Patients and staff at Salt Spring Island's sole hospital are still relying on bottled water, months after legionella bacteria was detected in the facility's water system. Island Health advised against using the water at Lady Minto Hospital for drinking or bathing in March, when routine testing showed low levels of the bacteria were present.
Less than two years after switching Saint John's west side to a new drinking water system, the city is now diverting many of those same neighbourhoods to a new water source. The areas affected include Saint John's lower west side, Milford, Randolph, Fundy Heights, Duck Cove and Sand Cove. They are to begin receiving surface water from the Loch Lomond Treatment plant on the city's east side by the end of the year. At the same time the city has cancelled its contract with the engineering firm that was instrumental in the creation of the west side well field water system and hired a law firm to pursue the company, BGC Engineering, for costs.
As an insurer, Intact obviously has its own data and maps. Based on that, the company assumes as many as five per cent of those newly at-risk properties will be simply uninsurable. Brindamour warns that "if you're in a zone that gets flooded repeatedly, or where the odds of being flooded has increased meaningfully, it'll be hard to find insurance from private capital."
Nicole Hancock, the executive director of the Safe Drinking Water Foundation, said systems exist that would take care of all contaminants and produce water that "would taste and smell great."
"I think that they should build a high quality treatment plant for a fraction of the cost," said Hancock. "We think that it would cost them less than $500,000. That's less than one-sixth of the cost."
"I don't think they've looked into these options," said Heney. "I don't think they want this town to stay here."