11 Apr

County Lifts State of Water Emergency


Mayor Robert Quaiff has officially ended the County’s state of emergency following the receipt of water sampling results that have confirmed that there is now a reduced risk of contamination in Picton Bay. Mayor Quaiff declared a water emergency as a result of contaminants approaching the Picton/Bloomfield water intake at 7:00PM on Tuesday, March 28th.  Water processing at the Picton Drinking Water Plant was halted at that time. Hastings Prince Edward Public Health issued a Boil Water Advisory the following morning for residents connected to the Picton-Bloomfield Distribution System. This was a precaution against potential contamination from water hauling efforts that had been put in place to maintain the water supply in the system while the Picton Plant was shut down.

Although the Boil Water Advisory was lifted on April 6th, the municipality maintained its state of emergency until such time as the water monitoring program performed by Pinchin Limited could be reviewed.  Pinchin Limited provided its report to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change on Friday, April 7th and the municipality was advised of the results early this week.  We are now confident that the threat has reduced to a low level.

Under the provincial government’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, a municipality may declare a state of emergency in a situation that poses a heighted risk to the health and safety of residents.  By declaring a state of emergency, municipalities are able to access certain resources that would otherwise not be available to them.  It also allows municipal emergency control groups to bypass certain municipal procedures that would cause an unacceptable delay in responding to the immediate needs of the community.  Having declared an emergency, the County also has the opportunity to seek financial assistance and compensation for some of the expenses incurred as a result of this incident. “The decision to declare an emergency was not one that we took lightly,” said Mayor Robert Quaiff. “We responded to a threat to our largest drinking water system, and we were able to efficiently and effectively implement contingency plans to keep the water system operational and protect our residents from that threat.”

A diligent water sampling and monitoring program will continue at the Picton Drinking Water Plant, and the municipality has begun considering how best to avoid a similar incident in the future. “Residents can be confident in the quality and safety of the water service that the County provides,” added Mayor Robert Quaiff. “I think this incident has confirmed the high level of caution and care that our water operators take in managing our drinking water systems. I couldn’t be more proud of our response, or more thankful for the support that we received from our partners throughout the region.”

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For media inquiries, please contact Karen Kirby, Executive Assistant to Mayor Robert Quaiff at 613.476.2148 ext. 1002 or by email at kkirby@pecounty.on.ca.