Lévis needs clean water source before winter

Municipal officials are trying to find a way to supply clean water to about 55,000 people on Quebec City's south shore after contamination from the Lac-Mégantic train derailment.

City worries about water contamination from Lac-Mégantic derailment

A oil slick floats on the water at the local marina in Lac-Mégantic after the train derailment and explosion on July 9, 2013. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)

Municipal officials in Lévis are searching for ways to supply clean drinking water to about 55,000 people on Quebec City's south shore after the Chaudière River was contaminated by oil that spilled from the Lac Mégantic train derailment.

The city is being temporarily supplied with water from the Beaurivage River, diverted through a system of aboveground pipes, though Lévis Mayor Danielle Roy-Marinelli fears those pipes will freeze in winter.

"We are continuing to work on the project to find the best solution," said Roy-Marinelli.

Roy-Marinelli says one option would be to upgrade the water filtration plant that treats water from the Chaudière River, to remove the chemicals found in it.

The city expects to spend more than $2 million by October on its temporary water source alone, and Roy-Marinelli says this does not include the cost of winterizing the pipes.

To date, the city has spent close to $1 million, the cost of which is being covered by the provincial government.

Roy-Marinelli says she hopes to find a solution to the city's water source problem before September 30, the date of the last council meeting before the beginning of the municipal election campaign.

A meeting is planned for Thursday between officials from Quebec's environment ministry and the three municipalities affected by contaminated drinking water.