Thousands of tests of Woolwich’s drinking water revealed only a handful of incidents last year. The minor non-compliance issues were resolved simply by flushing the affected areas with freshly chlorinated water.
The numbers were reported to township council this week.
Woolwich crews test eight water systems daily. Their work is backed up by regular testing by Region of Waterloo technicians.
Last year, there were six occurrences in the Elmira/St. Jacobs system, the same as in 2009. No occurrences were reported in Heidelberg (none in 2009), as was the case in Maryhill’s two systems (three in 2009). Three incidents were recorded in Breslau (none the previous year), while the two systems in Conestogo reported no issues, the same as 2009. West Montrose had three issues again in 2010.
Four of the issues in the Elmira/St. Jacobs system involved elevated levels of lead. The other two involved higher levels of coliforms.
In each instance, the problem was resolved by flushing of the system, reported director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley.
Where lead was found in samples, it may be traced back to the pipes or repairs with lead soldering found in an individual home: among the township’s tests are samples taken from customers’ faucets.
As with lowered chlorine levels, issues were more likely to develop in parts of the systems with dead-end pipes, where water doesn’t move around as often as in the typical looped areas, he explained.
In such cases, the incidents don’t mean the water is unsafe, simply that there is a technical issue that was quickly remedied, Kennaley noted.
Improved testing routines and work on the distribution systems themselves – such as eliminating dead-ends where water might stand – are ongoing to address compliance issues.