. The value of such a registry is invaluable to citizens and researchers, and the database includes convictions prior to its creation.

The registry currently contains 88 records for convictions under the Antarctic Environmental Protection Act, Canada Wildlife Act, Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, International River Improvements Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, Pollution Prevention Provisions of Fisheries Act, and the Species at Risk Act. Alberta is the province with the most convictions listed (25), while 6 provinces and territories have no convictions at all. Fibrek is not yet among the six convictions in Québec.

Beyond investigating and overseeing the registry, the ECCC oversees the Environmental Damages Fund; portions of fines handed down in virtue of the Environmental Enforcement Act are diverted to this federal trust. The fund was established in 1995 and goes toward projects that fulfill the department's mandate. The ECCC mandate is to protect Canada's natural environment and renewable resources.

This story is brought to you in part by Seaveyors



Right now, in the province of Quebec it's the winter week off for over 865,000 students in 2,728 pre-school, elementary and high-school levels. Out of this number, 9 schools are under DNC (Do not Consume) water notices including 5 pre-school and elementary schools that we investigated. Some of these establishments have been under DNC water notices for many years, others just a few months. We reached out and contacted these establishments and their local School commissions to get the answers.

Most of the establishments with DNC notices are in rural district, without municipal water distributions systems and have to get their water from wells. The quality of the water is monitored every two weeks and sometimes additives in the well's water source are injected to improve the situation to standard satisfactory level.

3 of the schools are located in the Bas-St-Laurent region north of Quebec city under the jurisdiction of Commission Scolaire Kamouraska – Rivière-du-Loup. We spoke with Mr. Ghyslain Lisotte who is in charge of the case: " In the case of the JC Chapais School in St-Denis-de-la-Bouteillerie, there is actually no DNC water notice. There was a bit of renovations earlier this year but no particular issue." As for the St-Bruno School and the La Chanterelle School respectively in St-Bruno-De-Kamouraska and St-Paul-Lacroix Mr. Lisotte told us: "these two locations have to have new wells, we are currently awaiting A decision for the La Chanterelle school from the government and as for the St-Bruno school, the work has started last June but we are still awaiting everything to be finalized. As It's not my call, I can't give you an exact date when everything will be up and running."

We left messages to Blue Sea's Reine-Perreault school in Outaouais near Gatineau and the Les Hauteurs School from the town of the same name in Bas-St-Laurent, but the personnel was absent for the winter break.

We were able to reach Miss Cynthia Ouellette in the Central school in the town of St-Elzéar-de-Témiscouata who was on duty and is responsible for testing the water every 2 weeks and report to the proper authorities. Here is what she had to say:

"The children here never drink the water from the well and that for many years. I still test the water every 2 weeks and give my report; most of the time the standards are met, when they are not the authorities have to have chlorine added to the well to bring it back up to satisfactory levels. But as long as I have been here, the students and personnel are being provided with bottled water, we never drink the water from the tap." When we asked if a new well was going to be drilled she said that it was not her decision and that she thought it would probably stay put unless the Québec government were willing to change the ongoing situation. We asked if the well water was contaminated in any way and she said it's mostly organic and bacterial which is somewhat normal for a well, just not optimal and consistant.

This story is brought to you in part by Seaveyors



When musing about cyber terrorism and hacktivism, the first things that come to mind may be election rigging, payment data theft, or identity manipulation. It's odd to think of water resources and internet security having much to do with one another but in these times, it is prudent to.

Security researchers at Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering have been doing just that, recently creating ransomware,a malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid, to simulate an attack on a water treatment facility.

David Fromby, a PHD student and his academic advisor, Dr. Raheem Beyah, built a model of a water treatment plant complete with pipes, pumps and programmable logic controllers (PLC), which are industrial automation controls used for monitoring and controlling input and output.

Using ransomware they wrote, they were able to hack these PLCs, which are commonly used for many manufacturing and industrial purposes. According to Fromby, in the wrong hands, the results could be dire.

"We illustrated what an attacker could do if they knew more and had actual experience with control components. They could drain the water supply while blinding operators to current water levels, or if people don't pay (the ransom), attackers could poison the water system by dumping large amounts of chlorine into it," Fromby said.

In a Verizon report in 2016, they detailed a worrisome incident in which one of their clients, a large municipal water utility facility with over 2.5 million customers, was subject to a security breach.

The company, which Verizon has kept anonymous, referring to them as the Kemuri Water Company (KWC) had asked Verizon to do a pro-active screen of their systems to test for vulnerabilities. Suffice to say, they were quite shocked to discover that their less-than-ideal security architecture had resulted in them being infiltrated.

As is common with many older, enterprise-sized industrial firms, they were using legacy technology, in this case an IBM AS400 system, which was connected for efficiency's sake to both their information technology, or IT systems (billing, customer info, corporate functionality etc.) and their operational technology, or OT systems (distribution, control and metering of the regional water supply).

Through an internet payment application, hackers were able to find their way into KWCs OT systems. This resulted in them manipulating the PLCs that managed the amount of chemicals used to treat the water, and the ones that manage the water distribution system.

Thankfully these were being monitored and employees were able to react quickly enough so that adverse reactions didn't occur to their customer base.

Fromby said that it's all about, "Knowing what's on the network, knowing what's connected to the internet and making sure none of your control systems are connected on the internet," going on to add, "It can be done properly and securely but in most cases organisations do it with efficiency in mind without having someone with a security background making sure that everything makes sense."

Using Shodan, a tool for finding internet connected devices, Fromby and his advisor, Beyah, were able to find over 1400 similar model PLCs that were accessible via the internet.

Beyah suggested that, "It is absolutely critical to monitor the process control network. Traditionally we've been focused on the IT network but with OT you have to monitor it as well."

According to representatives from Toronto Water, "Toronto Water facilities employ a number of Cyber Security safeguards to protect its interests, including physical security and a multi-layered strategy of firewall(s) protection across its Corporate and Toronto Water network architecture."

It is feasible enough for a large scale water utility company to spend the money required to safeguard its operations but when it comes to small town ones who face budget cuts and have to tighten the purse strings, it can be difficult to implement a security strategy for both IT and OT systems.

As ransomware is becoming more prevalent however, they're not going to have a choice for long.

This story is brought to you in part by Glenergy



Using the sun to treat drinking water is not a new concept. In fact references can be found in the Sanskrit text Sus'ruta Samhita of purifying water by heating it using the sun. A team of researchers at University at Buffalo (UB) are taking this tradition applying contemporary scientific approaches, and challenging health and socio-economic issues at the same time.

We spoke with Dr. James Jensen, Professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, about the project. Dr. Jensen states that at UB "a lot of research is conducted in the area of Empowered Sustainable Water Treatment". Dr. Jensen adds that has substantial amount of work has been done in solar disinfection, and the Water Lens was born of that work.

The Water Lens project "simply used water in a plastic sheet to focus sunlight" to heat it up. Dr. Jensen adds that the project uses a scientific approach "to find ways to use the least amount of energy, and make it [more] efficient." Using sunlight is not a new means of water purification, Dr. Jensen suggests that what is new with the Water Lens project "is finding the least expensive ways of doing that."

The lens heats the water to kill any pathogens that may be present. Why not just boil the water? Dr. Jensen states the reason for not boiling is expense. He adds that it's a "huge waste of energy". The activity of boiling water in the developing world can come with other concerns such as "the activity of gathering wood for a fire can be quite dangerous," says Jensen.

Capitalizing on the project and marketing it, was not the main focus, as Dr. Jensen says "it's not about making money; not about producing a product that you can buy, more about teaching people techniques that they can use where ever they live."

"Rather than just providing people, particularly in the developing world, with advanced technologies that break down immediately, we empower people to treat their own drinking water." In a Canadian context, this project could have major implications for Indigenous communities.

Field work on the project has been done in Uganda, but is just now really moving outside of the university setting. Dr. Jensen says that one of the aims of the projects is to use local materials that would be found in the field, and models are being constructed at UB; he adds that being in Buffalo they are constrained by the winter months.

The Water Lens offers many opportunities to developing areas of the world to have access to clean safe drinking water. The project aims to use local materials, making it cost efficient and within the means of any community, once the skills are learned, to continue the work. This project also aims to have social impacts in the communities. "In the developing world gathering wood, [or procuring fresh water], is usually a task given women and girls, putting them at risk," he says.

The Water Lens will allow communities in the developing world to have clean water nearby. Which measn that women and girls "don't to go as far to get water", says Jensen states leaving them with more time and giving them an opportunity to go to school.

This story is brought to you in part by Dagua



Canadian winters are increasingly unpredictable. Roads need to be cleared from ice and snow to be safe for driving. The use of abrasives and ice melters is routine business. Let's take a look at the common practices in the province of Québec.

Icy roads are a major issue for drivers. Even with the best winter tires, a patch of black ice can mean accidents, injuries or death. The use of abrasives like sand, gravel and stones are good when used on top of the ice, but as soon as snow, rain or ice storms hit, it's time for more. The solution is to get rid of the ice. Two options are then available: mechanical removal, which is time consuming and very hard on machinery, more prone to breakage and costly repairs; or, simply melt the ice away using de-icing products.

With many roads to maintain and sub contractors usually doing the work, the Ministère des Transports du Québec issues a publication with all the rules and guidelines to follow in order to do business with the provincial body. The last version of the Cahier des Charges et Devis Généraux - Déneigement et Déglaçage was published in 2014. It mentions Calcium Chloride as the authorized de-icing product along with finely crushed rock, gravel, and sand the size of which must be no larger than 1.75 mm to 8-10 mm.

Calcium Chloride is basically table salt, the kind you put on your food. Calcium chloride is composed of 40% Calcium and 60% chlorine. It is a refined salt. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the same as sodium found in organic nutrients such as vegetables as it has been chemically modified. Technically, Calcium Chloride gets into the soil on the side of the road and surrounding snow disposal sites in the spring season.

We spoke to Mr. Marc St-Arnaud, Associate Professor of Microbial Soil Ecology. We asked him if Calcium Chloride accumulation once the snow is melted could have an impact on microbial levels in the soil: "Theoretically, Calcium Chloride is a stressing agent on the microbial level. To sum it up simply, the weakest taxons (conceptual summary of similar biologic entities) would tend to move away from the stressing agent and the stronger taxons would take their place and could cause some sort of unbalance. It depends on a multitude of factors of which I can't comment on further as this is not my specific field of research."

We found extensive research on the matter on a Health Canada webpage which was archived in 2013. The research concludes somewhat vaguely:
    Based on the available data, it is considered that road salts that contain inorganic chloride salts with or without ferrocyanide salts are entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity."

