FULL AUDIO: Press Conference TUESDAY PRESS CONFERENCE
Prince Edward County is optimistic a boil water advisory could be lifted by Thursday after initial testing on the Picton/Bloomfield water supply showed ‘extremely encouraging’ results Monday.
The Picton water facility will be restarted again Tuesday for a second round of testing on drinking water produced at the plant.
The plant has been shut down for a week as a safety precaution in response to the County declaring a state of water emergency after a partially submerged barge spilled 30L of fuel into the Picton Bay on March 24 while docked at Picton Terminals. The discovery of a foul odor in the Picton raw water sampling line, an early warning system last Thursday prompted the shut down and the need for water to be hauled in from neighbouring municipalities. A boil water advisory was then issued for Picton and Bloomfield residents by the Hastings and Prince Edward Health Unit. The barge was eventually refloated and taken back to Galcon Marine in Toronto on Monday.
During a press conference Tuesday morning Mayor Robert Quaiff said the water facility was temporarily restarted Monday for testing.
He said initial test results were ‘extremely encouraging.’ However the boil water advisory will remain in effect until the plant is fully operational and reconnected to the distribution system.
Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works Robert McAuley said they are trying to get the boil water advisory lifted and the plant running as quickly as they can.
He said it’s too early to tell if residents will be asked to flush their lines once the plant is running again.
The County has been hauling 1800 cubic metres of water a day to fill the Picton reservoirs. When pressed for an explanation as to what slowed hauling efforts on Monday, Quaiff said an official with Ministry of Transportation was pulling water trucks over for inspection.
Quaiff said once the situation has ‘calmed down’ the municipality will start to look at cost recovery, something the mayor has expressed to citizens on social media he intends to go after.
In the meantime, Picton and Bloomfield residents are encouraged to continue to get water at the bulk station in Wellington or they can pick up free 10L jugs at the Picton Fire Hall. It’s a limit of two 10L jugs per household per day.
The Coast Guard began demobilizing Monday after the barge was taken out of Picton Bay. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change remains on site and continues to test the water in the Bay. Transport Canada continues to investigate the incident. The County is maintaining close contact with provincial and federal agencies in these efforts and says it will provide details to the public as it becomes available.