Pressure on to reopen well
Oliver Paipoonge, Ont. — If the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge receives the go-ahead, the residents of the 32 households on the Rosslyn Village water system will be able to drink water out of their faucets as early as the end of this week or some time next week.
Residents on the Rosslyn system have been obtaining bottled water from the municipal office for drinking since last week when it was detected that the south well tested above the maximum allowable arsenic content number of .01 milligrams of arsenic per litre.
The north well had already been closed down for the same reason, although the north well has tested under the allowed arsenic levels over the past three months.
The municipality and their well contractor are currently lobbying the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to open the north well in Rosslyn despite having only three months of allowable readings with the minimum being six months of continual acceptable readings under provincial regulations.
If the ministry says no, it will be a minimum of three months before Rosslyn residents on the system can drink from their taps.
“We are certainly hoping this whole thing will be resolved within, I hope, this week that we can at least have them on the north well and they’ll be getting their drinking water back,” said Oliver Paipoonge Mayor Lucy Kloosterhuis, whose municipality had a drinking water advisory put in place by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit on March 9.
“It’s going to take a few days, but it will be much nicer for all of us if that could happen and then we can look at how do we solve this problem from ever happening again.”
Residents who are affected by the drinking water advisory can pick up 16 litres of water per household every second day from the municipal office.
James Migliazza, a Rosslyn resident on the system who has been picking up water every three days, is more concerned about the elder homeowners in the village.
“I’m more concerned about the 80-something-year-old residents that we don’t pick up water for because I don’t think it’s right for them to go and be carrying — each case weighs probably 25 pounds, 30 pounds — so I don’t think it’s right,” Migliazza said. “Basically what (Oliver Paipoonge council) has done, they’ve ran this water treatment well at a deficit for so many years now and have just neglected it to the point where it does need additional funding and they realize that.”
Many Almgren, who moved with her family to Rosslyn just over four years ago, said problems with the water have been ongoing since they moved to the municipality.
“This is the first time (the municipality) has ever given us water,” Almgren said. “Every time we get a boil water advisory, (the municipality) doesn’t supply us with anything. We probably get about four or five a year. They last about a week at a time.
“This is a do-not-consume period. You can’t even boil it. Before, at least we could boil it. . . . We’ve had four major leaks in our pipes and the plummers that have come in have said it’s because of the hard water. It literally ate our pipes.
“We’ve had to put in an insurance claim once, the other one we couldn’t do another insurance claim because we were scared of what insurance could do, so it all came out-of-pocket for all the water damage that it caused.
“And then we had to buy a water softener. So, most of the houses probably had to buy water softeners as well or rent them.”
Kloosterhuis said council and administration is looking towards putting in a new potable water system in the neighbourhood of approximately $500,000 and being funded by the government.
The mayor also said construction work will take place in Rosslyn Village this summer where roadways will be torn up to replace water pipes to the current Rosslyn Village water system that are more than 50 years old.
By John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal