PEI

Free well testing could be part of larger water discussion, says minister

A P.E.I. woman who has been lobbying for years for free well water testing may finally get what she has been looking for as part of larger discussions around the new Water Act.

Cost may be too high for Islanders ‘who are living on the edge’

Clean drinking water is an important public health issue, says Lynda Kelly. (CBC)

A P.E.I. woman who has been lobbying for years for free well water testing may finally get what she has been looking for as part of larger discussions around the new Water Act.

Little Sands resident Lynda Kelly has been writing to various provincial officials making the case for one free water test a year. Kelly said it is an important public health issue, and the $40 cost of the test may be enough to put some people off.

"I think a lot of people, who are living on the edge and wondering where their next, you know, money for grocery is going to be, that could be on the back burner," she said.

"We'll skip it this year and do it another time."

People in the cities are assured clean water because the city does the tests, said Kelly, but people in the country are left on their own.

Environment Minister Steven Myers said it is an idea worth looking at. Water is on everyone's minds right now, he said, because of the extensive consultations on the Water Act.

"When we are having those discussions internally, there's a lot of questions about homeowner by homeowner and how can we make things better and how can we shift to ensure that everybody has safe water and plenty of it all the time," said Myers.

"I think it falls right inside the discussion that we're having."

Offering one free test a year would cost the province about $500,000 a year.

Myers said he does not know how many people relying on a well might be skipping the annual test.

The province recommends the bacterial screening test be done annually. It also recommends a $95 chemical analysis test every three to five years.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning

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