GROUNDWATER ARTICLE – PORTLAND
On Monday June 2, 2014, the Township was provided a recently published academic journal article which sampled groundwater in the Village of Portland. On receipt, the Township forwarded the article to the Medical Officer of Health at the Lanark Leeds and Grenville Health Unit. The Health Unit are the local experts in supporting safe drinking water. Given the wider public interest in safe drinking water, the Township is posting the article here - see Anthropogenic Impacts on a Bedrock Aquifer at the Village Scale (PDF). The Township will provide updates using this notice (below) as information becomes available.
THE TOWNSHIP HAS NOT BEEN ADVISED OF ANY SPECIFIC MEASURES THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN BY RESIDENTS AT THIS TIME
QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS about drinking water should be directed to the Health Unit's Community Health Protection Department at 613-345-5685
UPDATE#1 - June 2nd 09:30 The Township will have a meeting with the Medical Officer of Health on June 3rd @ 2pm to review the article and its findings and gain direction on next steps.
UPDATE#2 - June 2nd 17:15 The Health Unit has verified there is no local higher incidence of reported health concerns related to drinking water. The Health Unit will be working with the Ministry of the Environment to review the research article's findings. The Health Unit is the contact for questions or to get information if you have concerns about well water. The Heath Unit number is 613-345-5685. The Health Unit is developing an information flyer. It will be available tomorrow. (Amended June 4th @ 2:10 at request of Health Unit to clarify data available)
UPDATE # 3 – June 4th 16:30 The Health Unit has released an Information Sheet. It can be accessed here: Drinking Water Safety Sheet (PDF). Township staff will be delivering the Information Sheet door to door to all residences and businesses in the village of Portland as defined in the Township Official Plan starting at 08:30 tomorrow (June 5th).
Update # 4 - June 6th 16:00 - The Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Stewart, advised
that she had an opportunity to speak with one of the paper's authors this
afternoon to review the paper. The discussion highlighted important details
which provide context to the results and statements made in the paper. She
noted the wells used in the paper to collect water samples were different from
domestic wells. So the results are not strictly comparable. Further, data that
the Health Unit has on wells that have been monitored extensively over the last
several years in Portland show no bacterial contamination in the raw (untreated)
water. The quality of water from a domestic well is highly dependant on how it
is constructed and maintained. A detailed statement will be released next week.
Update # 5 - June 10th 16:00 - Dr. Stewart, the Medical Officer of Health, has
released a statement following on her review of the matter with one of the
paper's authors and the Ministry of the Environment. The statement can be read
here. The Township continues to strongly encourage all residents on private
wells, regardless of where they live, to develop and implement a regular well
water testing program. Knowledge, testing and maintenance are the keys to
supporting safe drinking water from privately owned wells. The Health Unit can
be contacted at 613 345 5785 for advice and resources to assist residents in
testing their water. See the June 10 Memo to Residents of Portland (PDF)
Update # 6 – June 23rd 13:00 – The following general question was asked. It was reviewed by Dr. Stewart and the response below was provided.
Q: "If I have tested my well water through the Health Unit and it has not come back with adverse results, is my well water safe to drink?"
A: The best way to assess if your water is safe to drink is to do repeated testing. So if you have been routinely testing your well water and the results are OK, and it comes back this time with no bacterial contamination then you can safely drink it. If this is the first time you are testing your well water, or if you have had an adverse result and made some adjustments, then the Public Health Unit recommends a series of three samples taken one to two weeks apart to determine your water quality and stability of your water supply. You can find more information at:
Update # 7 – July 9th 13:00 – Following from the July 7th meeting of Council, the Mayor and Council have asked the Ministry of the Environment, Queen’s University and the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Health Unit to provide a thorough review of all past and ongoing research, culminating in a joint report, and to engage with the public in this regard. A copy of the letter sent to those parties can be read here: Letter from Mayor Ron Holman - July 7, 2014 (PDF).
Update # 8 – August 6th 16:30 – Following from the August 5th meeting of Council, the Mayor and Council have asked the Ministry of the Environment, Queen’s University and the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Health Unit to provide an update following on the July 7th, 2014 letter of the Township (see update #7 above). A copy of the letter sent to those parties can be read here: (PDF). Letter from Mayor Ron Holman - August 5, 2014 (PDF)
Update # 9 – August 11th 17:00 – At their meeting today Council received a letter from the Ministry of the Environment outlining the results of Ministry’s review following on the Township’s letters of July 7th and August 5th (see updates #7 and #8 above). A copy of the Ministry’s letter can be read here: Letter to Mayor Holman (PDF). Council has directed that a response be provided outlining continued concerns. The response letter will be posted as soon as it is available.
Update # 10 - August 12th 15:00 - Following on Council's Municipal Services Committee meeting of August 11th, and the correspondence received from the Ministry of the Environment (see update # 9), the Township has issued a response to the Ministry. A copy of the response letter can be read here: Letter from Mayor Holman (PDF).
Update # 11 – October 31st 9:00 – The Ministry of the Environment will be hosting an information session at the Portland Community Hall on November 26th from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Representatives from the Health Unit, Queens University and the RVCA will also be in attendance to discuss the ongoing matter and address questions from the community. A copy of the notice can be read here: Portland Groundwater Information Session (PDF).
UPDATE # 12 – December 11th 14:00 – Following the public information session hosted by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) on November 26th in the village of Portland (see update #11) the Mayor has issued the following letter: Letter from Mayor Holman, December 11, 2014 (PDF).
UPDATE # 13 – February 3rd 13:00 – Following the Mayor’s letter of December 11th 2014 (see update #12) the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has issued the following response. : Response from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. Febuary 3, 2015 (PDF)
UPDATE # 14 – March 20th 13:00 – Following the Mayor’s letter of December 11th 2014 (see update #12) the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has issued the following summary of the November 26th meeting in Portland: Summary of Meeting in Portland, November 26 2014. (PDF)
UPDATE # 15 – March 31st 13:00 – Following the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s summary of the November 26th meeting in Portland (see update #14), the Mayor has issued the following response: Portland Groundwater March 30th (PDF)
UPDATE # 16 – June 2nd 14:00 – Following the Mayor’s letter of March 30th (see update #15) the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has issued the following response: Ministry June 1st Response(PDF)
Statement from the Medical Officer of Health – June 4th, 08:30
Dear Mayor Holman,
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is pleased to provide guidance to the Rideau Lakes Council in response to a recent research paper on the bedrock aquifer in and around Portland. We will be providing a fact sheet on well water and septic system safety that can be distributed to the residents. Residents can also obtain information about well water from the Health Unit website at www.healthunit.org/water/. The Health Unit will also review the research paper with the Ministry of the Environment and one of the authors of the research paper, and will prove further clarification of the implications of the research to yourself and Rideau Lake's residents. To put the paper into context we will review other information that is available about the quality of the well water in Portland. Residents can also review the water sampling results of their own wells to assess its water quality history. We will continue to work with Council to ensure the residents have the information they need to ensure their well water is safe to drink.
Dr. Paula Stewart
Medical Officer of Health
Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit June 3, 2014