Montrose residents wait to drink from the tap

Last month’s sampling came back clear of coliform bacteria

Montrose residents are waiting to quench their thirst with their award-winning well water.

The village has been under boil-water advisory since February, when small amounts of coliform bacteria were found in its pipes.

But with clear samples taken last month, it’s just a matter of time before Interior Health lifts the cautionary notice.

“You have to put those boiling notices out because of people with compromised health,” said Montrose councillor Don Duclos. “And we have some people in this area, we know that, it’s a retirement town so we have to be careful.”

Interior Health recommended a number of actions to rid the water of future bacteria; such as disconnecting redundant piping, sealing gaps between the well head and sole plate, and a disinfection of wells, storage and distribution systems.

Disinfecting the wells in a highly sensitive area required some piping modifications at a cost of about $25,000. The village installed a new set of valves, which control water discharge and ensure complete chlorination of the distribution lines, wells and reservoirs.

“We needed to make some modifications and upgrades down there in order for us to disinfect the wells,” said village administrator Kevin Chartres. “We weren’t able to de-chlorinate, (that) was the problem, so when the wells were full, we couldn’t do it safely without these modifications.”

Montrose has a keen eye on further upgrades to its water system, though not related to water contamination.

The village decided at Monday night’s council meeting to redirect funding originally set aside for replacing wells since they’ve received no indication that they will receive grant funding that will support the approximate $1-million project.

“A rule of thumb is a well lasts from 20-to-50-years so it makes sense that you would be planning to replace a 50-year-old well,” said Chartres, noting the village’s oldest well is 50 years old and the other is about 30. “But I also covered another ground water conference and talked to some people who said they heard of wells that lasted upwards of 80 years. While we should certainly plan for it, it may not be our highest priority at the moment.”

The village’s benchmarked $115,000 will now go toward water-related upgrades, which include a geotech study to review ground settlement at well No. 2 and the reservoirs, a structural study to review reservoir conditions, and a selection and design of a distribution watermain upgrade.

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