Since July, the tap water in Vaudreuil-Dorion has had a strange smell and odour.
Officials at the city water-filtration plant say they have noticed the difference in the water and have been dealing with the issue since July 22.
Despite several online complaints from people claiming to have fallen ill after consuming the water, the city reassures residents it is safe to drink.
“The quality of the water is the same as before. It’s only the smell and the taste of it,” Vaudreuil-Dorion plant foreman Francois Joly said.
“They can drink the water with no problem.”
Joly says it is a filtration issue that is affecting Vaudreuil-Dorion’s 33,000 residents.
The main source of water for the Vaudreuil plant is the Bay of Vaudreuil, which is usually fed by the Ottawa River.
Joly says record-high water levels during the spring floods, which have been held back all summer, are now flowing through the dams upstream.
This increase in water flow has caused fluctuations in the bay, bringing in more water from the St. Lawrence River.
Although the plant can process the St. Lawrence River water, Joly says it is not the same, resulting in the unusual taste and odour.
“You might think it is the same water, but it’s not.”
Joly points to the clarity, mineral count and pH as some of the variables that differ between the two river systems.
“We don’t have a clue when it’s going to come back to normal,” he said.
Joly adds that the events are exceptional and have only ever happened once before for a brief time after the spring floods in 2017.
The city does not know when the water will return to normal as it is dependent on how much water is released upstream.
The city says it hopes to have the water back to normal within the coming weeks.
There are no plans on improving the city filtration system to handle and process water from the St. Lawrence River.