Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Water, water everywhere, but I wouldn't take a drink

After two weeks in Ontario, I received an email from the Mount Allison university mailing list on Thursday evening warning me that my community of Sackville was under a boil water order. Apparently there had been a water main break. Yesterday, I received another email from the university, letting me know that there was another boil water order, because there was a breakdown in the town's chlorination system.

I know that I complain a great deal about the amenities of a small town, which is at least in part a product of having lived in big cities all of my life. The monthly brown water in the town has been the subject of a previous rant. But underlying my sarcasm is real worry. I was at least lucky enough to be on an email list warning me that there was a boil water order, and I got the email before I returned home on Friday. If you don't check the town's website, there appears to be little other means of finding this out. I have heard stories from friends about how they were complaining about the water problem, only to be greeted with blank stares from people who hadn't been told. Small wonder, since neither the CBC nor CTV websites bothered to consider this news. I haven't been noticing signs around town about it either. I worry that we're a hair's breadth away from becoming the next Walkerton. And it really worries me that this same pattern might be replicated elsewhere, with people blissfully drinking contaminated water.

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At 10:15 am, Blogger kasie said...

Well, it was actually on the news when the water main broke last week. And there are signs up in some washrooms around town. There are also town signs posted on all bulletin boards around town.

Now, if you took a moment to embrace small town life, you would also notice that everyone passes on the news to friends and family, whatever the news may be. I for one, love this town. Which is why I moved back. How long are you around for?

At 10:19 am, Blogger Matt said...

Many people may know about the problem, but certainly not everyone - and if you don't come into town that often, you're more likely to have been SOL, as the landlords of my friends were. I am tired of not being able to count on a safe water supply, and will not miss that aspect of this community, although I will miss other aspects of Sackville life.

I'm in town for one more month, and then it's off to Ontario, to a community that bottles its tap water for sale throughout the country.

At 6:53 pm, Blogger shawn.day said...

On the other hand...nice to have water brown or otherwise...wait until the long dry days of summer in Guelph ;-)


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