Residents awaiting solution to water woes

Andrew Wagstaff
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Town planning to have issue resolved in coming weeks

PARRSBORO – Town staff hope to have the issue of discoloured water in one part of town resolved in the coming weeks, although fed-up residents who have been dealing with the matter for several years are a tad skeptical.

King Street residents Derek Trottier (left) and Keith Taylor are among several who have been experiencing problems with discoloured water for several years. Here they show filters Trottier has on his water tank – the white one is brand new, and the brown one has been used for only two months.

Several King Street residents have been pleading with town hall for years to fix their problem of brown water, which has ruined clothing, led them to buy bottled drinking water, and caused much frustration.

“I’d just like to have clean water,” said Marylynn Goguen. “It’s one of those things. I’m diabetic, and I drink a lot of water. I have to think maybe I’m, not doing myself any favours by drinking this.”

The Goguen family has experienced the problem of discoloured water off and on since they moved into their King Street home 14 years ago.

Their neighbour, Keith Taylor, said he has been noticing it for the past six years, both at his home, and at the schools, where he works as a custodian. He said the problem comes and goes, and you can only guess whether the water will be brown or not.

“When you turn on the tap on some mornings, it’s brown,” he said. “If it sits too long in the toilet, the toilet turns brown. Right now, it’s good. You just never know.”

His neighbor, Anne Trottier, has ruined various towels and pieces of white clothing due to the discoloured water.

When these residents then have to pay their water bill of more than $80 per quarter, their frustration grows.

The residents can only hypothesize as to what the cause of the problem is. Taylor thinks the town’s water lines in that area are old and need replaced. Goguen said the water seems to get worse depending on usage level, such as if there is increased activity at the nearby arena. Trottier said it seems to be weather-related.

“If there is a storm, you don’t dare wash your clothes for a week,” she said.

The problem seems to be spreading to nearby Smith Avenue, where residents of the seniors complex there have presented a letter of complaint to deputy mayor Lisa Ward, along with samples of laundry ruined by the water. Taylor, Trottier and Goguen have been doing the same thing for years.

“The last time I went in, they told me it would be fixed in two weeks,” said Taylor. “That was two years ago.”

Council discussed the issue at its Feb. 25 monthly session, and agreed to proceed immediately to obtain requests for proposals to install a stop-valve in the King Street water line, which has been recommended by engineers as a possible solution to the problem.

“It is hoped that the installation of this device will also help to improve the quality of water at the seniors’ complex, however, if it fails to do so the council will look at other options,” said Ward.

The stop valve was recommended, as it will prevent the two-way flow of water in the area’s water line, according to CAO Ray Hickey.

“From everything we could tell, by consulting our engineers and other communities, it really seems to be the qualities of that water line and the circulation of it,” he said. “There are two water lines feeding one line, creating a situation. Generally you want circular flow, but having the two lines means you can get water switching direction.

“If we can stop the water and make sure it only goes in one direction, it should hopefully clear up the issue,” he added.

Taylor has his doubts about the stop valve solution, but just wants anything to be tried.

“I’d just like to see them fix it, whatever it takes,” he said.

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Geographic location: King Street, Several King Street, Smith Avenue

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