Bill to give free well-water testing to Islanders passes 3rd reading

·1 min read
The cost of testing drinking water from a well is upwards of $155 per year on P.E.I.   (CBC - image credit)
The cost of testing drinking water from a well is upwards of $155 per year on P.E.I. (CBC - image credit)

A Liberal opposition bill to cover the cost of regular well-water tests on P.E.I. passed its third reading in the legislature last week and could come into effect early next year.

Liberal MLA Hal Perry, who introduced the bill, first started working on it in early 2020.

"It's about safe drinking water for Islanders who live in rural communities," said Perry.

"It's that insurance that what they are drinking out of their well is clean and safe for them and for their family."

Province of P.E.I.
Province of P.E.I.

Perry, MLA for Tignish-Palmer Road, has an office in the Tignish Access P.E.I. location.

"I hear a lot from my constituents who come in to pick up water bottles, or drop off samples to have tested, about the high costs," he said.

The provincial government recommends any Islanders who get their drinking water from a well have the water tested at least once a year, or whenever they notice a change to their water.

The test for water chemistry is $95 plus tax, while the test for E. coli and coliform is $40 plus tax.

The bill ensures there is no charge (a) at least every six months for coliform and E. coli bacteria; and (b) at least every two years for water chemistry.

Perry said those costs can go up if there is an issue discovered with the well. He's heard from people who delay the tests because of the costs.

"Drinking water is something that you don't really see, you just take it for granted," he said.

Perry said the bill is now just waiting for royal assent and could become law in early 2022.

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