On Monday, August 14, from 10-4, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and City staff will be hosting an open house at the dining hall at the Richmond Fairgrounds (6121 Perth Street, Richmond).
The open house will allow Richmond residents to drop in to ask questions about private well water safety, learn about upkeep, and pick up a water sample test bottle to test your water.
The issue became a lightning rod in the village last week when longtime Royal York Street resident Bert Van Galder was on CTV Ottawa News talking about problems in his well. Van Galder alleged that the problem may be beyond the wells, which have been inspected by Ministry of Environment officials and the City of Ottawa. Officials and inspectors say the problem is isolated.
Concern over the situation prompted a response from Rideau-Jock Councillor David Brown.
“Firstly, contamination of a small number of wells on Royal York Street is localized to this immediate area. There has been no indication or reason to believe that the water in Richmond is unsafe,” wrote Brown on his Ward 21 website. “I have met several times with the impacted residents over the past several months, including meeting with City Staff from Ottawa Public Health and the Infrastructure & Water Services Department.”
Brown added that despite the concerns raised by the residents on Royal York Street, he has been assured that the drinking water in Richmond is safe.
“City Staff as well as an inspector from the Ministry of the Environment have visited the impacted properties in addition to reviewing all records pertaining to the water condition and sanitary sewer system. Following this investigation, no concerns were raised regarding the safety of Richmond’s drinking water.
“The City will be conducting further inspections on the impacted wells to determine the cause of this localized contamination.”
Brown also stated that the story run by CTV News, which was removed from their website, contained incorrect information.
“The City is aware of concerns raised regarding some residents’ private wells in the Richmond area. After investigating, the City has found that these concerns are unrelated to its sewer system or nearby capital work. Private wells in Ontario fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP), and the responsibility of their maintenance and upkeep lies with the property owners. The MECP has investigated these wells and identified significant defects and deficiencies. It is recommended that residents address these issues to ensure safe drinking water. It is expected that once residents’ wells are repaired, upgraded, and maintained to current standards, the water quality concerns will be resolved.
The City of Ottawa issued a statement attributed to Matt Knight, Manager, Design & Construction – Facilities.
“The health and well-being of residents is a top priority for the City. Staff are working closely with the MECP to identify and address sources of contamination in the Richmond area,” stated Knight. “No concerns were identified by the MECP with respect to City activities in the area. The City has offered affected residents third-party investigations into their private water systems to help resolve their well water concerns. After a recent meeting on July 31, one resident has agreed to participate in a third-party inspection and staff are available to help other residents identify the source and find solutions to their water quality concerns.”
Knight stated that the city is taking action regarding Richmond drinking water concerns.
Below are a few actions the City has taken to address the concerns in the Richmond area:
- For wastewater collection leak testing, regular closed-circuit television (CCTV) inspections are conducted on sanitary pipes to ensure there are no leaks or exfiltration. Additional inspections were carried out in response to residents’ concerns with no issues found.
- Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems are used to detect forcemain leaks through pressure tracking, and no pressure alarms were received.
- Ottawa Public Health (OPH) provided information to residents about well water testing results, confirming no fecal contamination. OPH continues to encourage private well owners to test their water seasonally, and inspect their well annually to ensure the continued safety of their private water systems. More information is available on their webpage.
- The City collaborated Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) to assess groundwater risks, and no concerns related to the City of Ottawa activity were identified. MECP inspected private wells in the vicinity, revealing regulatory deficiencies that property owners are responsible for correcting.
For residents who are interested, free water testing kits are available at King’s Independent grocer. Residents are encouraged to test their drinking water regularly as a standard best practice. For more information regarding well water testing, please visit: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/…/free-well-water…
Brown said he will provide further information when it becomes available.
“There is no further information available at this time. When additional information becomes available, I will provide this information. If you have additional questions, please reach out to my office directly at Ward21@ottawa.ca.”