Ladysmith town council voted to adjust water billing for resident on Methuen Street after staff were unable to complete water main flushing and homeowners reported disagreeable water discolouration.
A staff report presented at council’s Jan. 25 meeting said weather in the past few weeks prevented flushing of a portion of the Methuen Street water main. It notes, though the water was discoloured, it was still safe to drink. Eight properties were affected and council voted to adjust their water billing accounts to zero for quarter four of 2021 and quarter one of 2022.
The area is serviced by cast iron pipes, which are prone to developing rust on the interior walls.
“With consistent flushing, town forces have managed to maintain an acceptable level of water clarity,” reads the staff report. “However, at times discoloured water has been delivered to residents.”
It said the water clarity has returned and is now considered acceptable. The water was tested in November, 2021 and was found to be within the necessary limits for healthy drinking water.
Coun. Rob Johnson put forward an amendment to staff’s recommended motion, hoping to reimburse residents the cost of clean water during the time the town water was discoloured but there was no seconder, so it failed.
“The water has always been safe, it just hasn’t met colour standard,” said Coun. Marsh Stevens.
“Would you and your family drink that?” Johnson asked.
“If it was deemed safe composition wise, yeah. It’s horrible and I want it fixed, believe me but the staff report does note that it is safe,” Stevens responded.
Mayor Aaron Stone commented that when he had family living in Yellowpoint, he had to deal with water that “smelled and looked horrible and that’s what we drank. Of course we didn’t drink a lot of water from there.”
The town has a tentative start in early February for its water main capital project, which will be completed this year. Coun. Amanda Jacobson asked staff if there are other properties that could be facing similar problems in the future, which could be resolved proactively.
“There are a couple other cast iron pipes in the town that haven’t experience quite this water discolouration yet but they are on the horizon — they are on our radar,” said Ryan Bouma, director of infrastructure services.
The town will see a reduction in 2021 water revenues of $563 after agreeing to the adjustment, according to the staff report.