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Almost 100 residents sign petition demanding clean water in Arthur

But CAO Brooke Lambert says the township's drinking water systems currently operate in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act

ARTHUR ‒ Almost 100 residents have signed a petition demanding improved water quality in Arthur as they brace for the impacts of new development and anticipated growth. 

An Arthur resident for almost 15 years, Josh Heiliger doesn't believe his family should have to fill and drain their bathtub multiple times just to achieve "a semblance of cleanliness."

That's why he's created a survey demanding "clean fresh water" after over a decade of personal struggles with "dirty, discoloured water" which Heiliger claims stains clothes during laundry and damages appliances, leaving him afraid of "potential longterm effects on both his family's health and appliances."

"Our daily routines are marred by the poor quality of water provided to us," said Heiliger in the survey. "From bathing our eight-month-old son to washing our clothes and preparing meals – every aspect is affected." 

As of Friday 92 residents have signed the petition. One commenter said fixing Arthur's water issue is "long overdue," with others detailing similar issues with stained laundry, discoloured sediment, and health concerns. 

"(Our water) is already an issue and they just keep on building," said the survey comment. "I would never have moved here if I knew of (the situation) beforehand."

But CAO Brooke Lambert said the township's drinking water systems currently operate in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and its applicable regulations, and the water quality "surpasses" the requirements of the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards. 

"We seek to balance the needs of the existing community while understanding that Arthur is an attractive community for new residents," said Lambert, in an emailed statement. "We are looking at sustainable ways to support that growth as directed within the Provincially mandated framework for planning decisions."

According to Lambert, water discolouration is caused by activities in the water distribution system, such as construction activities or firefighting and notices are posted on the township's website and social media when activities are planned.

In terms of concerns about additional growth, Lambert said the township is working on expanding the water supply and distribution system. 

The township is currently working on an environmental assessment for a new water supply, as well as water storage in Arthur.

"Council has been committed to replacing old sections of watermain throughout the Arthur water distribution system and has completed numerous reconstruction projects to improve the drinking water system for all residents," said Lambert. "It is hoped that some of this work will also help address the concerns of existing residents." 

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

About the Author: Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Isabel Buckmaster covers Wellington County under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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