Thursday, May 31, 2018

OVERVIEW OF THE REGION OF WATERLOO'S ANNUAL REPORTS



Firstly the highlights or improvements: The second page describes the drinking water system. For example it lists the names and the numbers of wells in the particular system. Then it describes the actual manner of disinfection (bacteria removal) for the wells whether an Ultarviolet system or sodium hypochlorite or ammonium sulphate combined with sodium hypochlorite . Any unusual expenses during the year are listed and itemized. These reports advise us as to how much of the year individual wells may have been shut down. Lead testing is done and concentrations listed. Under Organic parameters my suggestion of several years ago has finally been implemented which was to show Haloacetic Acids (HAA).

The problems or inadequacies with these reports. Firstly still not enough organic parameters. There are way too many ubiquitous solvents in our groundwater which for some reason the Region don't want to test for. This includes, Toluene, Xylenes and NDMA. There are lots more. Organic testing for parameters is not always done every year. That is ridiculous. Every two to three years simply means that a problem such as a major spill nearby will go unnoticed longer. A description of the location of the wells would be nice. Why shouldn't citizens know which wells are nearest them and for example be able to keep an eye out in their neighbourhood for spills or leaks that could affect their drinking water? The depth and the aquifer the well is screened in would be helpful. If a bedrock well it could explain a slightly sulpher smell in the water for example.

This one is huge. So well W47 was offline for 34 weeks in 2021. WHY? Tell us why our drinking wells are shutdown while we are on water restrictions please. Was it a mechanical breakdown or is there a plume of benzene approaching the well. If the well is toast forever then tell us. Don't just keep repeating for five or six years that it is offline and then finally tell us it has been decommissioned without telling us the reason why.

Give the public the standards or criteria please. This includes standards for the products of disinfection such as chlorine residuals, chloramine concentrations, Halaoacetic Acids and Trihalomethanes. Simple exceedances yes or no are imprecise. Are we constantly drinking water that is on the razor's edge of exceeding the health standards or is there a significant margin of safety? The same thing should go for the organic parameters whether benzene, trichloroethylene or Glyphosate (Round Up) in our drinking water.

Some of the Region's Annual Reports have the concentration numbers for HAA and THMs. Far too many don't and refer you elsewhere. That is a cop out and most of us won't find them. If you want, put them in both spots but quit effectively hiding them.

These changes would be a very good start. As they currently are it is far too easy for marginal quality wells to be kept in the system for far too long and these reports effectively hide their shortcomings for most readers.

1 comment:

  1. W4 shut down in 2021? Correct the date please. I also wonder if budgets limit the organic parameters being tested as you wanted done each year? And all the public are concerned about is yes or no for the water quality. Very few would be interested or understand the various limits. And finally what you are also proposing is a report that is organized presentation wise when reporting parameter results. This I totally agree with.

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