CBC In Depth
Key figures in Walkerton's water crisis
CBC News Online | January 2002

Stan Koebel

Stan KoebelStan Koebel is the former manager of Walkerton's Public Utilities Commission. He's been at the centre of this controversy. The local medical officer of health, Dr. Murray McQuigge says he was assured by Koebel on several occasions that the town's water supply was safe - despite suspicions by health officials. McQuigge has said the PUC's slow response wasted time as medical officials continued to look for food sources for the outbreak of E-coli. Several of Koebel's friends have come to his defence, saying he would never knowingly put anybody at risk.

Dan Newman

Dan Newman Ontario Environment Minister at the time of the crisis, Dan Newman dismissed the idea that his government's policy of shifting functions to municipalities played a role in the disaster. He says the downloading of responsibilities didn't apply in this case since the municipality had always run the water treatment facility in Walkerton.

Dr. Murray McQuigge

Dr. Murray McQuiggeMedical Officer of Health for the region at the time of the crisis, Dr. Murray McQuigge first heard of the possible outbreak from Dr. Hallett and immediately called Walkerton's Public Utilities Commission, PUC. They told him their water supply was safe. Afterward, McQuigge said the outbreak should never have happened. He says the PUC knew their water was contaminated May 18, but failed to act until it was too late.

Jim Kieffer

Jim KiefferChair of Walkerton's PUC, Jim Kieffer says he didn't know anything about the contaminated water until Sunday May 21 2000, four days after the town's utility workers received a fax from a private testing lab informing them of a problem with the water. He said the workers who received the fax were unaware of E. coli's deadly potential and therefore didn't report the fax to their supervisors.

Dave Thomson

Dave ThomsonDave Thomson is Mayor of the Municipality of Brockton, which includes the town of Walkerton. He says he wasn't aware of the problems the PUC was having with its chlorination system, or of the warning the commission received about the safety of the water, until it was too late to prevent the epidemic.

Dr. Kristen Hallett

A pediatrician based in Owen Sound, Dr. Hallett saw some of the first patients affected by the E. coli outbreak in Walkerton. An 11 year-old boy was referred to the Owen Sound hospital May 18. He had severe stomach cramps and then bloody diarrhea. Hallett immediately thought of E. coli, but thought the source might have been bad food. She called Dr. Murray McQuigge, Medical Officer of Health on May 19 2000, to sound the alarm.


RELATED: Water Cryptosporidium E.coli

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