From The Gazette

Vaudreuil-Dorion

Boil-water advisory has stretched on for six years

  • Yves Simard shows the yellow tint to water coming from his sink.
    Yves Simard shows the yellow tint to water coming from his sink.
    Photo credit: Navneet Pall/The Gazette

It usually happens when he’s preparing dinner.

For the past six years, Yves Simard has received weekly notices from the city telling him he must boil his water before drinking it.

“They used to send a letter, but I guess that started to get expensive,” Simard said. “Now I get calls with a recorded message.”

Simard isn’t alone. A group of 35 homes in the Domaine en Haut sector, on the eastern edge of the city near St-Lazare, have been on a boil-water advisory since 2006. As a result, many routinely refill water bottles at the homes of friends, neighbours, and relatives.

The situation has caught a few of the newer homeowners off guard.

Jarrod White moved to the area in May. At the time, he was told by the previous homeowner that the boil water advisory was temporary.

When a reporter visited last week, White walked to the bathroom, plugged the drain in his sink and turned on the faucet. He pointed out how the water was yellow and had sediment in it.

“It’s got a kind of slimy feel to it,” he said while rubbing his wet fingers against his thumb. “Good luck keeping your clothes white with this water. Unless we use bleach, everything turns yellow.”

France Lavoie, a spokesperson for Vaudreuil-Dorion, explained the residents of that sector are connected to a well that was found to be contaminated.

She said the city proposed hooking up the homes to another water source, but the residents voted against the plan because it would have cost too much. Residents must bear the cost of the work, because it is considered a local improvement, not something that benefits the entire town.

Last week, the city sent a letter to the Quebec government asking for a subsidy.

“We’re hoping to get something for the residents,” Lavoie said. “Subsidies can go as high as 50 per cent.”

She said it could take between three and six months to hear about a subsidy.

Simard said in the meantime, he’d like to get bottled water, since cities who issue boil water advisories often provide bottled water free of charge. Failing that, he said the city should reduce the tax bills for residents because they are paying for a service they don’t receive: potable water.

Lavoie said the city only provides bottled water for short-term situations, and can’t afford to provide bottled water on a long-term basis. She added that residents are charged for water in their tax bills, because the city does provide them water through a well, which they can use to take showers and wash their clothes.

jmagder@montrealgazette.com
Twitter: @OffIslandNews

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