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Testing reveals few issues with Woolwich’s drinking water

The thousands of tests of Woolwich’s drinking water done each year typically turn up only a handful of minor incidents. For 2012, that number was up marginally over the year before.

Most of the minor non-compliance issues were resolved simply by flushing the affected areas with freshly chlorinated water.

The numbers for 2012 were reported to township council Tuesday night.

Woolwich crews test eight water systems daily. Their work is backed up by regular testing by Region of Waterloo technicians.

Last year, there were three occurrences in the Elmira/St. Jacobs system, down from four in 2011. There was one occurrence reported in Heidelberg, the same as the year before. In the case in Maryhill’s two systems, there were two occurrences, up from one in 2011, while the two systems in Conestogo reported one issue instead of two. West Montrose also had a clean record, as it did a year earlier.

The issues in the Elmira/St. Jacobs system involved two readings of low chlorine and one of elevated total coliform levels. In each instance, the problem was resolved by flushing of the system, reported director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley.

Where lead was found in samples, it may be traced back to the pipes or repairs with lead soldering found in an individual home: among the township’s tests are samples taken from customers’ faucets.

As with lowered chlorine levels, issues were more likely to develop in parts of the systems with dead-end pipes, where water doesn’t move around as often as in the typical looped areas.

In such cases, the incidents don’t mean the water is unsafe, simply that there is a technical issue that was quickly remedied, Kennaley explained.

Improved testing routines and work on the distribution systems themselves – such as eliminating dead-ends where water might stand – are ongoing to address compliance issues.

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