• James Armstrong

Report says Saint-Lazare potable water supply unaffected by du Fief development


Saint-Lazare’s Town Council Chamber was crowded with residents for the presentation of a recent water well study.

The risk of contamination to Saint-Lazare’s potable water supply by a proposed housing development in the west end of the town known as the du Fief area was described as negligible in a report presented on Tuesday, December 4 at a public information meeting at the Town Hall.

“I think that the original concerns and questions of citizens were met,” said Mayor Robert Grimaudo the following day. “The recommendations made by the report were very good and council will have to take a look at them. We need to look at how manure is stored on the fermettes.” He added that any decisions council takes would have to be integrated into current regulations.

Senior hydrogeological engineer for the company, Jean-Marc Lauzon, presented the report, based on a series of studies carried out by TechnoRem. In its conclusions, the report recommended that landowners install watertight cement containers for manure and waste-water storage and treatment to prevent it from infiltrating the soil.

Area affected by the report

The report summarized the testing and evaluation of three new wells in Saint-Lazare titled P-10, P-11 and P-12 located on the south–east side of town in the chemin Lotbinière area in the vicinity of Parc nature les Forestiers-de-Saint-Lazare. They are fed by the watershed recharge dome situated at a higher elevation in the western part of town that includes the du Fief development project. The three wells in question are not currently connected to the town’s water supply system.

“That’s part of the three-year plan that they will eventually be connected. As of now, we are meeting the water requirements of Saint-Lazare,” said the mayor. Currently, the city has 14 potable water wells in operation.

Private wells in the recharge zone

Pumping tests were carried out on the new wells to measure the effect of pumping water from them over a period of 18 hours. Several residents raised the question as to whether or not the private domestic wells in the recharge zone had been included in the test. Lauzon responded that wells had been tested several kilometres up from the three new wells during pumping tests and were found to be unaffected. He pointed out that one of the new wells flowed at a rate of 800 gallons per minute. “Domestic wells could be affected by a couple of centimetres,” he said, “but private wells produce below one gallon per minute.”

Residents continued to press the point. “This is not a proper hydrological study, in my opinion,” said Patricia Novas. “We need further study of private wells in the recharge area. We are asking for complete hydrology study of the recharge zone, not just three wells.”

“All of the recommendations, questions, and concerns raised will be brought to council,” responded the mayor.

The study also had a regional component. Lauzon noted the new wells would not affect those in use in the neighboring community of Saint-Clet. Lauzon described the aquifers that supply Saint-Lazare as two types: one based in bedrock and the other in a combination of sand, gravel, and clay. He said the search for new water sources with high yield for the town focused on the areas with bedrock.

“There’s sufficient water available for a population of 30,000 to 35,000 residents,” he remarked. According to the report, Saint-Lazare does not suffer from a lack of potable water.

“Saint-Lazare manages its water supply very well,” Lauzon remarked, “It’s one of four or five communities in Quebec that does so.”

“Water is a fundamental necessity. Everything we can do to protect the water supply should be done,” said the mayor. “Saint Lazare is doing everything it can to protect and maintain its water, including its quality.”