A Corner Brook woman discovered the hard way that water from a roadside spring just outside Steady Brook is not fit to drink.

Dixie Connolly has been drinking the spring water for the past four years. But no more.

Connolly got sick a month and a half ago.

"I was sick to my stomach. Nausea, diarrhea, stomach flu symptoms."

Connolly lost eight pounds and ended up with a parasite - giardia - better known as "beaver feaver".

People collecting water

Despite Dixie Connolly's experience, people were still collecting water from the spring on Wednesday. Many have been drinking it for years and say it is fit to drink and tastes better than the water coming from their taps.

Her doctor said it came from contaminated spring water.

Now Connolly has switched to bottled water.

But Connolly's nasty experience isn't stopping other people from continuing to collect water from the spring.

"It's good. We've got no complaints about it. It's better than the town water in Pasadena because that's got a lot of chlorine in it right," said one woman who was filling jugs at the spring on Wednesday.

The mayor of Steady Brook admits the town has issues with its drinking water, but he doesn't recommend using the spring either.

"As far as I'm concerned people would be better off to drink the water in our town than what they would be to drink the water out of the spring," said Mayor Peter Rowsell.

"I realize sometimes we have high chlorine content here. But we are trying to keep the water so that it's safe to drink." 

For its part, the Department of Health says water from roadside springs is not safe to drink.

It is not tested regularly and it's not protected from animals or man made pollutants. 

Dixie Connolly has learned her lesson.

"You could be fine drinking that for a long time," she said.  "Then all of a sudden an animal or something could die upstream and all of a sudden the water is contaminated." 

But die-hard Steady Brook spring users aren't daunted. Some have been drinking the water for more than 20 years and insist the water is crisp, clear - and fit to drink.