Skip to content

It's up to Puslinch private well owners to deal with stinky water

An odour can form when microbes and bacteria breakdown sulfur
Private well on Susan Fielding's property on Fielding Lane south of the 401.

PUSLINCH - Sample results are in but the water in Puslinch is still stinky and private well owners are told it is their responsibility to treat their water.

“The results show odour causing organics were detected in untreated well water,” said in an update from the Township of Puslinch website with information provided by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP).

The results were received July 19 from samples taken on July 11.

The odour can be produced when microbes and bacteria breakdown sulfur and can also include algae and fungus. “The presence of these compounds in water causes a bad odour or taste in tap water,” said in the update.

It isn’t likely there was a chemical spill or ditch drainage on Highway 6 because it couldn't penetrate the bedrock due to the thickness of ground where the water is drawn from, the update continued.

If the odour does continue MECP suggests contacting a water specialist for treatment. It is the responsibility of the residents to investigate and treat their private well water the MECP said in the update. 

Matthew Carrine who lives on Highway 6 is still being impacted by the stinky water. He and his family haven’t drunk the water or showered in it.

“They’re not also saying whether it’s safe to drink or not. They won’t make that determination. We’ll never hear them say that,” said Carrine, referring to MECP.

The MECP suggests if homeowners identify a health issue they should contact Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

Carrine is going to push for more answers from MECP. “If there was something that was in the realm of your responsibility what would you have done? And can you do it?” Carrine is planning to ask.

As for the smell “it ebbs and flows,” said Carrine. “It could be just a hint at one point and then by the next morning it’s punching you in the face.”

To handle the water odour Carrine is considering a couple options. He might have an ultrafiltration system installed to remove contaminants. The cost he said is between $12,000 to $15,000. The other option is to add a carbon filter. It also removes contaminants.

If he spends money with the options he has and the problem doesn’t go away, Carrine said he can’t sell his house with stinky water.

Susan Fielding, who lives on Fielding Lane south of the 401, didn’t want to give too many thoughts on the MECP results until results from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) came in. She said MTO also conducted tests.

She is relieved the MECP results didn’t show any signs of harsh chemicals which she was the most worried about.

Fielding hasn’t been drinking the water since the smell started. “It’s going to be really hard for me personally to drink that water again,” she said.

Any sense of safety she had with the water has gone away.

Fielding is hoping to get together with her neighbours this weekend to figure out where they go from here.


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
Read more