The Stirling Community Press Nov 5, 1999

Don’t Drink the Water, Health Unit Warns
by Louise Livingstong

Centre Hastings – “Don’t drink water out of Moira Lake or Stoco,” was the advice given by Glen Hudgin, Hastings and Prince Edward Health Unit, and Wayne Herrick, Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MoE). They were at a meeting organised by MoE, and hosted by the Municipality of Centre Hastings, at Ivanhoe, on Tuesday, October 26, to discuss progress with the Moira Lake Impact Study. A number of people indicated, in the questionnaire survey sent to residents of the Moira River system, that they drink the water. This questionnaire was part of the study to assess the effect of contaminants coming from Deloro. As only 35 per cent of the residents responded to the questionnaire, no one is clear exactly how many people drink the water.

There are two problems with drinking surface water from Moira Lake, first bacteria and parasites, and second arsenic. Levels of arsenic are, on average, just above the provincial drinking water standard, but exceed it by about three times in late summer. Arsenic is not a problem in Stoco Lake.

Centre Hastings Reeve Tom Deline said, “We need to get something directly to property owners,” and he agreed to send out a joint letter to residents, from both the MoE and the Health Unit, reminding them not to drink untreated water. (The best way to remove arsenic from water is a system of reverse osmosis. Carbon filters are not sufficient.) Tweed Deputy-reeve Paul Healey, agreed to consult his council and the Stoco Lake Property Owners about the best cause of action. Councillor Dale Grant from Stirling-Rawdon will see the few residents in the township along the Moira are notified.