Contaminated water concerns in Long Point

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit will investigate now that flooding in Long Point is a chronic problem.Concerns have been expressed to local health officials that periodic inundations  could be flooding the cottage community with contaminated water.“Hopefully, through investigation and study, we can come up with a remedy for these people,” Port Rowan Coun. Tom Masschaele told the Haldimand-Norfolk Board of Health this week.“I hope we don’t end up with a water-quality crisis in Long Point.”Water in Lake Erie is currently at record-high levels and shows no sign of receding. The lake is so high that even mildly windy conditions are blowing water inland.This has given rise to contamination concerns on a number of fronts. These include:Septic beds: Low-intensity flooding means pools of water are left standing over septic beds. This creates the conditions for septage to rise to the surface. This raises questions about the safety of walking through mildly flooded areas. Water wells: Some cottages and businesses have well points. Flood water filled with septic contamination eventually seeps back into the ground where many draw their drinking water. Holding tanks: Half-empty holding tanks are buoyant in the presence of flood water. This creates the conditions for breakage and contaminated backwash once pipes are positioned contrary to design specifications. Masschaele said some cottagers have responded to the flooding with high-capacity pumps in their backyards.Water is pumped to the road where it flows down the street for a spell, Masschaele said, and eventually drains onto adjoining properties. Some wonder if this is spreading filth throughout the community.Kwesi Douglas, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s environmental health program manager, said his staff will look into the situation.MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

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