The webpage contains a chart entitled 'Total loading of sodium chloride road salt, winter 1997-98 (from Morin and Perchanok, 2000)', the total amount for the province of Quebec is a staggering 1 544 512 tons across its territory, which is still second to Ontario's with 1 845 329 tons.

Municipalities are among the biggest users of de-icing products. The biggest city of the province is undoubtedly Montreal. Cities have to remove the snow fallen and dispose of it somehow. The snow to be disposed of is filled with Calcium Chloride residues and subsequently these residues are brought along for the ride. For a long time until recently, the city of Montreal disposed some of the snow directly into the St-Lawrence River near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. As of now, Montreal disposes of the snow on the surface or thru the sewage system as shown on this mapfound on the city's website.

No scientific data clearly stating immediate or long-term damage due to Calcium Chloride use on the province's roads. Unless the public and environmental organizations put pressure for a full assessment, nothing points to any changes in the near future.

This story is brought to you in part by Seaveyors



As whimsical as whirling disease may sound, it is a very serious affliction facing finned fish in Alberta.

Johnson Lake in Banff National Park tested positive for the invasive parasite in the fall of 2016 and the race to contain began. So far, Albertan officials are a little behind as it was confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently that the entire Bow River watershed has been infected.

Whirling disease is a parasite that hitchhikes within the body of local worms, which are in turn eaten by sport fish like trout and salmon. Juvenile members of the species are the most afflicted by the parasite, which penetrate the head and spine of the fish as well as affecting their equilibrium organ, causing the individual to swim around in circles. This greatly hinders their ability to feed and avoid potential predators. In some cases, the disease has knocked out 90% of a fish population.

Peter Giamberardino, Whirling Disease Coordinator for Alberta Environment and Parks is spearheading the effort to contain this calamity. He leads a group of teams that are hoping to implement a three pronged plan built around detection, education and mitigation. At this early stage of discovery, it is vital to find out where the disease is located in order to come up with the best strategy to fight it.

As far as education's concerned, "We're trying to spread the word and provide education to the public about what they can do to help. Specifically, recreational anglers and boaters who we're asking to follow the cleaning, draining and drying method with their equipment," Giamberardino said.

He went on to say, "For mitigation we've put a quarantine on all provincial and private aquaculture facilities until they're tested for the disease. If they test positive, we need to take steps to make sure disease is no longer present before they can continue stocking fish."

The situation has even resulted in talks to remove all fish from Johnson Lake, the first location in which the disease was spotted. "The thought behind that is Johnson Lake is a hotspot for whirling disease and it's a very popular place to recreate and that makes it very easy to spread whirling disease to nearby lakes," said Lesley Peterson, the Alberta Provincial Biologist for Trout Unlimited Canada. She added that something similar was done in Colorado recently that reports suggest yielded favourable results. Her organisation is actively working to educate different groups on whirling disease by using presentations in addition to sharing info on their website and social media.

"We're not just focused on whirling disease but all aquatic invasive species, because a lot of the procedures for cleaning equipment are similar."

She noted that just because the Canadian food inspection agency designated the Bow River watershed as infected, it doesn't mean that every single steam and tributary has whirling disease, so even within the Bow Basin people should still clean their equipment. According to a 2010 government survey of recreational fishing in Canada, the amount of active anglers in Alberta was well over 300,000. They brought in over $450 million to local businesses.

Although whirling disease does not pose a threat to humans who come in contact with it through swimming or eating infected fish, the consequences to the Alberta economy and the species infected could be dire.



"All Canadians - including First Nations - should have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water." That's the first line of a December 6, government news release, entitled, "Toosey First Nation turns on the tap to a new drinking water system". Two month later the tap is still off.

The Toosey First Nation is located in the Fraser Canyon region of BC, it has been under a boil water advisory since November 2004.

We spoke with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) to see how the project has progressed, and what caused the initial advisory. According to the FNHA the reason behind the 2004 boil water notice was the microbiological quality of the source water and issues with the distribution system.

The new system consists of a well, treatment plant and distribution, a question still remained wether the new system supplies all of the community. According to the FNHA "the system has been installed and supplies all existing connections." The system is presently being commissioned, the process verifies "the proper functioning of the equipment."

The boil notice has not been rescinded, and is still visible on the FNHA website. The FNHA responded to this by stating that the advisory "will be lifted once the system is fully functioning and water quality standards are being met." The completion of the commissioning process should see the Boil Water Notice lifted.

When asked about plans to deal with the remaining drinking water advisories the FNHA responded "FNHA, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), and First Nations have been working closely together for many years to address the advisories that exist." The way in which these advisories are resolved can be complicated by the many levels of bureaucracy that are involved. FNHA continued, "most of the long term advisories have been in place because the solutions are not simple."

There are obstacles in addressing the water advisories effecting First Nations communities in B.C., one is the number of systems that have to be monitored. We learned that the FNHA "currently monitors 283 community water systems, [and] 47 public water systems. This is for all 193 First Nations in the province.

To further complicate the issue, an "advisory can affect as little as one building, [and] does not always represent a community-wide drinking water problem." The reasons for the preventative measures can vary. According to the FNHA an advisory can be in effect due to equipment issues or problems with the source water.

The way in which the present system works, "First Nations Chiefs are responsible for planning and development of capital facilities" this includes drinking water distribution systems. Further the local community leadership is responsible for the " day-to-day operation of water systems", this includes sampling and testing. The FNHA acts in a supporting role to First Nations Communities.

INAC is in charge of "funding infrastructure projects to address water needs and to maintain existing systems." INAC also supports First Nations communities water systems through the Circuit Rider Training Program. The program is designed to "assist water treatment plant operators with system operation and troubleshooting."

The Government of Canada made a $3.1 million investment in the Riske Creek project. The funds directed to the Toosey First Nation infrastructure project included $1.5 million from the 2016 federal budget. The Canadian government reserved large sums of money in the 2016 budget for First Nation's on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure. The federal government has earmarked $1.8 billion over five years for these types of projects. The allocations include $141.7 million over the same period for monitoring and testing.



Earlier we looked at Huckleberry Village in the Sunshine Valley, and a boil water notice that has been in effect since June 2000. We learned that the area has had financial difficulties, and that certain elements of the water distribution system had fallen into disrepair. This is not an isolated case in rural or remote parts of British Columbia. On the Fraser Health web page that lists drinking water advisories there are three current advisories that have been active between seventeen and twenty-five years.

We spoke with Denny Ross-Smith, Executive Director of the Small Water Users Association of British Columbia, about the issue. According to Ross-Smith there are "hundreds of systems on long term advisories in B.C." There are currently "thirty members [of the Small Water Users Association of British Columbia] on a permanent boil order".

The reason for so many small water systems to be under permanent notices has a lot to do with the rural-urban divide. It has to do with a "rural attitude", says Ross-Smith. Residents may live in the area for decades without treated water when health authorities inform locals that they must begin to treat the water, Ross-Smith says rural residents react in manner like "why should I, I never get sick and I can't afford it anyway".

This is not to say that people are not getting sick, according to Ross-Smith people become ill "all the time". Rural area residents tend to treat illness caused by untreated water like the "flu". The fact is "all too often if only two or three people get sick they never [get to] the hospital" and therefore there is no notice to health authorities regarding a potential outbreak. After long term exposure to the untreated water people can and do develop an immunity.

The question of illness caused by is more a concern for those who visit the area than for long term residents. According to Ross-Smith some areas do post signs indicating a boil notice for visitors while others do not.

The real issue as to why these small water systems are on long term or permanent boil water notices is financial. In areas that are comprised in large part by retirees who live in RV homes, Ross-Smith says that it is difficult to gather the necessary funds to upgrade their systems. Whereas in areas with more permanent homes, it is a little easier to "come together" and raise money, says Ross-Smith.

The costs to upgrade a small water system can vary depending on number of residents, and who designs the system. Ross-Smith estimates the cost would range anywhere from "five to twenty thousand dollars per connection." What compounds the issue is that there is "no way to get a government grant", according to Ross-Smith, unlike cities leaving small water users are left to pay the entire cost of the upgrades.

The October 14, 2016 Small Water Users Association of British Columbia newsletter listed 527 active boil water notices and 57 water quality advisories. B.C. also has some experience with waterborne disease outbreaks, there were thirteen confirmed outbreaks between 1990 and 2004. The situation for small water systems is improving, according to Ross-Smith groups are starting to raise water rates in order to be able to pay for water treatment.


The Huckleberry Village Water System has been under a boil water notice since June of 2000 for untreated surface water. Huckleberry Village is one of six that comprise the Sunshine Valley community. The the Community Cooperative Club states that the Sunshine Valley is a "1300 acre tract of land" that during the second world war was used for the internment of Japanese prisoners.

A local resident website describes the area as an "all-season resort residential community set in the scenic Sumallo and Nicolum River Valleyes". The Sunshine Valley is cottage country, and Huckleberry Village definitely fits the bill. The area is a wash with bed and breakfasts, and cabins for rent. The different villages are managed as co-ops, and stratas.

We managed to speak informally with some area locals which began to put the situation into context. What we were hearing in regards to the water system is that the water supply is above ground and does not undergo treatment. We were also informed that "the water contains more minerals and no chlorine."

Locals also related to us that water is stored in a water tower that has fallen into disrepair. Many drink and use the water regularly without problem, some for more than a decade, and have never boiled their water. Sunshine Valley Utilities Ltd. is responsible for the Huckleberry Village Water System, no one at the utility was available for comment.

In their publication How Safe is Your Water? Information for Rural Water Users, British Columbia states that "if you live in a rural or remote area of the province, and get your water from shallow, untreated surface source like a river, lake, stream or spring, then your water may be susceptible to contamination."

The situation is, the entire Sunshine Valley is in foreclosure with Farm Credit Canada and land is being sold off under court order. Colliers International is in charge of the sale, and describes Huckleberry Village as a gated "community co-op and camp ground" that sits on 11.2 acres of land. Further Colliers states that it "doesn't properly exist in the BC assessment."

There is a fair amount of turbidity surrounding this 17 year boil water notice. The advisory is for Huckleberry Village, and none of the other villages. On the upside no one appears to be getting ill.

Stay tuned as we continue to uncover the story behind B.C.'s long standing water advisories.



In early February five schools in the British Columbia interior tested for high concentrations of lead in the drinking water. Reports by the CBC stated that all water sources have been sampled and had been sent to the lab for testing. What has happened in the two weeks since the positive tests first appeared in the news?

We approached the B.C. Ministry of Education to ascertain whether there were plans to implement any additional measures in the wake of the positive lead tests. According to the ministry's statement, "school districts have always had a duty to provide safe drinking water to students." Further the ministry states that "as of last year, school districts are now required to test for lead in pre-1990 facilities and share their results with the ministry by March 30 every year", this was done after similar test results found lead in a Surrey school.

The Ministry of Education spelled out what the responsibility of the districts are in cases like this, "Where elevated lead levels are found, districts must mitigate the harm by flushing or disabling the water source and communicate the results to parents, students, staff and the Ministry." In addition, the statement points out that none of the school water issues indicate wide spread problems, "most elevated lead levels found by districts were isolated incidents - such as one fountain, or a part of a school."

The ministry aids education facilities in providing safe drinking water, "we provide school districts with $110 million in Annual Facilities Grants that can help with this type of testing." Government programs and school districts are being proactive on this issue. According to the statement there is a program in place to help avoid the type of test results that occurred in the interior schools, the Ministry of Education "also provided School Enhancement Program funding to upgrade plumbing lines and fixtures in 122 schools."

The ministry statement also spoke to an important positive point, "The Provincial Health Officer has noted we have no evidence of children being adversely affected by lead in drinking water in B.C." The measures and programs in place have protected the students from any change in the water quality in the schools.

The Vavenby Elementary school and those located in Kamloops are separate by 150 km. Both communities draw their drinking water from North Thompson river. The four schools located in Kamloops are spread across the city.

One of the schools effected was Vavenby Elementary. We contacted the Manager of Utility Services in Vavenby, Jake Devlin, to gain some insight on the water system in the area. In our conversation, Devlin pointed out that the water system in Vavenby is "owned and operated by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District". According to Devlin "all fixtures [at the point of entry] are simple curb stop valves."

Devlin also stated that the district is aware of the "school doing tests on its drinking water, but TNRD tests the water regularly and there is nothing in the most recent test" to indicate an abnormal presence of lead. Per Devlin any presence of lead in the school drinking water "has to do with the fixtures inside the school."

Health Canada set the acceptable concentration of lead in drinking water at 0.010 mg/L. The most recent tests results for Vavenby drinking water indicate that the concentration of total lead was 0.0009 mg/L, well within the Health Canada limit. According to the Health Canada Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality the most common sources of lead is it "leaching from plumbing."

Vavenby was under a Do Not Use Order between January 18 and 25 due to a diesel spill in the North Thompson River.

A document, Lead In Drinking Water, prepared by Health Canada for public consultations points to serious health risks in both adults and children. The document states that the effects of lead "include reduced cognition, increased blood pressure, and renal dysfunction in adults as well as adverse neurodevelopmental and behavioural effects in children." Water is now one of the primary sources of lead exposure.

Its is interesting to note that Vavenby was under a Do Not Use Order, between January 18 and 25 due to a diesel spill in the North Thompson River.

This story is brought to you in part by Dagua

Advisory of the day


On February 7th 2017, the town of Sutton, Quebec with it's most famous attraction being the Mont-Sutton Ski resort, issued a boil water advisory for only a small portion of it's population because of it's secondary distribution line failure.

The residents of the following neighbourhoods need to boil water for 1 minute before human consumption or cooking as a pre-emptive security measure:
  • Chemin Boulanger (from 205 to 526)
  • Chemin Alleghanys
  • Chemin Edelweiss
  • Place des Verrières

We spoke to the city's Main Water Technician, Mr. Yannick Denis who told us: "We have two distribution lines; the main one that goes right thru the mountain and the secondary 10-inch pipe that feeds a smaller part of the town. The 10-inch pipe broke mainly because of weight since it's buried very deep."

As for the lifting of the boiling water advisory, the town's website cites that repairs were done on Friday February 10th and lab results are expected by today 4pm to confirm everything is back to normal before lifting the advisory. Mr. Denis told us: "I sent two tests, I got good negative results for contaminants yesterday, the second set of results will be in later today, we expect to lift the advisory by the end of the day or tomorrow."

As of 4pm local time Thursday, the town of Sutton informed us that the BWA is still effective and lab results should confirm the advisory lift by Friday afternoon.

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This little piece of land near Cap-Aux-Renards in the MRC Haute-Gaspésie Québec with it's gorgeous sea view and 253 souls has been dreaming of water for a long time. The Boiling Water Advisory issued on August 24th 2000 was still effective as of 2015. The city made an announcement on March 27th 2015 that work on new water infrastructure was about to start by the end of that same year. Close to two years after the good news, we're catching up on this small town's wishes for clean water

As the mayor issued the 2016 report on the city's spending we can clearly read that 137 750,80$ of it's money was put into the "Drinkable water" project and put the city into a deficit of 43 641$. Most fees are for consultant firms such as engineering, and the other fees for drilling and pumping tests ongoing until October 2016.

The head engineer France Thibault hired for the task made 24 503.05$ from her consultation services in 2016 alone which is almost 4 times the mayor's salary and allocations of 6 486.14$. According to the 2017 budget, another 55 000$ is attributed for consultation fees on water engineering and hydrogeology, while the budget for water distribution and purification get's no dollar mention. Hard to plan for something that is not there yet again.

We reached out and left multiple messages to the city's office and are still waiting for a single call back at time of publication. Meanwhile, we contacted Melanie Vallee, MRC Haute-Gaspesie coordinator on environment and durable developments, who told us: "To my knowledge the water boiling advisory in La Martre is still effective, but it is not under the MRC's jurisdiction, you have to contact the city directly for more details." Just like the residents of La Martre, we are still waiting.

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Residents of Wainfleet Township and Niagara Region Public Health are at odds over how to deal with a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) that has been in place since April 2006.

High levels of E.coli were found in the groundwater source that feeds many of the private wells and cisterns that the majority of households in Wainfleet County use.

According to Bill Hunter, Acting Director of Environmental Health for Niagara Region," The (BWA) will be in place until an effective solution is implemented, which doesn't appear imminent." Hunter said, "All of (the private wells) are drawing from an aquifer that is severely contaminated by the effluent from the (private) septic tank systems that serve these homes."

He went on to point out that Niagara Region Public Works looked at potential solutions to the issue and determined that the only effective (one) was to provide municipal services for drinking water and wastewater. Hunter said that this was supported by the Ministry of Environment, who had also come to the same conclusion.

Councillor Betty Konc, an alderman for Wainfleet Township is the founding member of the Wainfleet Water and Sewer Committee, which has since morphed into the Wainfleet Ratepayers Association (WRA). She believes that the BWA from 2006 was placed erroneously as a ploy to convince the residents of Wainfleet to approve a costly water and sewer pipeline.

In an email sent to this reporter, she wrote, "No one has died to date from drinking tainted water" adding," The BWA is a joke no one pays attention to it."

Konc credits her group with coming up with a solution to the problem by "getting folks to install treatment systems for their water," in turn scolding Niagara Regions experts for not providing incentives to the residents for installing the systems and low-flow toilets. Hunter believes that the solution is little more than a band-aid one, saying, "For that level of contamination, we have experts who've said it will take 50 to 80 years for the aquifer to clean itself."

He added that the real concern is the long term effects of this contamination.

Konc pointed out that the WRA had a company from Sarnia test the lake waters along the Wainfleet shoreline from Haldimand, which is the county to the west of Wainfleet, to Ft Erie as well as some random well samples.

According to her, the results showed elevated levels of avian feces and some animal E.coli but nothing human, which she believes disproves the faulty septic system argument put forth by the Niagara Region experts.

She added that the region rejected the results.



As we learned
yesterday a boil water notice was issued for the Greenhills mining operation on February 10. The notice did not effect the Elkford water system itself. Monday evening Teck Resources' Senior Communications Specialist Chris Stennell issued a statement regarding the issue

The Teck statement underlined the proactive measures taken. "As a precautionary measure Greenhills Operations switched to bottled water on February 11 following a malfunction in the on-site potable water system." The response protected the users of its private water system.

Teck crews engaged the issue and produced results. "The system was fixed on February 12 and testing confirmed water quality was within drinking water quality guidelines." As we saw yesterday concentrations of selenium were of concern in Elk Valley, B.C. drinking water regulations allow for a 10 microgram per litre concentration.

The company was quick in notifying that the incident had no effect outside of the mine. "The malfunction in the drinking water system applied to Greenhills Operations only." Any connection to the district's drinking water is clearly put to rest.

The coal that is mined at the Greehills Operation is used in steelmaking, and is one of two such operations in the Elkford area. Teck operates five open pit coal mines in the Elk Valley alone.

Using B.C.'s Water Security Guidance Document as a guide, the incident at Greenhills would have been triggered by an "interruption or loss of water treatment." Teck does have an environmental division that looks after the water system. At last check the advisory has not yet been rescinded

2017/2/14 11:30
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A state of emergency has been declared at Îles-de-la-Madeleine due to a major water system breakdown Monday night that affects more than 80% of 12 500 residents on the island.

The water in the reservoir dissipated to almost nothing in the night of February 13th mainly due to multiple leaks in the system in the areas of Cap-Aux-Meules, Fatima and L'Étang-Du-Nord. The situation quickly escalated because of a storm raging that required the CISSS des Îles (Integrated Health and Social Services Centre) to put out a storm alert that was lifted this morning at 6 am

From what we can read on the island's website this morning, the situation rapidly worsened and the state of emergency had to be declared. All bottled water in local retail outlets was requisitioned, Civil Protection Services has been alerted and are as of now in communication with the municipality regarding possible water delivery to the population via airplane

We spoke to the Civil Security Services Director for the Bas-St-Laurent, Gaspésie & Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Mr. Jacques Bélanger: "This is not a life or death situation, we are in constant communication with the local authorities who are working non stop to repair the system and re-establish proper water distribution to the population."

When asked about plane shipment of water to the area Mr Bélanger said: "As of now (10:26am), no plane has left the base. The storm, the fact that the situation is gradually being taken under control by local authorities and the water boiling warning advisory for the next 7-8 days after service is re-established, they probably won't need it. But, it's their call, we are on standby, ready to assist."

The water system is expected to be back by the end of the day Wednesday along with a 7 day boil water advisory.

2017/2/14 -19:00
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As of 3pm this afternoon, the residents of Iles-de-la-Madeleine now have access to running water but are still required to boil it for at least 1 minute before human consumption from now until at least February 20th. The Department of Civil Protection is sending 6000 litres of bottled water as a safety measure and backup reserve.

The mayor of Iles-De-La-Madeleine, Mr. Jonathan Lapierre told us at 3pm: "The system failure is now under control, the reservoir is now at 3 meters (vs the average of 3,6 meters). The residents now have access to water and the Civil Protection sent a plane with the requested 6000 litres of water that we are going to keep as a strategic reserve just in case."

When asked about possible upgrades to the water system he replied: "The system is very well maintained and in good health for it's age. Let's not forget the system was implemented in the late 1960's early 1970's and is bound to be updated in the future, these events just proved to the governmental instances that we might have to do it ahead of schedule, but nothing is confirmed yet."

When asked if the storm had any incidence on the breakage he said: "Not at all, the pipes are 8 feet underground, the storm was an obstacle for getting immediate help by sea and air, but not the cause. We are an island and when something happens we can't just get help from the neighbouring town or village, we're pretty much on our own. That's why we had to call the State of Emergency, we can't mess around with water, it's crucial for everyone's wellbeing."

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Boil water advisories are commonplace for the First Nations community of Kashechewan in Northern Ontario. The most recent BWA was issued by Health Canada on November 23 2016.

Wilma Williams, Associate Director for Kashechewan First Nations, told this reporter it was for equipment malfunction during treatment or distribution but that it had been revoked as of Christmas time

It is still on Health Canada's website

This latest advisory is one more item in a long list of water-related problems this unfortunate community has suffered through

Kashechewan is a town of around 1,700 people located on the Albany River, just 10km upstream from James Bay. Being located on a natural floodplain has proved difficult for residents. Inadequate infrastructure to deal with the regularly occurring deluges often leaves the community in dire straits, with sewage overflowing and many residents being evacuated. Lacking the capital to clean up after the floods, the residents of Kashechewan often suffer effects from the contaminated land and waterways.

Just last year, an outbreak of skin diseases among the children of the community, drew a lot of media attention, as residents posted photos on social media of infants with lesions covering much of their body. In 2005, Kashechewan made national news when high E. coli levels were found in the reserve's drinking water. Local authorities had to increase chlorine input to shock levels, which also resulted in much of the citizens having debilitating skin problems

A water treatment plant which had been built ten years previously, hadn't accounted for the reserve's growing size. In addition, a design flaw resulted in the intake pipe for the new treatment plant being placed downstream from the community's sewage lagoon. As such, tides from nearby James Bay pushed the dirty water back and forth across the intake. Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins and James Bay, believes that the current Federal government has raised expectations of First Nations people with their promises to end Boil Water Advisories in five years while failing to put the resources in place to accomplish that

According to Angus, "If you look at the history of failed water programs, they repeat the same mistake. They overpromise, underfund and bureaucrats end up trying to cut funds on building," adding, "this is a pattern of dysfunction that they never seem to learn from."

He cites the 2005 Kashechewan Water Crisis as a perfect example

A water treatment plant which had been built ten years previously, hadn't accounted for the reserve's growing size. Angus said, "Indian affairs used a housing calculation based on the average municipal standard of 2.5-3.5 people per house, where on a reserve there can be upwards of 15 people per house."

In addition, a design flaw resulted in the intake pipe for the new treatment plant being placed downstream from the community's sewage lagoon. As such, tides from nearby James Bay pushed the dirty water back and forth across the intake. According to a media representative for Health Canada, there is an imminent press event where the government will outline where they're at with their commitment to end boil water advisories in First Nations communities within five years

We will be sure to keep readers updated

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Last Friday a boil water advisory was issued in regards to a system integrity failure at the Greenhills Mine in Elkford British Columbia. The Greenhills mining operation is a joint venture between Teck Resources Limited and POSCO Canada Limited. According to their corporate website the operation produces upwards of "5.2 million tonnes of clean coal." The town of Elkford itself was founded in 1971 as a home for miners and continues to have strong ties to the mining industry.

We contacted Elkford Public Works about the issue. What we were told was "there were problems at Greenhills for water for the plant, but that has nothing to do with Elkford itself". The advisory that was issued on Friday does not touch the drinking water of the town.

The town of Elkford operates a Class II water distribution system, it is a relatively small system. Water is drawn from a ground water aquifer through wells. The town monitors the source and system on a bi-weekly basis. The district treats its wastewater in a series of lagoons, where at the end of the process water is allowed to seep back into the ground.

In an effort to dig deeper into the issue we tried to contact Teck Resources Limited. As it was Family Day in British Columbia, no one at the Elkford site or at the Head office in Vancouver were available for comment. There was no answer at the corporate office in Calgary and the number in Spokane is no longer in service. The results were the same for POSCO Canada's one office.

According to the latest Elk Valley Environmental Monitoring Committee report, Teck was directed to "develop an Area Based Management Plan" to address increasing concentrations of selenium and nitrate in area water. Teck is obligated to assess the human health risk to those in the area who come into contact with mine-related constituents. In short, Teck, due to its operations has a large responsibility in regards to ensuring water quality.

Join us tomorrow as we dive deeper into this story and look at the corporate side of this issue, and as the mining is central to Elkford we look to put a personal face to this story and look at how it effects the people.


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A physics miscalculation lead to a boil water advisory in Beachburg, Ontario this past week

According to Steve Hodson, Environmental Services Manager for the Township of Whitewater, firefighters were alerted to a major conflagration in the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 7th. A large residential house had caught fire and they had to hustle to contain it.

When the water from the single hydrant they had access to didn't prove sufficient to extinguish the blaze in a timely matter, the firefighters sent a tanker truck to a small nearby lake to gather some more ammo.

The tanker truck was in turn hooked up to the pump truck that the hoses used to fight the fire were connected to. Unfortunately that same pump truck was also still hooked up to the hydrant

Monitors at the local water treatment plant started noticing that something was awry. Hodson said, "Their high water pumps at the plant were down for half an hour, which was quite out of the ordinary."

Someone had a hunch that the local fire might have something to do with it, so made a trip to the site in order to figure things out. It turns out the pressure from the pump truck was greater than the pressure in the local distribution system that feeds the hydrants, which lead to untreated water from the small lake being forced back into the system

Thankfully, due to the quick response, the Ontario Clean Water Agency was notified, who in turn advised the local Health Unit to issue a Boil Water Advisory

According to Hodson, "The Boil Water Advisory was precautionary," adding, "We had to wait until we got two clean samples 24 hours apart and then it was lifted." The mistake didn't end up being a costly one, as it was caught in time. All that was required was a simple flush and a waiting period for safety's sake

Beachburg is a small town of just over a thousand people located in the Upper Ottawa Valley. It is world renowned for its whitewater rafting and kayaking

It's also had a long history of devastating fires with a major blaze destroying much of the town in 1851 and another in 1948 that destroyed 10 buildings

A fire hall was erected in 1950 to mitigate such incidents happening again

Now that the BWA is behind them, Hodson said, "The Fire Department learned something that day and we did as well."

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On February 1st, Port-Cartier announced that the municipality had a $22,17 million budget for the year 2017 and a close to $ 40 million investment over the next 3 years to complete upgrades to the water distribution of the Riviere-Pentecote district and the waste water treatment infrastructure of the whole Port-Cartier region

Less than 8 days after this news, the 50th parallel municipality issued a water contamination warning to it's residents to boil the water for at least 1 minute as a pre-emptive measure because of an incident at the water treatment facility

The area first explored by Samuel De Champlain in 1603 and settled in the 1910's uses the Actiflo decantation system at a cost of approximately $0,25 for a thousand litres of drinkable water. In 2017 every household of the 6613 habitants will have to pay close to $175 in municipal taxes for it's water distribution services and close to $275 for diverse waste management contributions. The purification system in use is a decantation process using chemical reactions to insure suspended contaminants are safely removed via a two-step filtering system

We spoke to Port-Cartier's Water Treatment Supervisor Mr. Thomas Gaudin who told us that during a backwash procedure of filtration system number 2, they noticed that an under-flooring gasket was leaking and required immediate attention. Mr. Gaudin told us: " We issued the warning more for population reassurance than a real contamination threat, we measured the turbidity (cloudiness) of the water coming out of the filter at a fraction over the standard 0,15 NTU that we normally maintain. The water is perfectly drinkable as we speak, I drink it myself everyday."

When asked about the city's plans to upgrade the facility he kindly responded: "Well, when you grow the water distribution you must grow the waste treatment also, they go along together. For now this is the information I can give you as the plans are not final and are being studied by the city's engineer."

The water boiling warning should be lifted by Tuesday night.

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This week we looked at a number of aspects of water security in the Vancouver area. We began the week looking into small privately owned water systems, more specifically security and oversight of these systems. We then turned to wastewater and impacts, generally with the Metro Vancouver wastewater treatment system and focused on sources of wastewater in healthcare facilities

We looked at a specific source of wastewater, healthcare facilities. What we found was that even with concern at a federal level with emerging contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), there are no real regulations to control wastewater pollutants that come from Vancouver area hospitals. What was more eye-opening was that these institutions lacked the personnel with the expertise to speak to the issue

We saw that healthcare institutions produce numerous contaminants from daily activities. A positive take away here is that biomedical waste does not end up in the wastewater of any healthcare facility. According to Vancouver Coastal Health biomedical waste is "disposed of in a manner that safeguards the environment and human health and complies with provincial and federal regulations"

The way this is achieved is through contracting the removal of biomedical waste to Stericycle who holds the contract with all six B.C. healthcare providers. Further, VCH intimated that "over 90% of medical waste incinerated as it is the most effective process to break down the waste to a form that is safe for handling and disposal". Biomedical waste is not disposed of in hospital wastewater

We also learned that there are a number of B.C. laws and regulations that require any supplier to ensure clean safe drinking water to those they serve. We did, however, find some issues with privately owned small water systems. These systems tend to suffer from lack of funding and aging infrastructure as well as lack of access to testing labs. In addition, the difficulty to attract the necessary expertise to maintain the system makes it harder to provide safe water over the long period

I you live in a large multifamily building in Metro Vancouver, we found that your water is provided by the city itsel. Metro Vancouver supplies the water to metropolitan municipalities which distribute it to stratas up to the point of entry. Once water enters the internal system of the co-proprietorship it becomes the responsibility of the association that oversees the property

What we learned in our look at the wastewater treatment system in Vancouver is that of the 415 billion litres of used water produced in 2015, 80% is produced from daily household activities. That's correct, 332 billion litres of wastewater were produced simply by doing the dishes or taking a shower. Clearly modern daily life has an impact on the water system

We saw that Metro Vancouver's wastewater treatment system is a combined responsibility between the regional government and municipalities. Municipal sewers flow into Greater Vancouver's system of trunk sewers and pumping stations. The wastewater ends up in one of the region's five treatment plants

Three of Vancouver's treatment plants are providing secondary treatment which are in line with national standards. However, most of the used water that reaches these facilities flows to the two that simply offer primary treatment. Primary treatment simply removes sunken and floating matter

Beyond this the major issue found with the way Vancouver deals with wastewater is that the system is aging. We found that the system is shared where storm water and wastewater flow within the same system of pipes. When there is overflow, which puts strain on the system, large amounts of wastewater are pumped back out into the surrounding waterways without treatment.

We did see that Metro Vancouver is proactive in a couple of areas. In wastewater management, they are in the process of upgrading the sewer system that will separate storm and wastewater permanently Expected completion of the project is for 2050.

Vancouver is also about to begin construction on the $700 million upgrade to Lion's Gate Wastewater Treatment facility. The much-needed improvements will give the treatment plant the ability to provide secondary wastewater treatment. This is the process where chemicals are added to further breakdown the effluent.

A very important step Vancouver has taken is to work with local area hospitals to develop implement Pollution Prevention Planning. This will see hospitals curb or eliminate pollutants in the wastewater at the source. Finalizing of the regulations is set for 2017.

As we have seen the Vancouver water system is complex, which has its pros and cons. The city is investing in the infrastructure, but contaminants still are found in the water surrounding the city. The best way to avoid finding pollutants in drinking and recreational waters, in the words of Christianne Wilhelmson of the Georgia Strait Alliance, "is not to have them go down the drain in the first place."

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This week we covered a lot of ground, but this is the icing on the cake. Today, we look at tap water production, waste water treatment facility and the balls dropped on the way at the environment's expense.

The water Montrealer's have access to and consume everyday comes from the St-Lawrence river and is treated in seven steps before distribution:
Step 1 : Sieving raw water at the source to remove particles like sand, rocks and other items that could damage machinery and pumping systems.
Step 2 : Water pumping to first purification stage
Step 3 : Ozone treatment to disinfect water from most microbial and bacterial contamination
Step 4 : Water then goes thru a series of 96 different filters to remove sediments up to cellular level bacteria and pollutants residues
Step 5 : UV Ray disinfection treatment that kills any remaining organic contaminants
Step 6 : Chlorine treatment as preventive measure
Step 7 : Pumping to the city's distribution system

As we can see it is pretty intensive and most contamination afterwards is from obsolete lead and brass piping present in the oldest parts of the city (which will all be replaced by 2026...) and in old buildings under owners responsibility

Montreal has the third biggest waste water treatment plant in the world in the Rivière-Des-Prairies / Pointe-Aux-Trembles district located east of the island, the Jean-R. Marcotte plant. It treats all of Montreal's waste water. As of now, the purification process is both physical and chemical, but mainly dependant on a 1980's technology. First step is to remove all solids by sieving the water, compress and dry out on average 750 tons every year to be incinerated, ashes to be tested and disposed of in a landfill. Second step is removing all the sand and rocks residues in 14 giant de-sanding devices. Third step, chemicals are added to create a chemical reaction that will transform particles such as phosphate into flakes that deposit at the bottom and then are extracted, dried and incinerated, tested and sent to the landfill. The remaining water goes back to step 1 along with some new waste water. Nothing in this process removes, chemical contaminants from industrial wastes and pharmaceutical bi-products, which as of today still are rejected into the Rivière-Des-Prairie's natural waterflow

In March 2015, Mayor Denis Coderre announced a 100 million dollars investment to upgrade the facility with an Ozone treatment system to be operational in the course of 2018. We spoke with Mr. Richard Ethier, Chief project manager of this operation. We asked Mr Ethier about the impact this new addition will make on the pharmaceutical bi-products when it becomes operational. "This ozone process will work on 3 fronts, bacterial, microbial and metabolites derived from pharmaceutical products." When asked in which proportions Mr. Ethier continued: "In terms of bacterial contaminants we're talking 99 to 99.9% will be destroyed, viral contaminants around 99%. As of emergent contaminants like anti-depressant residues and the likes on average more than 75%, hormonal bi-products (from contraceptive pills mainly) around 85% and most anti-biotics around 90%." This is a very big step up for the environment, plagued in recent yearswith wildlife disturbances at the genetic and reproductive level.

One last very important detail remains; on the way to the plant, waste water goes thru a system designed more than 100 years ago, that was until 1980 going to collectors which threw waste water straight to the island's surrounding water flows. Since 1980, the collectors have been fitted with interceptors equipped with overflow systems. In dry times, everything is fine and dandy. The problems arise when rain and spring snow melting activates the overflows... In an October 10th interview broadcasted live on CBC's RDI news network, Mr Raymond Desjardins Engineer and Professor of Civil Engineering at Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal explained that when the overflow systems were activated "The interceptors are very big, between 4 to 5 meters in diameter, so when the overflow is activated and goes straight to waterflow there is a very big volume involved."

Let's hope the 2018 upgrade will pay off on the environment level, but the overflow systems of more than 160 points on the island are the weakest link that would need improvement along with stricter municipal laws concerning industrial waste water obligations.

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Water has played an integral part in shaping the city of Toronto. Its citizens depend on it greatly for drinking, taking away our waste and keeping our city green. That being said, it's also important that it's controlled to some extent, for as life giving as it can be, it has the potential to be quite destructive in an urban setting if not harnessed

Adverse weather conditions can result in tremendous damage to public and private property in a metropolis the size of Toronto. Residents won't soon forget the flooding that happened in the summer of 2013 when 3.5 inches of rain dropped in a single evening. Subways were flooded, above ground train tracks were submerged, power in large swaths of the city was lost and a lawyer abandoned a $200,000 Ferrarri side mirrors deep underwater

It was the most expensive natural disaster in Toronto history, with PCS-Canada Service estimating the damage at over $850 million. This reporter had an opportunity to speak with Mani Seradj, a Team Leader and Project Manager who specializes in Water Engineering for Cole Engineering in Markham. His company works with municipalities on projects varying from storm water management to wetlands engineering. His team is mostly focused on the design side but also provides inspection services during the construction phase if necessary

When new subdivisions are planned, Seradj and his team take into account the possibility for freak rainfalls and plan the town accordingly. According to him, "when the capacity of a sewer is full, we design the roads to take the runoff elsewhere, like a storm water pond," adding, " if you don't manage it, you can cause major issues for humans and the environment."

Companies like Seradj's team up with municipalities, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change as well as local conservation groups to ensure their projects are as environmentally sound as possible

Toronto's Don River and Central Waterfront Project is undertaking to lessen the effect of extreme weather events. Now that a class environmental study has been completed, recommendations have been made that include a series of integrated tunnels and storage shafts that will capture, store and transport stormwater and combined sewer overflows for treatment

According to the City of Toronto Website, when fully implemented, this project will result in virtual elimination of releases of combined sewer overflows into the Don River and Central Waterfront, as well the reduction of polluted stormwater discharges, significantly improving water quality in the Don River and Central Waterfront, improving aquatic habitat for fish and other wildlife and helping the City meet provincial requirements for controlling combined sewer overflows

According to the latest assessment, cost for this project could reach around $1.5 billion over a 25 year period.

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In December 2006, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) published a report that list pharmaceuticals among emerging contaminants found in municipal wastewater. The CCME also stated that the increasing number of contaminants are "a growing cause for concern." Further, they have the "potential to cause subtle ecological and human health responses" even at "low environmental concentrations."

Healthcare facilities in the Vancouver area have a complex mix of pollutants that stem from a wide array of activities. Hospitals perform surgery and diagnostic imaging, operate care wards, diagnostic and research labs, pharmacies and dental clinics. The supporting activities like food and custodial services have to be accounted for as well. The list of contaminants is varied from biomedical to food waste.

We needed insight into the practices hospitals already have in place to deal with wastewater pollution.

In an attempt to do just that we contacted Vancouver Coastal Health. They were unable to respond to our requests by the time of publishing.

We found in our research that other healthcare providers did not have the experts to even speak to the issue. This raises the important question of who is really overseeing what goes down the drain of healthcare facilities? And who really regulates wastewater from healthcare institutions?

Environment Canada began working with CCME on a national strategy to "reduce pollutants at its source" a decade ago. The aim of this strategy was to use sector based approaches to assess risks of untreatable substances, and control the use of other products. CCME was engaged to provide guidance and model bylaws to municipalities.

In British Columbia, at the provincial level, there are no specific regulations on wastewater that comes from healthcare facilities. The province's legislation is mainly concerned with the end of pipe issues. It is unclear if the Hazardous Waste Regulation is triggered by wastewater from healthcare facilities.

Metro Vancouver is taking steps to help hospitals deal with their wastewater issue. Metro Vancouver is in the process of developing a "requirement for hospitals to implement Pollution Prevention Plans." What the city hopes to achieve with this regulation is to have all hospitals within its territory to examine their "operations and develop a plan to eliminate or reduce pollution at its source."

The process that was outlined by the CCME and Environment Canada is similar to the one being pursued by Metro Vancouver. Vancouver should be beginning the second phase of the plan, drafting regulations in spring 2017. Final implementation of the plan is scheduled for fall 2017.

Join us tomorrow as we dive even deeper into the murky depths of wastewater.

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As we saw in yesterday's article (MONTREAL HOSPITAL WATER: CLEAN BY CITY'S STANDARDS), the legislation does not require special treatment or purification of human dejections before being fed back to the sewer system. Same rules apply for institutional establishments as for homeowners.

As with food, nutriments and liquids, once consumed orally, drugs go thru the digestive system and are fragmented in the digestive track so the body can absorb it thru microscopic pores in the intestinal wall. The payload is then delivered thru the bloodstream to accomplish it's intended use. As with food, after it goes thru this process, whatever is left (bi-products or unused parts still in the colon) comes out as feces, and after the bloodstream is filtered thru the kidneys, comes out as urine. The dejections then goes down the toilet and back to the city's waste water system

Today we spoke to Doctorate in Pharmacology Nicolas Pinto who answered a few questions about pharmaceutical drugs and human dejections. When asked what type of drugs left residues in feces and urine he kindly answered: "Well, in fact the majority of drugs if not all, leave some sort of bi-products in the human dejections. Those bi-products are called metabolites, they are small molecules leftover after they are transformed by the metabolism." Mr Pinto continued with an example: "If we take for instance the contraceptive pills largely used by women to prevent pregnancy, their metabolites in the urine and feces contains hormones among other things." When asked about mostly used drugs like pain killers, anti-depressants and antibiotics, they all have a range of metabolites, each with some form of active molecule that could possibly vary greatly from the original medication. This metabolite cocktail is part of what can be found in the septic sewer system

What about industrial? The city's regulation cites that past a certain volume of waste water, industrial citizens are required to filter particles in the waste water (especially metal) and pay a royalty depending on the volume of waste water injected in the system in order to help the city cover the treatment costs. We tried to contact Bombardier and Molson-Coors thru their media relations department, but had nothing returned by time of publication

We also contacted Pfizer Canada (one of the most prominent drug manufacturers in the world) thru their media department. We left a 24 hour window to answer 9 questions before deadline. We got a partial answer by Mr Vincent Lamoureux, Director of Corporate Affairs, 50 minutes after sending our request, stating they could not answer within the timeframe allowed before deadline, with 23 hours remaining. So we basically asked one more time, insisting that a person in charge of equipment maintenance could probably answer if yes or no, there were water filtration or purification systems to treat waste water from their facilities or if they had a statement. Otherwise we would have to state it as a refusal to collaborate

Here is the answer we got: "Your statement would not be accurate since we do not refuse to collaborate. For any media inquiry, we have a process to follow in order to gather accurate information and seek required approvals. In this particular case, your questions are outside of the usual pharmaceutical themes of questioning that we receive and therefore, we require more time to reach out to subject matter experts within the Company and develop an appropriate answer." 4 hours and 20 minutes remained

Tomorrow in part 5 of our 5 part investigation on Montreal's water from tap to waste we take a look at the city's sewer system and waste water management, is it enough?..

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In our western pharma-centric lifestyle, it's easy to pop a few aspirin or get a quick prescription for some antibiotics without worrying what'll happen big picture wise once those chemicals have made their way through our body and provided us with a quick fix

Truthfully, not much happens at all at the individual level. However, put a group of individuals together with a wide variety of ailments, getting pumped full of biologically altering chemicals and all of a sudden the byproduct starts mattering quite a lot

A mid-sized hospital can have around 600 beds and can treat anywhere from a quarter million to a half million people per year. According to a 2010 survey by Practice Greenhealth, a network for eco-friendly health institutions, the amount of waste created by that sized hospital would be around 2 tonnes per day. This can include highly hazardous substances like used and expired pills, chemicals from labs, waste that's been infected by ailing patients (bloody rags etc.) and of course the flushed waste that's expelled by the patients themselves

Modern hospitals in Toronto are fairly well equipped to deal with most water waste but with a heavy rise in the use of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP), new systems will eventually have to be put in place

Xogen Technologies Inc. a company in Orangeville, ON have been working on such systems. According to a consultant of theirs, Theresa Sauren, they have performed tests using electrolytic technology that, "Have been well over 90% successful at eliminating all contaminants we've measured, like Acetaminophen and various antibiotics."

Another firm based out of the Netherlands, that has had a lot of success with hospital waste systems is Pharmafilter. Founded by Eduardo Van Den Berg in Delt, they have a 360 approach to hospital waste that they believe is quite revolutionary. They looked at the economics of hospital waste management system and tried to come up with something that was efficient as well as environmentally friendly. Peter Kelly, their International Director of Waste and Waste Water, says, "when we first tell hospitals about out systems, they ask us if we're good at writing fiction, because this sounds like an episode of Star Trek."

They use and intelligent shredder that's connected into the waterway, that's similar to a high-tech garborator to break down some of the waste. It's then in turn sent to a small (21m*21m*7m) on site treatment plant that breaks down all the PPCPs in the water, in turn making it potable again and usable for flushing and cleaning within the hospital. Non-digested materials like glass and plastic are decontaminated and repurposed

Pharmafilter has implemented their solutions at five hospitals in Europe and have five more that they are scheduled to roll out. They plan to be in the North American marketplace at the end of 2017

In Canada, PPCP is becoming a highlighted topic with many associations weighing in. "Proper disposal of unused, unwanted and expired medications is essential to keeping pharmaceuticals out of Canadian waterways," said Adrien Landry, Health Products Stewardship Association (HPSA)'s director of operations. "HPSA's Medications Return (MRP) and Sharps Collection (SCP) programs play a fundamental role in ensuring unwanted medications and sharps products are appropriately handled and safely disposed of. Though an estimated 67 per cent of Ontarians disposed through the MRP in 2016, nine per cent still chose to rinse their medications down the sink or to flush them down the toilet. As most municipal water treatment systems have difficulty filtering these trace chemicals, HPSA's programs provide a sure alternative that safeguards Canadians against further contributing to the problem."

According to Kevin Wong, Executive Director of Canadian Water Quality Association, "Health Canada has been studying the effects on the natural environment and human health to develop guidelines and best practices. Those have not been established as yet." We will provide updated info as it becomes available.



Wastewater is any water that has been used in some fashion or other. In the Vancouver area 80% of this water comes from homes flowing through drain pipes from sinks, toilets, showers, and dishwashers. The Metro Vancouver area treated 415 billion litres of wastewater in 2015

I spoke with Christianne Wilhemson of the Georgia Strait Alliance a local environmental group engaged in protecting the Georgia Strait and adjoining waters. According to Wilhelmson the efficiency of the Vancouver system is not what it could be, "every day wastewater with a variety of chemicals from different communities" flows into the surrounding waters. Luckily, in Wilhelmson's opinion, this is not a drinking water issue being that most of this used water flows back into the ocean.

Though wastewater treatment may not effect drinking water, it does have an impact on the surrounding water environment. According to Wilhelmson evidence of chemicals can be found in the "sediment [and] shows up in the wildlife. One of the most obviously affected are killer whales that spend part of the year in the area.

I also contacted Fraser Riverkeeper, another local environmental group who has the quality of recreational waters at heart. Joe Daniels, a Coordinator with the organization, states that one the major problem with the wastewater system in Vancouver "is that it's old". The system in the city is a shared system and according to Daniels "storm water and wastewater" flow through the same system.

When there is sewer overflow, the way the systems is designed "water is pumped back out without proper treatment" Daniels said. According to Daniels the city is "on track to meet the 2050 date" to separate the wastewater and storm water systems. The city has also implemented programs to improve the situation such as free pumping for boaters so they don't have to dump sewage into the river" Daniels said. As a result "beaches were open pretty much year round last year".

There are five wastewater treatment plants that are owned and operated by Metro Vancouver. The water flows out of homes and businesses into municipal sewer systems which account for 8500 km of the sewerage system. From there, water is moved through regional trunk sewers and 33 pumping stations to either the Annacis Island, Iona Island, Lions Gate, Lulu Island, or Northwest Langley Wastewater Treatment Plants

With the Operational Certificates issued under the Environmental Management Act by the Ministry of the Environment in 2004 the five plants in the Vancouver area must meet daily compliance levels for Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS). Clifford C. Hach, Robert L. Klein Jr., and Charles R. Gibbs describe BOD as "the amount of oxygen, expressed in mg/L or parts per million (ppm), that bacteria take from water when they oxidize organic matter." While Stormwaterx describe TSS as "particulates of varied origin" that are suspended in water

Two of the treatment plants, Lion's Gate and Iona Island, are only primary treatment plants and account for 52% of the flow of effluent. Primary treatment is essentially leaving wastewater in large tanks so heavy solids will sink to the bottom and lighter solids rise to the top. Once this matter has been removed, the water is discharged into the ocean

The remaining three plants, Annacis Island, Lulu Island, and Northwest Langley offer the more effective secondary treatment. Secondary involves the use of chemicals to further breakdown solids in the effluent before being pumped into the lower end of the Fraser River. Planned construction on a $700 million upgrade of the Lion's Gate treatment plant to a secondary facility is set to begin in spring 2017.

Join me tomorrow as we continue to wade through the turbidity of water issues in Vancouver.

This story is brought to you in part by Grandma's Garden Laundry Soap



One of the most vital parts of the checks and balances system that governs our water quality in Ontario isn't directly associated with municipalities or the provincial government.

As the costs for running their own testing labs would be astronomical, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change puts the onus on those who run non-municipal water systems to send their water samples to third party labs across Ontario. These labs have the weighty responsibility of testing said samples and reporting the results

This isn't a responsibility that's taken lightly at all

According to Glenna Pike, the Lab Manager Environmental for ALS labs in Waterloo, there's an extensive process a lab goes through in order to become licenced to perform these sensitive tests

"We have to become ISO17025 accredited," she told this reporter, referring to a rigorous standard used by testing and calibration laboratories that pertains to quality management, "And then we have to be licenced by the Ministry (MOECC)." She went on to say, "There's an application process and after that they audit us. After that they come twice a year to audit us; one announced and one unannounced."

Schools and day cares are some of the most sensitive systems that ALS labs tests on a regular basis. The plumbing systems need to be checked and tested thoroughly for lead

Nella Gudzak, an account manager at the same lab whose focus is drinking water testing told this reporter a little about the testing process they're required to perform under regulation 243 of Ontario's Safe Drinking Water act, which pertains to lead in the drinking water supply of schools and day cares

"The limit for lead in drinking water is 10 ug/L (micrograms per litre), so if we have a sample case above that, we have a four hour window in which to complete a written report, which his to be faxed or emailed to the Ministry of the Environment, the Health Unit in that municipality as well as the owner/ operator of the system."

It's been almost a decade since Ontario implemented a lead testing program. Houses, buildings and infrastructure built before the 1950s used lead extensively, as it's easy to work with. Infants and children under six can be highly susceptible to small amounts of lead in the drinking water, with detrimental effects to their nervous system, which can affect their intelligence and attention-related behaviours.

For schools, such as rural ones that use their own well or groundwater supply off of municipal systems, the lab also tests for E-coli and total coliform. Any result when testing that is above zero ug/L is cause for concern, especially with E-coli, as the risk for someone becoming quite ill is high. With total coliform, a result above zero is more of an indicator that something is wrong with the system.

When Pike was asked, what's stopping an owner or maintenance worker for one of these systems from sending in a sample that came from an iceberg off the coast of Finland, she said, "nothing is stopping them."

So for all the good a proper testing facility does, the onus is still on maintenance workers to be diligent.

This story is brought to you in part by ParemTech's PT Level



Hospitals nowadays are huge, essential and in Quebec represent a major part of the province's expenses in it's healthcare system. Montreal's hospitals vary tremendously in size and age. The oldest hospital in North-America being Hotel-Dieu De Montreal (established in 1645), alongside it's new super modern Mega-Hospital, the Glen site MUHC (McGill University Health Center opened in 2015), are vastly different in construction and technologies involved, while being very similar in their tap water usage and waste water disposal

Montreal's tap water is being used "as is" for most tasks and usage in these establishments. We spoke with Mr. David Calderesi, Assistant-Director for Building Maintenance Logistics and Emergency Measures for the CIUSSS (Centre intégré universitaire de l'Est-de-l'Ile-de-Montréal), in charge of the 7 hospitals and long-term treatment centers of the eastern part of Montreal for information about the subject. He gave us a list of the areas where simple tap water is used:
  • Cooling systems and Air Conditioning
  • Water heating systems / Vapor systems / Sterilization systems
  • Dishwashers / Hygiene / Regular Maintenance / Laundromat
  • Some specialized equipments; Scope cleaners for endoscopic exams, some lab equipment.
  • Domestic use; baths, showers, hot water and food preparation
Not that different from typical residential use. The areas where tap water is being filtered or purified are more specific and highly specialized. According to Mr. Calderesi, tap water is purified to bring it to high purity osmosis water; for each 10 gallons there is a waste of 5 gallons of tap water. Uses for this treated osmosis water is mainly for dialysis machines, laboratory equipment / analysis and such highly sensitive areas.

