Residents in Neudorf, Sask., are raising concerns over murky tap water, a problem they say started more than a year ago, after the village installed a new reverse osmosis system.
“I don’t use the tap water for (eating) or drinking, I use bottled water,” resident Shelley Coburn said. “I won’t even feed it to my plants.”
When Ed and Shelley Coburn moved to the village in southeast Saskaskatchewan last year, it’s the last thing they thought they would be dealing with.
Even after installing a water filtration system, the couple says the filters barely last a month and still leave behind a yellow tinge to the water.
The issue, according to the village, has to do with its older cast iron pipes, which pick up iron and makes its way through the system.
“When you have a legacy system as far as distribution goes, versus a new water treatment system, what’s happening (is that) there’s a different type of water coming into those lines and when you mix those two things together, it can pick up material, or in this case iron, in those water lines,” said Patrick Boyle, a spokesperson with the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency.
While older cast iron lines are not uncommon across the province, Neudorf has replaced around 60 per cent of its lines, leaving roughly 40 per cent of residents dealing with murky water.
“The last two years, because of the plant expenses, we haven’t done anything,” Mayor Murray Hanowski said. “We have to replace the lines, that is the solution, and we have to get on it next year and get our program back in gear.”
Hanowski added, in the meantime, the village started flushing out the lines over the weekend as a temporary solution.
“We hope the situation was rectified temporarily,” Hanowski said. “(The residents) have a legitimate complaint; I wouldn’t want to drink that brown water, and I’m not saying that they should either. But it’s not deadly. We’ve tested it.”
Something Boyle also reiterates, saying while it doesn’t look appealing, the water is safe.
“From a safety perspective, as far as chlorine and things like that, it is meeting the guidelines but it does pick up things in the water as it makes its way to residents,” Boyle said.
In the meantime, Coburn isn’t convinced, saying her concerns have largely fallen on deaf ears and has turned to bottled and well water as a solution.
“It’s actually adding up,” Coburn said. “No one has come to check any of our waters at all, so come and look at our water, I’ll make you a cup of tea with it if you want- guarantee they won’t drink it.”
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