STELLARTON – Water fountains have been bagged off at area schools and bottled product is now the beverage of choice at homes and businesses in Stellarton and Riverton where the Town of Stellarton’s water comes out of the taps.
At Valley View Villa large orders of water have become the norm as those working and living in Stellarton are still living with a boil order that was put in effect last week.
“Signs are put up and bottled water is put in place for staff and students for consumption and for cooking,” said Chignecto Central Regional School Board spokesperson Debbie Buott Matheson.
Because of some pre-existing problems, students at W.A. MacLeod had already been drinking bottled water but G.R. Saunders has also been switched as the school board aligns itself with the orders put out by the Department of Environment.
Because their dishwashers operate at a high temperature, they do not need to use boiled water for dishwashing.
Emily MacEachern, administrator at Valley View Villa, said they are boiling water to wash the pots and other dishes that won’t fit in the dishwasher, but are able to wash the other dishes as normal.
“Our dishwasher is industrial and has a chemical sanitizer so we don’t have to boil that water,” she said. “We’re quite lucky.”
It was a scramble at first, but they’ve also found a steady supply of water.
“It’s a bit of a challenge but the staff have met the challenge and the residents are being very considerate as well for the inconvenience,” she said.
She said having drinkable water is something that people have come to take for granted because it’s always there.
“When it’s not we really notice the convenience of having a tap,” she said.
Tony Addis, town engineer, said they are hoping to have the water approved for consumption without the boil order by Nov. 7.
The reservoirs have been returned to full capacity and after a cleaning of the system, he believes they should be able to produce enough clean water to meet the demands. The membranes that are causing the problem are expected to be replaced next spring.
During a water meeting earlier this week, the boil order and related issues were discussed at length.
Members of the water commission recommended that a full-time operator be put in place at the treatment facility.
Member Bob Funke was in favour of this.
“I have over 30 years experience working in water treatment plants across the province, big and small,” he said. “This is by far the biggest plant that does not have a dedicated water treatment operator that I’ve seen.”
Members also discussed the need for a better plan for notifying the public when a boil order does go into effect.
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