• James Armstrong

Solution to potable water woes on the horizon for some Vaudreuil-Dorion residents


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

The end is in sight for long-standing signs of the times concerning potable water for Vaudreuil-Dorion’s Tree Farm, Hudson Acres, and the neighborhood served by the Ritchie Well.

Residents in Vaudreuil-Dorion’s District 4 that are currently supplied water from the Ritchie Well were invited to a public information meeting on Wednesday, February 8 at the Centre Multisport. Normandie, Concorde and Rosalie streets demark the residential sector in question.

The good news is that a solution to their contaminated water problem is on its way. It is an extension of the installation of a new water main that will connect them to theVaudreuil-Dorion municipal water treatment system.

Making that connection requires the installation of a new water main along route Harwood from the Como pumping station to the Hudson Acres pumping station. The cost of the project is estimated at $2 million with half subsidized by a provincial grant. The remaining $1 million will be covered by a long-term loan by-law. Residents will be consulted in the near future regarding the loan repayment plan. As outlined in the presentation, they have the choice of either a 20 or 30-year plan. In either case, the amount will be added to their municipal tax bill.

Mayor Guy Pilon chaired the meeting flanked by District 4 Councillor Céline Chartier, and Water Services Director Christian Gendron. Also present were Technical Division Head Sylvain Charland and Director Olivier Van Neste from the Department of Development and Land Use Planning for the city.

The mayor said although the presentation was in French, residents were welcome to ask questions in English and they would receive an answer in that language.

“This is the same presentation that was made to residents in Hudson Acres,” said Gendron as he began the slideshow. Although intended for residents served by the Ritchie Well, Hudson Acres and Tree Farm residents were welcome to attend the presentation.

History

Gendron presented the history of the potable water problem starting with tests of the water from the Hudson Acre wells in October, 2013, that revealed the presence of enterococcus bacteria (a bacteria that resembles streptococci). Although a disinfection system was in use, the system didn’t provide potable water that met the provincial norms adopted in 2001. The result was a city-issued boil water advisory for the affected area.

In April 2014, a camera inspection of the wells revealed they had been perforated. Two filters, one a ‘before’ example and an ‘after’ example provided a visual of the level of contamination. “We were changing filters every three hours,” said Gendron. The city responded by distributing bottled drinking water to residents affected by the contamination.

Proposed solutions

Following a meeting with Hudson Acres’ residents in April 2015, to discuss possible solutions – either new wells or new water mains – the city held a survey on the subject. The result of the survey was heavily in favour of connecting to the municipal water system.

The water contamination situation in the area serviced by the Ritchie Well escalated in early 2016 and the city responded by distributing bottled water to the residents.

Timeline

The timeline for the project forecasts installation of the new system beginning October 2017. “This is the worst case scenario,” said Mayor Pilon after the presentation adding he hopes all of the steps in the process would move quickly enough to permit an earlier start.

“I think residents are happy to have a permanent solution to the problem,” said Gendron in an interview the following week. He said that there are currently no plans for repurposing the land containing the wells.

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