Steve Howes Speaking at 2020 Paris Fair with Marc Laferriere, Ellie Laferriere and Cheryl Muir watching

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Steve Howes Speaking at 2020 Paris Fair with Marc Laferriere, Ellie Laferriere and Cheryl Muir watching

Here is a great piece written by my colleague and friend Councillor Steve Howes on local water. Steve writes often on various local issues at Facebook.com/VoteHowes and I would highly recommend giving his page a follow:

Why does Paris water taste so good? I have always been curious about why the water in Paris tastes so great, where it comes from, and about the functionality of the giant water towers near the north end and south-east corner of town. Once I was elected as a Councillor, I had the opportunity to learn about the County’s municipal water systems and would like to share a little bit with you:

We are fortunate to have great sources of clean water in the area. During the last ice age, the movement of glaciers and the meltwater created tremendous sand and gravel deposits overlying the bedrock. In some areas fissures in the bedrock and spaces between the grains of sand, stones and rocks filled with water creating groundwater aquifers. The water we consume in our homes and businesses is pumped from wells drilled into the aquifers, treated, tested to ensure it is palatable and safe to consume, and distributed to the point of use. In total there are 14 wells located at the Gilbert Wellfield on Grand River St North, Telfer Wellfield on West River Road, and Bethel Wellfield on Bethel Road.

Water pumped from the aquifers is replenished via rainwater and snow melt infiltrating the ground and draining to the water table. The top soil, sands and gravels between the ground surface and aquifer filter the water helping to keep it clean. In areas where surface water recharges the municipal aquifers the Source Water Protection Program regulates activities on the surface to mitigate contaminants from being washed into the aquifer. Water pumped from the aquifer is treated to provide disinfection to pathogens that would cause health concerns if consumed.

The water treatment plants at the wellfields are connected to the point of use via a complex series of watermains buried deep under the roadways to protect them from freezing in the winter. The water towers on Woodslee Avenue and Oak Park Road are also attached to the watermains. The water towers provide storage for the distribution system. Storage provided by the water towers allows for wellfields of less capacity than would be required without them. Without storage the wellfields would need to have the capacity to instantaneously produce the amount of water envisioned to be consumed at any given time, including water required to fight fires. With the storage the wellfields need only have the capacity of average water consumption. During periods of low demand water produced at the wellfields fill the water towers. During periods of high demand, water from the water towers is used to supplement the supply from the wellfields.

The water towers are relatively new with the first one (Oak Park Road) being put into service in 2001. Storage is also provided in buried reservoirs at the Gilbert Wellfield and on Chapel St.. Water from the buried reservoirs is pumped into the distribution system. The water towers are more energy efficient as they implement the forces of gravity, rather than pumps, to move water through the system. When the water towers are full they send a signal to the wellfields to shut the pumps off. Then gravity moves the water from the towers to homes and businesses until the tank drains to a pre-set level which sends a signal to the wellfields to start producing water again.

As County of Brant Councillors, we are required to attend training sessions regarding the management of our municipal water systems. A few months ago, during a lunch break at a training session, I asked one of our Water Operators if he would rather drink water from the tap or bottled water. He was very quick to reply that he would rather drink Paris water than water that had been sitting in plastic bottles for weeks or months and that water from the tap has regulations that are MUCH more strict than what goes into a retail bottle of water. I pointed out that I live in an old house with some pretty old pipes and he said that if you let the water run for a few seconds, it doesn’t matter about the pipes because the water hasn’t been sitting in them.

Since that conversation, we have stopped buying bottles of water at our house!

To answer a question that is asked often: Yes, the County of Brant does have the capacity to provide water to the increasing number of residential homes that you see being built. Availability of water is one of the key elements to managing residential growth, and future needs of water for our growing community is always under review. Staff have identified the finite amount of development that existing water supplies can support. Staff and Council will ensure development beyond the capabilities of the existing water system is not approved without additional sources of water being implemented.

It takes a knowledgeable and hardworking team to maintain the County’s uninterrupted supply of good safe (and great tasting) water. I would like to extend a big Thank You to the dedicated County of Brant staff who keep our water safe and tasting great! (Please feel free to share this post!)

A highlight of some council/community activities Marc was able to participate with in the month of June:

  • Local Neighbourhood Food Drive
  • Special Planning Application Meeting
  • Social Services COmmittee Meeting
  • Kennedy School Webcast on Adaptability in Covid Crisis
  • Special County of Brant Council Meeting
  • Chamber of Commerce reporting
  • County of Brant Economic Development Forum
  • County of Brant Library Board Meeting
  • Filming for upcoming virtual Canada Day Celebrations
  • Rogers Television taping regarding issues of racisim, biases and allyship.
  • Attended Virtual PRIDE events
  • Attended 2 Black Lives Matter events
  • Visited 2 local farms to tour and check in
  • Attended Paris “Ribfest” Walk Up event
  • Filming Public Service Announcements for Senior’s Month and Recreation and Parks Month
  • Participated in the new community partnership with Equal Ground Community Garden helping to set up the County of Brant as a participant. Attending seed sharing drop off event, zoom call to orientate new backyard gardeners and with my family participated by being one of the backyard victory garden spots.
  • Note: Moved by Marc and Seconded by Councillor Peirce: Resolution created on helping seniors and others with tax filling passed unanimously by County of Brant Council with letters of support from MP Phil McColeman, Seniors’ Resource Centre, Brantford Councillor Joshua Wall and others.