Water service in Picton and Bloomfield could return to normal on Thursday

At Wednesday’s press conference at Shire Hall, municipal staff told the media that water service to Picton and Bloomfield could return to normal as early as Thursday. MAKALA CHAPMAN/INQUINTE.CA


Water service in Picton and Bloomfield could return to normal on Thursday

PICTON – The Picton water plant is yielding good water samples and municipal staff say the boil-water advisory "could" be lifted on Thursday.

Coun. Barry Turpin, sitting in place of Mayor Robert Quaiff who was not available to attend the meeting, told the media the Picton water plant has been started and all water samples have met the standards for safe and potable drinking water.

“We’re confident in the safety of the water currently being produced by the plant,” he said at Wednesday’s press conference at Shire Hall, adding the water is continuing to be monitored for any residual contaminants.

Although the plant has been restarted, Turpin added it has not been reconnected to the Picton-Bloomfield redistribution water system.

Until the Ministry of the Environment gives city staff official clearance, the plant cannot be reconnected to the redistribution system, said Turpin.

As for why there has been a delay in receiving clearance despite the plant yielding positive results, city staff said it all comes down to dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

“The Ministry wants to take the necessary time to review our monitoring and sampling processes and protocols and consult with their internal advisors,” said Robert McAuley, commissioner of engineering, development and works for Prince Edward County.

But he added he anticipates the ministry will give the go-ahead by the end of Wednesday.

As for the financial consequences of this incident, the next steps are being taken to address the issue, said the Chief Administrative Officer of Prince Edward County, James Hepburn.

“I’m actually meeting with our lawyers later today to start that process and obviously we will be making claims against various people who are responsible for the incident,” he said. “We will also be determining whether or not we’ll be applying for emergency funding through the provincial government as well.”

McAuley said he had a brief conversation with the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit and it was understood that there shouldn’t be a need for residents to flush their pipes.

“The results indicate that there’s no contaminates in the system," he said. "There’s no bacteria in the system and there’s nothing to be afraid of in the system. If the resident feels they want to, that’s up to them.”

Water-hauling efforts will continue for the remainder of the day with the expectation that normal operations will resume by Thursday.

“This means that the boil-water advisory, while still in effect, could be lifted sometime tomorrow,” he said.

The bulk water distribution unit remains available for public use at the Wellington District Community Centre.

On top of that, the municipality will continue to provide free 10 litre jugs to residents, which can be picked up at the Picton Fire Hall. Households will be limited to two jugs per day.

The barge that sunk on March 24, causing contaminants to leak into Picton Bay and subsequently forcing a boil-water advisory, has been moved to Kingston until the weather improves said Turpin. He added that it would eventually make its way back to Toronto.

Another press conference will be held on Thursday at Shire Hall at 3 p.m. where Turpin said he anticipates “a good news story for everybody.”

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