| Jul 27, 2006

Feature Article - July 27, 2006

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Feature Article - July 27, 2006

Sydenham Water: Liquid Gold?

Commentary by Wilma Kenny

As the new Sydenham water system comes online, residents continue to ask whether there might not have been better, less expensive ways to solve the problem. There have been some bad wells in the village for many years, but there are also many good ones. "I don’t plan to drink that stuff [the chlorinated water]," said one resident who intends to keep a separate line from his well to a tap in the kitchen, "and $10,000 seems a lot to pay for a soft water system."

By the time the bills are all in, most homeowners in Sydenham will owe $8,000 to $10,000 for a system many of them still insist they don’t want.


On July 25, South Frontenac Council held a requisite public meeting prior to passing the new water rates by-law. High levels of anger, anxiety and frustration were expressed by most of the forty people present. They questioned the bulk sales of water, and eventually council passed a resolution put forward by the Bedford Councillors, to refer the issue of bulk water sales to the water steering committee for their recommendations. CAO Gord Burns explained the intent was to cover one-time sales for cisterns and swimming pools, not for commercial sale of water, but council agreed that the wording in the by-law was unclear.

Two residents said they feared basement flooding from the water that entered their property trenches from the main line along the street, and Mayor Lake agreed to check that out.

Dwelling Unit Equivalents [DUEs] have been assigned to businesses, schools and apartments based on water usage in other areas: these may have to be adjusted to reflect actual use when the by-law comes up for renewal in December 2007.

In answer other questions, CAO Burns stated that no profit from the water system would go into general revenue: the water system would have a separate set of records.

Another public meeting will have to be held before the final bill for capital costs [related to property frontage] can be issued. Gord Burns said this would probably be in October. But beginning on September 1, all homeowners, whether or not hooked up to the system, will be charged a monthly rate of $41.76, to cover operating capital and consumption costs, and "to encourage them to hook up," said Gord Burns [No one will be forced to actually use the municipal water, as long as their plumbing is set up so there is no possibility of cross-contamination of municipal water by well water.]

Meanwhile, hundreds of individual septic systems, most twenty or more years old, continue to discharge into the fractured limestone beneath the village, beside the lake.

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