Thursday, January 18, 2018


I expect that the following example of local government propaganda is more ubiquitous than unique. I mostly do not blame our local media for aiding and abetting it as they view their jobs as reporting honestly that which they see and hear. Also most media thankfully do have their own Editorials as well as Opinion pieces from their own staff or external writers. Often it is in these opinion pieces that we can see a broader background and context to various government initiatives, proposals, pending legislation and quite bluntly propaganda.

Today's Woolwich Observer, on page 5, has a small article titled "West Montrose wells to close". The Region of Waterloo have been diluting the four wells located in the floodplain of the Grand River, with incoming tanker truck loads of water for many years. Allegedly there was a lack of supply from those wells which makes exactly zero sense. The shallow wells are located approximately 150 feet from the Grand River and are hydraulically connected to it. In fact during high water flows these same wells are actually submerged with river water. I personally lived within sight of the Grand River in West Montrose for a decade and never did the Grand even come close to drying up in droughts or otherwise. This of course was at least partly due to the presence of the Shand Dam upstream at Belwood lake.

There is and has been for a long time a program by the Region of Waterloo (& others) to encourage the use of tap water versus the use of bottled water. Indeed there are a number of environmental reasons as to why bottled water is problematic including the huge amounts of waste plastic generated by single use portions of water. Unfortunately these programs under government control tend to ignore or gloss over significant issues with tap water due to the fact that it is governments who provide tap water to citizens. Chlorine use as a disinfectant is one of them. Chlorine effectively kills most harmful bacteria as well as some but not all viruses. Unfortunately chlorine is recognized as a powerful carcinogen and it combines with organic material in water to produce many harmful by-products of the disinfection process such as Trihalomethanes (THM), Haloacetic Acids (HAA), NDMA and more.

The case of the decades old water supply in West Montrose however is a different case. While often water treatment in Waterloo Region produces levels of chlorine, chloramine, THMs and HAA at problematic levels; the real longtime issue in West Montrose has been the horrible location of the raw water supply, namely the four river wells. They are subject to both high bacteria levels from the river as well as being downgradient from the septic systems in the West Montrose subdivision. Hence the raw water has had very high levels of bacteria including E.Coli on occasion which is what killed seven and injured hundreds or more in Walkerton 18 years ago. This is the real reason that the Region of Waterloo have decided to finally replace the river wells and avoid another potentially fatal outbreak of E.Coli here in Ontario.

Today's Observer relates the Region's story that the closure of the wells in West Montrose is due to "reliability" issues as in reliability of supply. I have spoken in Woolwich council in years past about the dangerous West Montrose water supply as well as here in the Advocate. The Region simply count upon citizens not wanting to believe that their governments are often slow or negligent in looking out for their wellbeing. This is but one of those cases.


  1. Did your favorite Ministry o the groundwater and well water quality sampling to verify this?

  2. The results are posted every spring on the Region of Waterloo's website. They are part of the Annual Drinking Water Reports mandated by the province after the 2000 Walkerton disaster.

  3. So does the Region sample or MOECC?

  4. Or do they hire a consultant. Either way I question the results based on protocol of sampling and reputation and whether it would stand up in court as opposed to MOECC.

  5. I'm talking the results of the raw water not the treated water. The raw water is horrible and as per the O'Connor Commission after Walkerton, municipalities need to have clean water from the ground, through the treatment system and into the distribution system. In other words there need to be multi layers of protection from the very beginning to the end.

  6. Alan why would I question treated water results based on my environmental career and my passion for what happens in the field or our natural environment?