All smil­ing and un­der bud­get

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Staff, Ayer’s Cliff

Af­ter so many false starts that had led some to be­lieve that drink­ing wa­ter would never flow in Ayer’s Cliff or Hat­ley’s Bea­con’s Bay area, it has been of­fi­cially safe to drink since Mon­day as the new wa­ter fil­tra­tion plant, on Boyn­ton Road in Stanstead East, was given the thumbs up by Que­bec’s En­vi­ron­ment depart­ment. The scheme came un­der bud­get by al­most a mil­lion dol­lars, at $1,627,000. All in all, it will cost around one thou­sand dol­lars per capita and will rep­re­sent an in­crease in taxes of less than one hun­dred dol­lars on a $200,000 prop­erty.

This pro­ject had been an­nounced so many times that it had al­most be­come a yearly topic for this news­pa­per. Back in the early 2000’s, new stan­dards evolved from the Walk­ter­ton, On­tario, tragedy when seven peo­ple died and thou­sands of peo­ple be­came sick from bad drink­ing wa­ter. All Cana­dian prov­inces then started im­ple­ment­ing stricter reg­u­la­tions

and Ayer’s Cliff’s wa­ter sup­ply, taken form Lake Mas­saw­ippi, was deemed un­drink­able and, at one point, un­suit­able for any uses. Since Fe­bru­ary 10th, 2004, the town was un­der a boil­ing no­tice.

One of the ear­li­est chal­lenges for newly elected M.N.A. Pierre Reid was to get the town a new source of wa­ter. In 2004, with fan­fare, a so­lu­tion was found, the same one as was in­au­gu­rated on Mon­day: Wells that al­ready ex­isted and had shown good po­ten­tial at the same site. Then all hell broke loose. Not only were the wells in an­other mu­nic­i­pal­ity but they were in an­other MRC. So it was back to the draw­ing board,

all on the tax­payer’s dime, ob­vi­ously. Both for­mer

mayor Vin­cent Gérin and Mr. Reid were al­ways at the thresh­old of an­nounc­ing the start of the pro­ject, only to face an­other hur­dle, no­body want­ing to put the blame squarely on Stanstead East. Fi­nally, last year, Que­bec gave a grant of $1,320,000 cov­er­ing half of the then pro­jected to­tal cost.

Present Mayor Alec van Zuiden could barely con­tain his joy when he an­nounced that the pro­ject had come so much un­der bud­get.

The new treat­ment plant uses a new tech­nol­ogy us­ing what is es­sen­tially ta­ble salt, trans­formed on site into chlo­rine, that is me­tered into the drink­ing wa­ter com­ing from the well. Tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion and videos from Na­tional Geo­graphic can be founded on the man­u­fac­turer’s site at miox.com.

While the tech­nol­ogy is brand new here in Que­bec, the work that had to be done by the en­gi­neer­ing group, Poly-Tech, was also old-fash­ioned. The site is lo­cated in a flood plain, con­strained by en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, so the lo­ca­tion had to be pro­tected, first by sta­bi­liz­ing the Tomi­fo­bia river­bank, then by in­sur­ing that the well head would be above any flood­ing, ob­tain­ing ap­proval at ev­ery step of the way. While the sta­tion and the 1.8 kilo­me­tres of con­duit was ready by last fall, the flood­ing of Boyn­ton road, last year, de­layed the needed power line to the site. Fi­nally, early this year, the wa­ter started flow­ing from the well into the mu­nic­i­pal aqueduct and fol­low­ing the usual round of test­ing, of doc­u­men­ta­tion that the town didn’t know was needed, as we re­ported a cou­ple of weeks ago, the En­vi­ron­ment depart­ment gave the go ahead for a May 16th end to the boil­ing or­di­nance.

For the res­i­dents this will mean the end of buy­ing bot­tled wa­ter by the car load and lo­cal restau­rants are clearly re­lieved as they told

photo Stanstead Jour­nal

All smiles as lo­cal politi­cians were able not only to an­nounce that drink­ing tap wa­ter in Ayer’s Cliff and Bea­con’s Bay is now safe, but that the pro­ject cost al­most half what was pro­jected. Or­ford M.N.A., Pierre Reid; Hat­ley’s mayor, Jac­ques de Léséleuc and Ayer’s Cliff mayor, Alec van Zuiden.

photo Stanstead Jour­nal

This is the well, pho­tographed last sum­mer, that will sup­ply the new wa­ter. re­porters early Mon­day morn­ing.

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