Residents of Saskatchewan community upset at officials over brown water

The Canadian Press
August 13, 2014 07:03 PM

BIRCH HILLS, Sask. - Some residents of the Saskatchewan community of Birch Hills say they weren't surprised when the town issued a precautionary drinking water advisory this week.

Brown water started coming from their taps in early July, a problem now being blamed on high algae bloom.

Some are frustrated at what they say has been a lack of communication from municipal officials about the quality of the water.

Amanda Murphy says her husband, Patrick, tried calling to see what he could find out and "the response is they don't know what's going on."

In mid-July, town officials had said the issue was caused by something wrong in the pipes and said the problem had been fixed.

Mayor Shirley Ulvid says this week she and other officials met with the Water Security Agency and learned the algae bloom was to blame.

“We have to do our best, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Ulvid. “To give information you’re not sure of isn’t the right thing to do. So, you know, the ones that we talked to, on the phones and on the street, we gave them what we knew. And we know more today, having met with the Water Security [Agency] yesterday.”

She said the town feels foreman Jaesen Dansereau has a handle on the situation, though she would not speculate on when the problem will be fixed.

Residents are being advised to boil all water used for drinking and other activities including brushing teeth or soaking false teeth, washing fruits and vegetables, preparation of food or drink that won't be heated, and for freezing ice cubes.

“It’s frustrating and it’s scary because if they’re not talking to us, is it actually something major and they just don’t want to say or what?” said Murphy.


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