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Mayor of Casselman, Ont. looking for solutions to town's drinking water problems


Casselman, Ont. Mayor Genevieve Lajoie invited residents to talk about the town’s drinking water woes on Wednesday night.  After weeks of water quality advisories in the summer of 2023, the mayor is determined to fix the problem once and for all.

The community currently gets its water from the South Nation River and when river levels go down in the summer the manganese level goes up, leaving the water smelly and discoloured. Manganese occurs naturally in the rocks and soil in the area.

The water tower in Casselman, Ont. (Shaun Vardon/CTV News Ottawa)

Last summer, the local health unit told residents the drinking water met standards, but they still recommended residents use bottled water for preparing baby formula or food and drinks for young people. That concerns Melanie Belisle, after her family and pets were forced to use bottled water and she does not want a repeat of that.

"We want to be able to just go to the tap and grab a glass of water and drink it but when it smells and looks yellow we can’t," Belisle said. "There is no price on safe water."

Lajoie supports a plan to switch the community's water from the South Nation River to the Ottawa River, but that comes with a hefty price tag. Unless the provincial and federal governments step up, there is no way the town can afford the $100 million price tag for a new pipeline connecting them with Rockland.

"I need the public to be involved in this. This is going to be a big decision we are going to be making so I think it’s important to get their feedback and their thoughts," Lajoie said. "Write to your MPs and MPPs, tell the government that they need to align their funding and help Casselman."

Lajoie says there are some other options available but none of them will offer a permanent solution and give the growing community the volume and quality of drinking water it needs. Lajoie will hold another public meeting on the plans on Friday, April 19 at 10:30 a.m. in the Town Hall on St-Jean Street. Top Stories

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