Botched West Island boil water advisory creates confusion and frustration

Click to play video: 'DDO residents and mayor blame Montreal for dropping ball on boil water advisory' DDO residents and mayor blame Montreal for dropping ball on boil water advisory
DDO residents and mayor blame Montreal for dropping ball on boil water advisory – Aug 12, 2021

Dollard-des-Ormeaux Mayor Alex Bottausci is furious with the City of Montreal due to botched communication.

Parts of DDO and Pierrefonds-Roxboro have been under a boil water advisory since Wednesday afternoon. The problem is, many residents weren’t notified by the city and only found out through social media, word of mouth or in the news.

“I had a notification that one of my friends had received a phone call about a water advisory,” said Dollard-des-Ormeaux resident Melanie Ryan Graif, who found out while scrolling through social media before going to bed Wednesday night.

The City of Montreal issued the advisory following an unsatisfactory water quality test at the DDO reservoir. Residents in certain areas of Dollard-des-Ormeaux and neighbouring Pierrefonds-Roxboro are asked not use tap water without bringing it to a full boil for at least one minute.

Read more: Boil water advisory issued for DDO, Pierrefonds, City of Montreal says

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This includes drinking, cooking, making ice, giving water to pets and brushing teeth. All other uses, like bathing and washing clothes, are safe, according to a statement issued by the city.

Graif told Global News her family wouldn’t have known if she hadn’t checked Facebook because she did not get a call from the city.

“Without that we could’ve gone to bed, brushed our teeth,” she said.

According to Bottausci, Dollard-des-Ormeaux civil security called about 50,000 phone numbers to notify residents. He says they would have been able to relay information more quickly if the City of Montreal, which issued the advisory, had given the correct geographical information.

“The communications needs to be clear from the moment they see something going wrong, right? And and also let’s go back to the first piece of communication that came out. It said West Island-wide boil advisory,” he said.

Read more: Debate on COVID-19 vaccine passports would expose Quebecers to conspiracy theories, premier says

Montreal’s mayor, however, says the communication in emergency situations comes from boroughs or demerged cities.

“If it’s quick then it can be through phone calls but it can be through letters as well but most often it is through the boroughs,” said Valerie Plante.

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Bottausci shot back, saying, “It’s not us managing this. It’s the City of Montreal.”

Regardless of whose responsibility it is, Graif thinks a better system needs to be in place.

“It certainly doesn’t give us faith in the emergency system. In 2021 we should have some sort of ability to have a mass text sent out,” she said.

The boil water advisory is still in effect on Thursday night. Officials say crews are working to fix the problem

With files from Global’s Alessia Maratta 

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