Saturday, March 4, 2017


The Woolwich Observer published the following story this week titled "New line will stabilize regional water services in West Montrose". That title is horse manure as is a good chunk of the story. What is particularily offensive is that the Observer have published more accurate stories in the past regarding the West Montrose system and as well they have attended Woolwich Council meetings two and three years ago in which I presented data and reports indicating raw water quality problems from the four river wells in West Montrose. Furthermore there was even a certain level of support from Woolwich Council two years ago including letters from the Woolwich Engineering Dep't requesting clarification from the Region regarding West Montrose wells as well as requests from the Township for the Region to include more chemical parameters in their water testing such as NDMA, toluene etc..

All that said it was not the specific reporter who wrote this current story who was involved two and three years ago. Nevertheless is their no institutional memory at the Observer? Their part owner Pat Merlihan was two years ago and is a Woolwich Councillor. I would characterize him as being involved and helpful on this matter two years ago.

I personally do not believe for a second that the quantity of water is the problem with the four, shallow West Montrose wells. They are installed in the flood plain of the Grand River possibly fourty or fifty metres from the river itself. I lived for a decade beside the river in West Montrose and it never even came close to running dry. With the Shand Dam (Belwood Lake) upstream at Fergus how could it?
These wells were installed by the developer exactly where they are in order to ensure a reliable supply of water. They are hydraulically connected to the river which is both their strength and weakness. The strength is supply and the weakness is quality. River water inherently has much more bacteria and viruses available to it than groundwater.

Above and beyond that is the unpleasant and distasteful fact that these wells are built downgradient of all the septic systems in West Montrose. Shallow septic systems all flowing via shallow groundwater into the shallow wells along the river. Add to this is the possibility, note I say possibility only, of leaks or discharges from the just upriver trailer camp. There is no municipal septic service, sanitary sewers etc. in West Montrose. It's all private septic systems and or possibly a few holding tanks.

Ontario over the last fifteen to twenty years have become more stringent about installing septic systems anywhere near surface water bodies for very good reason. Grandfathering of older systems is however the norm. The West Montrose raw water supply has been contaminated with bacteria, both Total Coliforms and E.Coli for a very long time. Yes recent upgrades of their treatment system as well as trucked in water have been helpful. The Region of Waterloo took over this system a long time ago and bandaid solutions may or may not have saved lives and health but what has been needed for a very long time is a new source of drinking water that isn't downgradient or cross-gradient from bacteria (viruses?) contaminated sources. Telling West Montrose residents to hold on for another two years of construction isn't good enough. In my opinion it's been a miracle that we haven't had an outbreak of E.Coli or related illness over the years. There have been boil water advisories in the past and on-site (Tallwood Dr.) water treatment issues still occasionally arise. This is not supposed to be a third world country and I truly do not understand the Region's management of the West Montrose water supply.

1 comment:

  1. I thought the exact same when I read it, lies.

    "Currently, when the reservoirs in West Montrose get a little low, the region trucks in water to the village.

    “Historically, the reason we were looking at this is to make sure that we have a long-term sustainable water supply for West Montrose. We have a water treatment plant there, and it is operating, but when demands are more than what the wells can supply, or the demand is greater, that difference is why we need to truck water in,” she said. “We just need a sustainable water supply system. We are operating the plant, but we need to add more water into the system.”"

    When it's low?

    You're driving trucks in 2-4 times a day.. even in the winter!