Thursday, December 21, 2017


Today's Woolwich Observer carries a very small article titled "Water woes see Maryhill petition". Apparently this matter was discussed at last Tuesday's Council meeting. Unfortunately it was not apparent within the Agenda which comes out prior to the Council meetings or I would have attended. The Observer article suggests that taste is the problem and that reducing the chlorine levels will alleviate the problem. This may or may not do the trick.

Back on October 5, 2017 the Woolwich Observer also published an article titled "Township welcomes move as region simplifies water treatment process". This article inaccurately advised readers that the backwards step of replacing chloramination with straight chlorination was an improvement. In fact almost all experts, including the Region of Waterloo many years ago, advise just the opposite. Chloramination both reduces the by-product production of longterm toxic THMs (trihalomethanes) but it also stabilizes and prolongs anti-bacterial chlorine residuals in the water. If one reads the October 5/17 article carefully you will notice the talking out of both sides of the mouth by the Region's manager of water operations. She states at the end of the article that adverse chloramine results (ie. too high or > 3.0 mg/litre) aren't a cause for concern and quickly resolved. Then in the very next sentence she is quoted as saying that one of the benefits of removing chloramination is the elimination of adverse results for chloramine. Come on now, this gives me the very strong impression that she is trying too hard to put a positive spin on this.

Here in the Elmira Advocate I posted my concerns with the Maryhill Water Systems back on April 9,2014, April 10, 2014 and March 31, 2015. My concerns included a lack of THM readings being included in these reports as well as high chloramine residuals. Also raw water turbidity was a concern as murky, discoloured water can reduce the effectiveness of bacteria treatment and removal.

There are a number of possible reasons for the unpleasant taste in Maryhill's water. Excessive chlorine is but one possible cause. It could also be excessive THMs which is both a health and taste issue. Or once again perhaps the turbidity of the raw water is a problem. There have been expensive shutdowns and upgrades to two of the Maryhill wells in recent years. A clear indication as to the reasons for that might be helpful. Also the October 5/17 Observer article suggested that there were either or supply/pressure problems with those two wells. This might indicate that the turbidity was caused by pumping those wells down to low and drawing in sediment etc..

It is my opinion that the Region are doing what they do best and that is selling an inferior water treatment system as state of the art, world class etc.. They did this for years with the third world West Montrose system and I am still amazed that there wasn't (to my knowledge) a major health crisis over that. The only good news is the lack of bacteria analysed in recent years in the Maryhill raw water.


  1. Ever thought of starting off with the good news about the bacteria levels and than get into your article on taste. Bacteria to me is the main issue.

  2. Bacteria especially E.Coli and Coliforms can be an acute life and death matter. THMs, NDMA as a by-product of Chloramines as well as cancer from excessive chlorine residuals are long term, health issues which can contribute to death. They are more insidious and harder to pinpoint than E.Coli but nevertheless just as deadly in the long run.

  3. So can drinking and so can smoking contribute to death and eating good rich deserts or even the air we breath let alone the water we drink. So are we safe at all??

  4. Nope we're not safe at all. Nobody gets out of this life alive. My personal preference is being shot by a jealous husband when I'm 90 years old.

  5. I will mention that to Betty!!