Frustration mounts in Quebec town under boil water advisory for 3 months
Nick Wells, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, January 8, 2017 9:55PM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 9, 2017 9:31AM EST
Residents of a Quebec town are speaking out about an ongoing water crisis that has left the them under a boil water advisory for three months.
The town of Ormstown, located near the U.S. border with New York, had its water supply infected with coliphage, a harmful bacteria, rendering tap water undrinkable on October 3. The issue has affected more than half the town's residents.
"I have to wash my salads with boiled water or bottled water to eliminate the bacteria and the water," said Marc Hansen, the chef of Le Casa Familial restaurant.
Hansen says the water crisis is cutting into their bottom lines, since he’s been spending $75 to $85 a day on bottled water and ice for his restaurant.
The issue has frustrated several restaurant owners.
"Sometimes customers come into the restaurant and they want water out of the tap and you just can't give it to them," said Christine Olendrowicz, the owner of Musique Gigzz Resto.
The town needs to install a new water chlorination system to meet tougher environmental standards, a consequence of the E. coli outbreak in Walkerton, Ont. that led to seven deaths in 2000.
The water supply in Walkerton became contaminated with 0157:H7 strain of E. coli due to farm runoff into a water well.
"Ever since Walkerton, ministries of the environment across North America are being very particular for good reason - they want to protect public health," said Philip Toone, Ormstown's general manager.
Toone says the new system will be able to provide precise measurements of chlorine in the water system and kill any bacteria present.
However, the new system won't be installed until the spring, leaving residents frustrated about the extra costs they're facing.
"For the safety of my customers, I have to keep doing it," said Hansen.
With a report from CTV Montreal's Aalia Adam