After six days, a boil-water advisory is still in place in parts of Dollard-Des-Ormeaux and Pierrefonds.
The City of Montreal obtained a lab test showing there is still bacteria in the water.
The issue was located in the Dollard-Des-Ormeaux reservoir, where Montreal is carrying out work to update the facility.
According to the city, the removal of dirt on the reservoir along with strong rain at the beginning of last week could have allowed a contaminant to infiltrate through a non-visible crack.
“An enhanced monitoring of the water allowed us to identify the presence of enterococcus bacteria at the exit of the reservoir,” wrote Audrey Gauthier, a spokesperson for the city of Montreal.
Enterococcus is a type of bacteria that lives in the gastrointestinal tract but it could cause infections in some people.
According to Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis, workers located the source of the problem on Thursday and conducted work to fix it.
Since fixing the source of the problem, the city says it conducted daily sampling in the affected areas.
The city needs to have two consecutive negative tests, 24 hours apart in order to lift the advisory. It has not yet reached that objective.
Both mayors praised the work of Montreal’s water works department but they say communication between Montreal and the de-merged cities and boroughs needs to be improved.
“We’re saying in terms of communication, the public needs that information in real time and as soon as possible and in a regular frequency to be able to have them act accordingly as well,” Beis said.
“Right now, it seems like at times we are in limbo because that information isn’t as free-flowing as we’d like.”
Communicating there was a water boil advisory in the first place was a big issue.
The City of Montreal issued the advisory on Aug. 11.
But many people say they didn’t receive the notice and some residents say they were drinking tainted water for days.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante says the city says has a strong protocol of what needs to be done and are closely connected to the demerged cities and boroughs, but it’s those cities and boroughs who are in charge of their own communications.
“The protocol was followed, the Pierrefonds-Roxboro borough, they all had the information,” Plante said. “So why in Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, it didn’t go there, it doesn’t make sense to me. Every city is in charge of their communication.”
Dollard-Des-Ormeaux Mayor Alex Bottausci says that when the advisory was issued, his city was reassured that Montreal’s alert system was accurate and robust and they would take care of distributing the information to affected residents.
“At the onset, we were told that the system that Montreal had was better than ours, it was more accurate,” Bottausci told Global News.
“But with the influx of calls we have received from our residents telling us that they have not been called, that’s when we took matters into our own hands and a few days ago, started to blast phone calls by ourselves.”
Bottausci says that moving forward, he will advocate for his city to be the one responsible for alerting residents of such emergencies.
Both Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Dollard-Des-Ormeaux say they will inform affected residents when the advisory is lifted through their own alert systems and are encouraging people to sign up on the borough and the city’s websites.