Groundwater contamination could be problem

July 9, 2016 8:02 pm

A new study is raising questions about the safety of drinking water in communities across Eastern Ontario after concluding that there is bacteria-contaminated groundwater in the village of Portland, outside Smith Falls.

The groundwater that supplies wells in Portland sometimes carries bacteria from sewage, a range of drugs, and probably hard-to-detect viruses, says the new Queen’s University case study.

Pollution is usually low, says the study by Queen’s engineers. But some samples of groundwater had coliform bacteria in concentrations that aren’t fit for swimming in Ontario, let alone drinking.

“Based on our findings, the water supply in this setting is on average unsafe based on bacterial contamination alone,” it concludes. It adds “a clear message: sewage contamination is ubiquitous at this site.”

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