Montrose council weighs water options

Monday’s village council meeting presented options to try and remedy the problem which has put a black eye on the village’s claim to prize-winning drinking water since February, when a small amount of coliform bacteria was found.

Time keeps passing and there’s no end in sight to the boil water advisory in Montrose.

Monday’s village council meeting presented options to try and remedy the problem which has put a black eye on the village’s claim to prize-winning drinking water since February, when a small amount of coliform bacteria was found.

The options included “doing nothing,” “short-term chlorination by injection,” “complete well cleaning and inspection with pump removal,” and two “long-term chlorination” options — one with and one without contact (the amount of time needed for the chlorine to disinfect the water).

Council decided to look further into the cost of doing a complete clean of the wells, which would provide a deeper cleaning into the gravel pack than chlorine shocking, remove any offending material and also allow an inspection of the well as to its condition and remaining lifespan.

The findings of the cleaning could ultimately determine what the village will have to do in regard to its water in the future.

“I think we should start moving that way,” said councilor Cindy Cook. “If it’s in the plan anyway, why wait?”

Mayor Griff Welsh agreed and said they should wait to explore the other options after the village hears about its gas tax funding application.

“Some of the benefits of doing the inspection is that would sure tell us what it looks like — how bad our wells are, do we need new wells?” said councilor Joe Danchuk, who had some reservations about the option.

Both wells would be cleaned, but if the village’s gas tax funding application is approved one well would be dropped because a new well would be drilled.

Village CAO Kevin Chartres is expecting to hear about the application in the fall, which would give the village $1.2 million for the new well and new chlorination facility to treat all the village’s water.

Residents are growing weary of the advisory and its associated costs too, another reason why council is looking at steps they can take to get their water back.

“To be honest, we’ve had some people come in and say, ‘Why don’t you just chlorinate? I’m tired of this,’” Chartres said.

“Before we even start chlorinating we’d have to have a town hall meeting,” Welsh stated at council. But not having enough clean samples means it looks like the village will have to resort to chlorination or stay on the boil water advisory for an undetermined period of time.

Facing a possible ultimatum between the advisory and chlorination is something that a lot of residents will likely be upset about, seeing as the village prides itself on clean water, Chartres added.

Currently the village samples the water four times a week and while they have had clean samples, they haven’t had enough to comply with the province’s drinking water regulations — where 90 per cent of samples taken in a 30-day period must be clean.

The village is well above the provincial sampling requirement — only one is required every 30 days.

Piping and other modifications have been done to the water system and the wells previously disinfected, but there hasn’t been a change in water quality.