Wastewater returned to the Montreal sewage system is not treated except for few exceptions. The water used in the kitchens is sent to a decantation tank to separate grease, oils and water, to be then picked up by a specialized firm to discharge or recycle. The water from the laundry is also treated to remove phosphor and other chemicals to comply with environmental laws and regulations for disposal of chemically contaminated waters that all high volume industrial and institutional establishments must comply with.

Mr. Calderesi told us on the phone: "The wastewater returned to the Montreal collection system is within municipal regulations. Unless, there was a change in the law or a major incident, this will probably not change." When asked if microbial, biohazards and other contaminations from an organic source was possible he told us: "The water used in dialysis, laboratory and highly sensitive areas are double treated in special treatment systems where the ph is brought back between 5.5 to 9.5 ph levels to make sure no contaminants are present and that the ph levels more acidic from these treatments is brought back to the city's regulatory standards. It also prevents corrosion and problems to the piping systems." When asked about medication residues in patient's dejections Mr. Calderesi had this to say: "Patients urine and feces goes straight to the sewage system as there is no current regulation, just like anybody home on medication has to go to the bathroom."

Tomorrow we will continue our 5 parts investigation of Montreal's water with pharmaceutical and industrial common practices.

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This story is brought to you in part by Waterloo Biofilter Systems



While responsibilities for providing clean potable water to residents of condominiums and strata properties are laid out in BC legislation, if you do live in one of the various types of strata* in the Vancouver area, who is actually looking out for the safety of your water?

There are two types of water systems in BC large municipal systems, and small water systems which can be privately owned. According to the Executive Director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC (CHOA) Tony Gioventu, small water systems are "virtually non-existent" in multi family structures in Greater Vancouver, therefore contaminants coming from an independent water supply present very little risk for strata property owners.

Gioventu's statement was echoed by Chris McMillan, Secretary to the Comptroller of Water Rights Utility Regulation, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. "There are no regulated private water utilities within Vancouver", he says.

So how is water supplied to stratas?

"Metro Vancouver is the bulk water supplier to individual municipalities in BC's lower mainland" according to Dave Townsend Government Communications and Public Engagement. Each municipality secures its water through provincial licences and regulates buildings on its territory. Water in strata properties in Vancouver is assured to the point of entry.

The safety of drinking water in co-proprietorships is overseen and provided for by BC's drinking water legislation.

1 Clearwater is a local company that specializes in soft water corrosion systems. They also supply small, agricultural, and waste water systems. I spoke with William Lee a representative of the company.

According to Lee there are small water systems in the Greater Vancouver area, and they are primarily found in 'multifamily structures'. In large complexes like condos and strata the real problem is soft water corrosion caused by the circulation of hot water but it poses no health risk. 1 Clearwater will have teams come and inspect the installations on a monthly basis.

The strata itself is responsible for the quality of the drinking water in large multifamily dwellings. For example, the City of Surrey - a member municipality of the Metro Vancouver regional district and metropolitan area.- does not meter individual units of a strata, and only installs a 'master meter' because the system past the point of entry is "owned and maintained by the strata itself".

Tomorrow, we look into small water supplies and the public health system in and around Vancouver.

*In British Columbia, strata housing is more than just condos. Strata housing can also include: du-plexes, townhouses, fractional vacation properties and mixed use developments.

This story is brought to you in part by Waterloo Biofilter Systems



Montreal has a very large ratio of it's water supply used for business and commercial uses. As we continue our investigation in part 2 of the 5 part series, we take a deeper look at how this precious resource is used when we include the necessity to make money and the ways business and commercial entities do it

When going to the restaurant, common practice is to have a glass of water served while you wait. Most places won't charge for it unless you ask specifically for bottled or mineral water. We wanted to know if simple tap water was being served or if any filtration or purification process was involved or required.

According to Martin Vezina, business and communications consultant for Association des Restaurateurs du Quebec (Quebec's restaurant owners association) : "There is no requirement on our behalf to have members install filtration systems for the water used in food preparation or served at the table. The only requirement is to serve safe drinkable water and Montreal's tap water respects these requirements." He also added: "We are a restaurant owner association and not an Order with chartered rules and regulations, we cannot impose those kinds of measures, some big chains do filter their water, but most of our members are not restaurant chain owners."

We contacted many managers of chain coffee shops and fast food giants of the city who were quick to reference us to their respective media relations departments. Most of them confirmed "off the record" that water is filtered before it goes into preparations of beverages like coffee and soda, to insure product consistency across the country, as tap water can taste a bit different from region to region.

What about waste water management? We asked around and everyone seemed a bit sensitive on the issue. As for restaurants, they are obligated by law (provincial and municipal) to use a waste management firm to come and pickup all oils and grease products which are securely stored and identified in specifically designed containers to be disposed and/ or recycled.

We went a bit further and asked a few car body shops on the island what they did with hazardous chemicals such as thinners and solvents used in car painting and touch-ups; They ALL referred us to an organisation by the name of Green Wrench (cleverte.org), an association of car/trucks repair shops that promotes a system of guidelines and accreditations to insure implementation of eco-friendly practices. Again no definitive answers as it is not a chartered order but an association.

We spoke to Mr. Benoit Boucher, President of DBOExpert.com who sells, distributes and installs a septic system for domestic type waste water (excrements, urine, dishes water, etc..) and uses the human intestinal flora bacteria present in the waste water to naturally decay and decompose sediments. He informed us that some parts of Montreal and Laval islands did not have access to a waste water treatment plant due to rapid population growth and vast numbers of new constructions being built. According to Mr Boucher, more and more construction companies used his company's technology as a common self-contained waste water management system for some newly built neighbourhoods. He also told us: "Every building by provincial law Q2R22 is required to be hooked to some sort of waste water management system, be it a municipal waste water treatment plant or a septic system that decays sediments chemically or organically."

Tomorrow we will take a close look at Montreal's hospitals which have very specific and potentially dangerous biohazards in their waste water.

This story is brought to you in part by Waterloo Biofilter Systems



For a follow up to yesterday's story on Toronto's private water systems, this reporter opted to dig into some data sets to see what the province is doing to ensure clean drinking water in these non-municipal set ups

Ontario's Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is responsible for regulating non-municipal drinking water systems. These can include residential systems for condos, townhouses, apartments etc. as well as designated facilities that provide water to people more at risk. For instance: schools, day care facilities, hospitals, old age homes etc

The MOECC set the standards, guidelines and passes legislature like the Safe Drinking Water Act of 2002. This was in response to the Walkerton Tragedy of 2000, an E-coli outbreak in a small south-western Ontario town that resulted in 7 dead and thousands taken ill. As a result of the act, all municipal and private water systems must obtain approval from the Director of the Ministry of Environment in order to operate. Those who run the systems must be trained and certified to provincial standards. Testing is also covered in the act, with legally binding standards for contaminants in drinking water as well as the mandatory use of specific accredited labs for drinking water testing. Attempts to find out the testing process from these labs were unsuccessful as of publication but will be followed up on

According to the province of Ontario's open data catalogue, MOECC made only two drinking water convictions in the time period from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 . The first concerned an individual working for Kerry's Place, a company that runs residential autism programs, for failing to report that improperly disinfected water had been directed to users of a drinking water system. They were ordered to pay a fine of $2,500. The second was levied against an individual working for Carriage House Retirement who was convicted for failing to ensure compliance with a drinking water system's maintenance schedule included in the Engineer's report for the system and for failing to ensure that the system is operated by trained person. In this case the charge was $3,500

For the most populous province in Canada, there were two drinking water convictions over a one year period. When the same data catalogue was consulted, it shows that 218 sites were inspected by the MOECC, 217 of which were announced in advance, leaving one which was unexpected. Out of those inspections, 166 were on schools, daycares and nurseries. In addition to the inspections, 113 compliance audits were carried out. Requests for the MOECC to clarify their inspection process to this reporter have remained unanswered.

More info is expected in the coming days.



In Canada, most of us take for granted that the water that comes out our tap is safe. Most of us also take for granted that systems that provide our drinking water are controlled by public institutions. In British Columbia there are more than 4,000 small water systems usually serving rural and remote areas.

Small water supply systems that are in the province can be controlled privately or through a public institution. A private water supply system can be operated as sole proprietorships, societies, partnerships, stratas or corporations. These smaller systems face a number of issues such as aging infrastructure, inadequate treatment, and lack of funding.

The problems that private systems face raise serious concerns for drinking water. According to the BC Centre for Disease Control any owner of a water utility is responsible for ensuring that "drinking water is properly treated before delivering it to those who drink it." Untreated water can become contaminated which is the source of water-borne infections.

Drinking water in B.C. is regulated by a collection of legislations and is overseen by various departments. The two key statutes protecting B.C. water are the Drinking Water Protection Act (DWPA) which provides an outline. And Drinking Water Protection Regulation (DWPR) which sets out the specific requirements for water supply systems.

Whether private or public water, suppliers in British Columbia must provide treatment, construction and operation of the system, monitoring, reporting and public notification.

Are there concerns regarding private water supply systems in apartment buildings and condominium projects in Greater Vancouver? I spoke with Tony Gioventu, the Executive Director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC (CHOA), to gain some insight. Condo buildings with private water supply systems are "virtually non-existent" in Vancouver.

In this case the short answer to the is no. According to Gioventu it "has never been a trend in BC" to have private water installations in apartment and condo buildings. So if you are moving into a new condominium in Greater Vancouver it is most likely that your water will come from the city itself.

If you are supplied by a small water supply system and are concerned over the quality of your water here are a few steps you can take. Ensure that your supplier performs timely maintenance, treats the water adequately, has a financial plan to provide for the longevity of the system, tests the water regularly and has access to laboratories, and reports any changes in water quality.

This story is brought to you in part by TecTeg - Thermoelectric Power Generators



The island of Montreal is surrounded by the St-Lawrence River on the south shore and the Prairies River on the north shore. On the verge of the 375th anniversary of one of North-America's oldest portal cities, this first article in a series of 5, we take a closer look at the health of Montreal's most visible and essential attributes; water. More specifically it's supply, purification, distribution and waste water management.

The sewage and water supply system of Montreal has been put in place in the early 1800's to supply a growing population's needs to get access to drinkable water. In 2017, some boroughs have real estate that dates back to this era and updates are mostly done if breakage and last minute repairs become unavoidable. To prevent lead and bacteria poisoning, the city instituted by laws that have been in place for a few decades. The citizens have access to a leaflet on the city's website describing precautions to be taken in all times to insure minimal exposure to these issues. (http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/EAU_FR/MEDIA/DOCUMENTS/Leaflet_on_lead.PDF).

