Montreal

North Hatley, Que. boil water advisory lifted 12 years later

After more than a decade, the residents of North Hatley, Que. can now turn on their taps and enjoy a fresh glass of water.

Municipality recently opened long-awaited $11M water filtration plant

About 1,000 residents of North Hatley, Que. have boiled their water for more than a decade as they waited for a new water filtration to be constructed. (Getty Images)

After 12 years under a boil water advisory, the residents of North Hatley, Que. can now turn on their taps and enjoy a fresh glass of water.

At the time, the fatal E. coli water contamination in Walkerton, Ont. was still fresh in the minds of many and the government quickly tightened up drinking water restrictions.

Mayor Michael Page explains why it took so long to install a water treatment plant in the town. 5:26

Historically, the municipality had drawn its drinking water from the Massawippi Lake and treated it only with chlorine.

"That was no longer sufficient with the new norms to be tighter and having less health risk, they wanted us to build a filtration plant," the mayor of North Hatley, Michael Page, told Quebec AM.

Provincial authorities found a potentially toxic blue algae in the water and drinking water advisory was issued in 2003.

The boil water advisory affected around 1,000 residents of the town in Quebec's eastern townships.

In 2013, after years of negotiations with the provincial and federal government over funding, North Hatley started construction on a new water filtration plant.

Initially slated to open last December, complications from a harsh winter pushed back that start date to August.

The final price tag for the plant is expected to be around $11 million, about 30 per cent of which will be paid by the municipality.

Page said some residents, himself included, did drink the tap water from time to time while the advisory was in place, but no reports of illness came in.

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