Mapleton water operator backs the quality of the town's drinking water

·3 min read

MAPLETON – The Township of Mapleton’s water operator has defended their operation as safe but accepted some improvements can be made to the system.

The Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA), the largest water and wastewater operator in Canada, delegated to Mapleton council Tuesday evening to clarify some findings from a recent meeting.

OCWA is the operator of Mapleton’s water systems as well as nearby Wellington North, Shelburne and Grand Valley among other municipalities.

At a meeting in March, a report from CIMA+ recommended $1.8 million in repairs being immediately necessary at the Drayton and Moorefield water facilities.

Pictures that accompanied the report showed corrosion present on equipment and seemingly poor condition of the pumphouses.

Natalie Baker, from OCWA, highlighted the strict regulatory framework that governs drinking water that was put in place after the Walkerton E. Coli outbreak in 2000.

Water samples showed both facilities had perfectly safe drinking water.

“Both the Drayton and Moorefield drinking water systems had no exceedances over the maximum acceptable concentrations listed for any of the samples required in this report,” Baker said. “The overall meaning of a report like this is the quality of water delivered to residents is excellent.”

Baker also addressed specific concerns raised by council and residents regarding the CIMA+ report from the previous meeting.

She said a pump that was found to not be working was actually replaced by two other pumps nearly 20 years ago and is not required to operate the facility for the time being.

Pressure gauges also found not to be working are redundant because the system is automated and a standpipe is not leaking upon further inspection.

Baker said OCWA supports the overall long term capital plans presented by CIMA+ and they look forward to working with them on future water and wastewater projects.

Coun. Michael Martin said he appreciated the clarification on some things and admitted the pictures from the last report were more troubling than they turned out to be.

He suggested making the facility look better by dealing with the corrosion would put people at ease.

“Our water is safe, we know it’s safe...let’s just make it look like it’s safe,” Martin said.

Baker said she understood this point and they could look into painting equipment to enhance the appearance.

“In the water and wastewater industry, corrosion is something we continually fight against,” Baker said. “I understand the perception, how it can look when some valve has corrosion on it.”

Coun. Marlene Ottens asked if the $1.8 million repair bill can be revised based on what was presented today.

CAO Manny Baron said they have asked CIMA+ to come back with what is absolutely necessary for the future.

Coun. Paul Douglas suggested moving forward OCWA should review reports from CIMA+ ahead of time rather than having to come do a rebuttal.

Mayor Gregg Davidson said this was a good idea and echoed Martin’s point of having a good visual of clean water.

Council accepted the presentation as information.

Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com