Canada

Walkerton water plant kept inaccurate records

An inquiry lawyer told the investigation into the Walkerton E. coli outbreak Thursday that the town's water records are inaccurate.

Paul Cavaluzzo, the lawyer for Walkerton's public utilities commission, said documents that marked the amount of chlorine in the water system last May are "incorrect."

The inquiry is investigating how E. coli contaminated the town's water supply and killed seven people last spring. Thousands more residents got sick.

The lawyer for the commission's manager Stan Koebel advised Cavaluzzo that the daily operating sheets for Walkerton's water plant are "inaccurate and should not be relied upon."

But the reasons behind the incorrect records will only be explained when Koebel testifies next month.

The provincial environmental officer responsible for Walkerton also appeared at the inquiry Thursday. Larry Struthers testified the town's plant did not meet ministry standards for record-keeping and had repeated problems with low chlorine levels.

But he never considered ordering local officials to fix the problem because he believed Koebel would do something voluntarily.

Struthers also said he had little idea in 1995 of how dangerous E. coli in drinking water could be.

Earlier testimony at the inquiry revealed that chlorine machines were broken last May.

Walkerton residents still rely on bottled water for drinking and boiled water for washing.

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