Canada

Brothers to be charged in Ontario water scandal

Stan and Frank Koebel are to face criminal charges in in the Walkerton, Ontario tainted water scandal which killed seven people.

Police in Ontario will be laying criminal charges against two brothers involved in the tainted water scandal in Walkerton, Ont.

Stan and Frank Koebel, the brothers who ran Walkerton's water system, admitted during an inquiry that they had compromised the system's safety and then lied about it.

Sources say both men will be charged, but what those charges will be isn't known.

The criminal investigation began May 25, 2000, after seven people died and more than 2,000 became sick when the town's water supply was contaminated with a deadly strain of E. coli bacteria.

Scores of witnesses were interviewed to determine whether there was evidence a crime had been committed.

While the investigation was far-reaching, sources said its focus was on the two brothers who ran the Walkerton water system, and on one of their subordinates.

Both brothers admitted to falsifying crucial water-safety tests and log sheets, and failing to disinfect the town's drinking water properly.

Although the people of Walkerton are angry at the brothers, Bruce Davidson of Concerned Citizens of Walkerton said he'd hate to see people blame the entire tragedy on them.

Davidson said the "lowest players" in the tragedy are getting the blame and the real problems aren't being addressed.

"The municipality north of us, Paisley, right now is under a boil water order. We need to look at why these things are occurring and what action needs to be taken ... and quite frankly the government simply isn't doing that," said Davidson.

Davidson also questioned what the Ontario Provincial Police know now about the Koebel brothers that they didn't know three years ago.

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