More and more people have been preoccupied by the water they drink. Bottled water is now selling in retail for more than the price of gasoline, personal water filtering systems in big chain stores (pitchers with replaceable filtering cartridges that you keep in the fridge) have top shelf real estate. Systems originally intended for purification of well water are becoming increasingly popular in new constructions or retrofitted to existing buildings to get rid of lead, chlorine and other purification/distribution residues present in the tap water.

Promising to remove calcium residues, chlorine, rust, bacteria and micro pathogens along with aftertaste, these elaborate systems transform tap water into pure H2O. In this era of technology and healthy living, simple tap water has become second class; more and more people won't drink unless a household brand bottled it or special treatment has been done to purify the blue gold; a far cry from the original intent of giving access to this primary source of life to the population of 200 years ago.

Antonio Greco a 59 year old St-Leonard district resident encountered next to me in a local restaurant last week, when asked by the waitress if he wanted a glass of water with his order sarcastically answered "St-Lawrence draft?!!, Nah.. give me a beer.." that gives a hint as to the perceived quality of the liquid by some locals.

Since 2005 the city of Montreal has been pro active in the elimination of lead and brass connexions to main lines more susceptible to be seen in "wartime housings" mainly built between 1940 and 1950 and 8 apartment buildings built pre 1970. The part connected to the city main line is the city's responsibility while the pipes from the building to the edge of property ground connection is the property owner's responsibility. This problematic area is the biggest reason why we can still find traces amount of lead in the city's water supply. Tomorrow in part 2 we take a look at water management in small business from tap to waste, legislation, obligations and reality.

This story is brought to you in part by Grandma's Garden Laundry Soap



Toronto has long been lauded for the quality of its drinking water. In 2007 the city placed third in a North America wide blind taste testing competition. According to a representative from City of Toronto Water however, they're only responsible for the quality of its drinking water up until the property line. So, for large private organizations like schools, hospitals and condos which have their own private water systems, there is some grey area as to who ensures the high quality is maintained

In Toronto's latest (2015) Sewers and Water Supply Bylaw Compliance and Enforcement Annual Report, it is noted that three convictions were made under the Water Supply By-law resulting in $4,500 in fines. As of the time of this article's publication however, requests for clarification on what those convictions were for and who they were levied against have been unreturned.

The Ontario Ministry of Environment does provide very detailed guidelines for drinking water systems, the latest of which was published in 2008. These cater to the engineers that design these systems, the ministry engineers who are responsible for reviewing and approving those designs and the owners of the systems of themselves, who are tasked with keeping them running smoothly. Every owner and operator of a drinking water system must ensure that:
  • the system's water meets Ontario's Drinking Water Quality Standards
  • anyone who operates or works on their drinking water system is properly trained and certified
  • Drinking water tests are done by licensed, accredited laboratories
  • adverse test results are reported to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the local medical officer of health
A number of factors come into play to ensure the drinking water provided by City of Toronto is of a high quality. First and foremost, the source from which the water is gathered from is very close. Pipes draw water from one to three miles out in Lake Ontario at a depth of around 15 metres. This ensures any onshore incidents like heavy rainfall don't interfere with the quality. The city's Water Control Unit conducts over 20,000 bacteriological tests at one of four major treatment plants. 15,000 additional tests are done on water that's left the plants, in order to ensure no contamination exists in the infrastructure that's carrying it. They test for over 300 chemicals, which is significantly more than the 78 required by the province.

Issues can arise however, once the water leaves the Toronto infrastructure and enters a large private system like a hospital, school or condo. It's up to private water engineers to ensure the infrastructure is being kept up to date and working. For new builds that have to be vetted by the provincial ministry there is less chance of major contamination. However, older buildings that rely on aging infrastructure that use materials like lead, the chance grows considerably.

More details on this story are forthcoming.

This story is brought to you in part by Proteus Waters



Local residents of Spallumcheem, British Columbia are feeling slighted by government agencies who they say aren't doing enough to curb nitrate levels in their drinking water.

Concerned locals - who have been under a Water Quality Advisory since July 2014 - believe the rise of agri-business in the past six years in the area has resulted in a significant uptick of key pollutants in the Hullcar Aquifer that supplies drinking water to 350 local residents as well as two reserves of the Splatsin First Nations People.

Cathie Price, Co-Chair of the Save the Hullcar Aquifer Team (SHAT) believes that if current trends continue, "It's going to be an environmental disaster that is going to affect everyone on the aquifer." According to Health Canada guidelines, nitrate levels in drinking water that exceed 10 parts per million (ppm) can have effects on infants. A recent newsletter by SHAT claims that samples taken from the aquifer in the last 36 months has shown a trend of .5ppm increase in levels of nitrates, averaging around 12ppm, with 13ppm being breached four times. She reiterates that she's not against farming by any means and that she's not interested in putting any farms out of business but she does believe more regulations need to be in place, in order to curb the ill effects. Cathie said she'd like to see flush barn (waste removal) systems discontinued, as she believes they are a waste of water and the effluent produced by them has a highly volatile type of nitrogen. She would also like for the number of cows to be limited to what can safely be accommodated by the land

The farms in question are raising around 1000 head of cattle and using the animal's manure in liquid form to fertilize their crops. Cathie says that the soil on which the fertilizer is being sprayed is loose, gravelly and sandy. In her opinion, it is the equivalent of the effluent being sprayed on a sieve. According to a British Columbia report, The Hullcar Aquifer is an unconfined aquifer, meaning it doesn't have an overlying protective layer of rock, clay, sand or till

British Columbia's Interior Health Agency was able to provide some materials to overview and Rob Birtles, their Team Lead, Small Water Systems and Infrastructure was helpful enough to give this reporter a statement by email. In it he reiterated that he and a group of other agencies, including the Ministry of Environment are dealing with this issue, recognizing its importance and taking steps to ensure residents have safe drinking water. They're hoping to finalize results of testing of the impacted area by this spring.

As of deadline, a representative from the Ministry of the Environment could not be reached.

Local elections will be held in May of this year. We will have more info on this ongoing issue before then

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On January 18, a Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory (PDWA) was issued for all users of the northern settlement of Sled Lake due to possible contamination during installation of the truck fill. Sled Lake is Northern settlement - or unincorporated community - located in northwestern Saskatchewan. The community is about 40 minutes away from Green Lake, and currently has a population of 39 people. Unable to reach anyone at the community office, we turned to the Saskatchewan Water Security (WSA) for clarification

In an email, spokesperson Patrick Boyle explained:

WSA received and upset report on Wednesday (AM) from the operator informing us that when the contractors, who are onsite installing the truck fill, drilled through the concrete to install the suction line, the concrete plug and associated debris had fallen into the reservoir. Visually some of the cuttings were noticed and additional turbidity readings taken helped to confirm that. As the reservoir will need to be drained down, the debris removed and cleaned, disinfected, and sampled – the advisory will most likely remain in place for at minimum a week's time. They are going to wait until all construction on the truck fill associated parts are into the reservoir and sealed off before working towards advisory removal."

This story is brought to you in part by Proteus Waters



CWRA (Canadian Water Resources Association) is hosting the Climate Extremes: National Collaboration on Floods Drought in Ottawa on January 27th. In the communications release on the CWRA website, President Dave Murray stated "Volatility of Canada's weather and increased severity of flood and drought impacts is an identifiable symptom of the changing climate in Canada."

"What is missing, however, is recognition that a national approach to managing our water, a crucial factor in climate change adaptation, is the foundation for Canada's economic future," he added.

This could be a large undertaking for a one day event. Speaking with Rick Ross, CWRA Executive Director, this reporter asked what he considered the main objective for the day, he had this to say "Raising awareness, and increasing co-operation to better advise Canadians." Awareness did come up many times in the conversation, "Better awareness of technical design will be discussed, design technology is moving from "Maximum Probable Flood" to "Maximum Possible Flood" through better forecasting of maximum rainfalls. This allows for building of infrastructure that could handle the maximum."

When asked whether the sale of water to corporations, and cross border would be covered by Robert Sandford, EPCOR Chair, Water and Climate Security, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, in his - Trumped? Global Cooperation on Water Security and Climate Stability- Ross only commented " I know Rob doesn't advocate the sale of any of our water."

Further this reporter questioned Ross on whether Insurance Companies and their approach to insuring high risk areas would be addressed, " It will come up as many discussions will, but not as a specific topic." He further stated, "Many Canadians aren't aware that Overland Flooding Insurance only became available to them last year. Previously they were on their own to seek Disaster Relief and other Government programs."

Also the question of whether relocation of high risk residence areas such as many First Nations reserves would be a topic Ross said "Not specifically, many communities across Canada will discussed."

Ross was optimistic about the Roundtable, when questioned on whether all parties attending were set on working together, he had this to say , "The great thing about people involved in water is that they only want to improve it, and raise awareness." Steve Brown, Ontario CWRA Branch President echoed this when speaking with this reporter, "Our Mission is to raise awareness, and the profile, of water issues in Canada with both Political and private parties."

The Roundtable is being held in Partnership with Environment and Climate Change Canada

CWRA's 2017 Conference in June is called "Water: A Continental Asset", and when asked if many of these discussions will continue then, Brown had this to say "Undoubtedly many will resurface and overlap, they will link with at least 4 of our topics then."

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Sandown Park Estates in Cobourg, On has been under a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) since Dec.24, 2016 "This advisory was a Precautionary Boil Advisory", according to the Estates property management Jason Braganza who stated "The notification was a precautionary notice because of loss of pressure due to breaks in the lines. I believe the notice is being lifted today."

As reported in our article on Cedar Beach Camp Resort published on May 12, 2016, small communities who get their water from small private systems are at risk of being ill informed, or receiving conflicting information on water issues since the Ontario Ministry of the Environment no longer publicly reports "adverse test results" in Small Drinking Water Systems

Sandown Park Estates is part of the Small Drinking Water System Program but its users are fortunate in that they receive notification from multiple avenues, Braganza stated to this reporter how they handle advisories on their properties "Automated calls are made to each resident, those that aren't answered receive written notice delivered to their home. We also post signs coming into the park, at the communal mailbox area, and in the community news letter".

The inspections of communities that fall under the Small Drinking Water System Program are now conducted by Public Health Inspectors, who conduct site-specific risk assessment on every small drinking water system in the province. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care was given this Program in 2008 and states on it's website: Based on the assessment, they will determine what owners and operators must do to keep their drinking water safe and will issue a directive for the system, which may include requirements such as water testing, treatment and training. Unfortunately the website doesn't post an ongoing list of advisories for these Small Water Systems which can include restaurants, seasonal trailer parks, summer camps, community centers, libraries, gas stations, motels, churches and many other public facilities

Bill Eekhof of Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit confirmed that the Sandown Park Estates advisory has now definitely been lifted. Eekhof stated the following in an email to this reporter:
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