When water becomes a problem

One doesn’t have to travel to the far north to find water problems in a community.

The small hamlet of Burgoyne, Ontario located in the centre of farmland, bordered by Arran-Elderslie, Saugeen Shores and Paisley is finding itself in ‘no-man’s land’ when it comes to water.

    Two signs at entrances to Burgoyne say it all … two municipalities in one

    Arran-Elderslie                                                          Saugeen Shores


With half the residents located in the municipality of Arran-Elderslie and the other half in the municipality of Saugeen Shores and Bruce County Road 3 running through the middle, when it comes to water no-one wants to seem to want to assume responsibility.

The community has been on a ‘boil water’ advisory for some time and residents have to travel to the town of Tara some distance away to access potable water.

At a recent Burgoyne Water Association (BWA) meeting, residents raised their concerns over the water situation.  In the past, the town has been provided with water from a central well for 21 homes but now has been deemed unfit, or in non-compliance, by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE).  Arran Elderslie took over ownership of the well and, as a municipality, has to meet regulations.  According to sources, the Canadian Well Water Association (CWWA) suggests more than 25 percent of Canadian residents get their water from wells.

The MOE requested that the Walkerton Clean Water Centre undertake research to determine what treatment options are available and what exactly the water quality is.  According to an Engineer’s report, there are a lot of issues, including chemical, that have to be resolved to bring the system up to standard.  The well-head is in a land depression or pit and, therefore, has to be treated in a different way.  There are concerns about the location and its possible impact on other wells and septic systems and a hydrological study has been recommended.  The system would also require a new building provided the well itself is salvageable.

Heather Gowanlock, who read from the report, said that there are different levels of water quality.  “Hard water values between 80 and 100  milligram/litre is normal, more than 200 is tolerable, more than 500 is unacceptable.  The Burgoyne well comes in at between 1200 to 1500.”

Gowanlock said that Arran-Elderslie head of Pubilc Works, Mark O’Leary, suggested residents come up with out-of-box possible solutions.  Among the solutions suggested are:

  • upgrade existing water works and remove cross connection at capital cost of $485,000
  • continue supply potable water from the Tara water system and continue the ‘boil water’ advisory
  • provide an in-ground storage tank for imported water plus a pumping system plus removal of cross-connections at a capital cost of $140,000 plus $45,000 for labour and material and $145,000 for water and transportation costs
  •  A ‘fragmentation system’ where every resident does their ‘own thing’ at an approximate cost of $20,000 based on the availability of usable wells and whether residents have properties large enough accommodate wells
  • consider running a water supply from Southampton (5.6km) plus a bosster pumping station at an approximate cost of $1.25M  with a labour and material cost of $40,000 plus $12,000 for water hookup to residents
  • considered a water supply from Port Elgin (6.3km) pipeline and booster pumping station at a cost of $1.4M with the same costs to residents as that of Southampton

Residents agreed that few, if any, could afford the costs that would be involved.  They agreed that BWA would be making a delegation to Arran-Edlerslie Council and, as with everything else, Burgoyne also has two MPPS, MPP Lisa Thompson and Bill Walker, and that BWA would also be contacting them.