Saddlebrook resident brings water filter to St. Lazare council


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

During the Tuesday evening council meeting on December 5, St. Lazare resident Paola Irrera holds a one-year-old water filter that was recently replaced at her home to show Mayor Robert Grimaudo the degree of discolouration it had accumulated after one year.

Saddlebrook resident Paola Irrera brought her water filter to St. Lazare council on Tuesday evening, December 5, to show Mayor Robert Grimaudo that her concerns about water discolouration in her area were not frivolous.

Irrera pulled out the dark brown-coloured filter from a plastic bag during question period. She held it up to show the approximately 50 residents in the council chamber and then approached the podium to present it to Grimaudo. He examined it and returned it to Irrera.

“I brought it because when I came to council and raised the issue in the past, I didn’t want people to think my concerns were frivolous. It wasn’t frivolous,” said Irrera. The filter was installed just over one year ago and was replaced with a new filter almost two weeks ago, she said.

Discolouration concern

“The thing is that we’re drinking this water over a long period of time in little doses. We brush our teeth with it, we drink it, we cook with it, we do our laundry with it. Even though it meets government norms, it’s still a concern why the water is coming out this way,” said Irrera.

She also showed council a colour printout of the same water filter used in a house in Pierrefonds during the same one-year time frame. It was substantially less tarnished and had a light brown tint.

High manganese levels

Although the colour of Irrera’s filter may look unappealing because of the concentration of manganese that accumulated in one year, there was never any health concern related to the light brown hue of the water at any time, said Grimaudo.

The constant slight discolouration was due to high manganese levels in the underground water supply. “You do realize there is no health risk regarding the manganese levels in the water,” Grimaudo said. He added that the discolouration in the tap water has now disappeared with the recent installation of a new filtration process.

New filtration process

“We received the Certificate of Authorization from the Ministry of Environment on October 11 to give us permission go ahead with the new injection process into the system. The way the neutralizing agents are injected into the system changed. This helped to clear up the water. We then flushed the system and we’ll see what the results are,” said Grimaudo.

He asked Irrera whether she had noticed a change in the clarity of her tap water based on a newspaper report published on November 30. “In the article that was published in Your Local Journal last week, I believe you’re already seeing a change in your water quality. Am I correct?” asked Grimaudo.

“Yes, I have,” replied Irrera. “I have seen some difference. My toilets are not covered with a film anymore.”

Independent water test

Irrera said she will have her tap water checked by an independent source for reassurance. “We’re going to have the water tested just to see how it is. I’m still seeing a bit of residue in the sinks but it’s looking good. I’m really happy this got the attention it needed. I’m glad this is up front,” said Irrera.

“It’s good that you’ll have it tested by an independent company. That’s fine,” said Grimaudo.

Irrera will also keep her current filter for comparison when she replaces her recently installed filter next year. Grimaudo said it was good idea. “This will be a perfect barometer to see what your filter will look next year with the new system we have in place,” said Grimaudo.

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