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Alberta town and former employee face seven charges after failed water monitoring

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Bow Island water tower
Although Bow Island was recently served a summons identifying alleged violations of the “Code of Practice for a Waterworks System Consisting Solely of a Water Distribution System,” Bow Island Mayor Gordon Reynolds issued a statement over the issue in February. Credit: Bow Island/Burdett & District Chamber of Commerce

The small town of Bow Island, Alberta, southeast of Calgary, with a population of about 2,000, is facing a series of water-related charges under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act for offences alleged to have occurred between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2017.

Bow Island faces five charges for failing to take specific samples required under the Code of Practice for a Waterworks System Consisting Solely of a Water Distribution System. In this case, the samples not taken related to an annual check for lead, as well as chlorine residual sampling. The town failed to obtain water samples and submit the samples for physical, microbiological, radiological or chemical analysis by an approved laboratory, in accordance with the applicable code of practice.

Although the town was recently served a summons identifying alleged violations of the Code, Bow Island Mayor Gordon Reynolds had issued a statement over the issue in February.

“These charges relate to following proper procedures for testing and reporting. They do not relate to water quality findings. To the best of our knowledge, the quality of the town’s drinking water was not affected,” the town indicated in an official statement signed by the mayor.

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The town is also charged with subsequently failing to report its failure to obtain the samples and providing false or misleading information around it.

The town also faces a contravention of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement (Miscellaneous) Regulation, and a charge for failing to report structural or equipment malfunctions in its waterworks system, according to a statement from the province.

Additionally, former Bow Island employee Ryan Jeffery Sanderson faces two related charges for providing false or misleading information.

The town currently has a licensed operator with 10 years of experience, and additional staff are receiving continuous and ongoing training in water distribution. Standard Operating Procedures have been updated in consultation with Alberta Environment and Parks, officials noted in a statement.

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