Bottled water distribution to continue in Mississippi Mills until Fall 2018

Bottled water in rowx

Residents in Mississippi Mills, whose groundwater was contaminated by chemicals traced back to the National Fire Laboratory, will be getting bottled water from the National Research Council until at least the fall of 2018.

NRC Spokesperson Charles Drouin tells CFRA that seasonal testing on the groundwater is ongoing.

“We’ve committed to continue doing that through the fall of 2018,” Drouin says. “That means we will continue to provide bottled water to residents who have requested it, and provide maintenance on the filtration systems that we’ve provided for the duration of that sampling program.”

45 homes have requested bottled water, and 43 homes have had carbon filtration systems installed.

Drouin says they need data from eight complete seasons before they can make any future decisions.

“Once we have received data from eight complete seasons, that is winter 2016 to the fall of 2018, we will revisit the need for a continued sampling program.”

The contamination was discovered in 2013 and the NRC confirmed the Fire Laboratory was the source of the contamination this July. Residents have been getting bottled water since January, 2016.

The Fire Laboratory has been in the community for decades. It tests “fire detection, fire suppression, smoke movement and smoke management systems and to test the fire performance of building materials and systems,” according to the NRC.

Drouin says the NRC has undertaken and completed a program to eliminate residual sources of perfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) in the groundwater. He says an “impermeable layer” has been added to “limit further migration of PFAS to the drinking water.” The program was completed in September, 2016.

He says the note the NRC has from Health Canada says they “do not believe residents will experience any health effects from PFAS now or in the future, based on the current level in the drinking water.”

Operations at the Fire Laboratory have been put on hold until the water assessment is completed in 2018.

Diane Smithson, the Chief Administrative Officer of the Municipality of Mississippi Mills, says senior staff at the Municipality had not been made aware of this latest update.

Mississippi Mills Mayor Shaun McLaughlin was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon.