Province seizes control of community’s water supply by Michael Wright, January 24, 2014, Calgary Herald
The province has taken over the water supply system of a community outside Airdrie after its operator failed to meet basic standards. Residents of the Sharp Hills subdivision just south of the town had reported ongoing problems with the supply and quality of drinking water provided by North East Water Systems Ltd (NEWS). NEWS, run by Airdrie company Dockman and Associates, had received multiple notices from Environment Alberta and the Alberta Utilities Commission to renew its expired water licence. The company had until Monday to comply. It didn’t, and on Friday the province seized control of the property and management of the system, cutting the locks and installing new ones.
It appointed another company, Corix Utilities, to truck water to the neighbourhood to be piped into the homes. About 30 properties are supplied by the system. Alberta Utilities Commission spokesman Jim Law said Dockman director Michael Dockman had ignored repeated requests to bring the system up to standard. “Because he hadn’t responded in any way to comply at any point we issued the order without notice.” Law said the unannounced takeover became necessary this week when Dockman’s Jan. 20 deadline came and went, and with it the company’s permission to keep operating the system. “There were concerns that without that system remaining pressurized there could be a very serious degradation or contamination in the pipes.”
Many families had installed water tanks in their homes to protect against the inadequate supply, Law said. “(But) this wasn’t going to be sufficient to meet their needs. Some of them were families with young children.”
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Jessica Ernst at her home in Rosebud, Alberta, loading her water tank for a 1.5 hour trip to get 185 gallons of safe potable water. After Encana fractured Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers, enabled by the regulators and government, Jessica’s water is too dangerous to flush toilets with and is too dangerous to be connected to her home. Jessica has been hauling her own water for 6 years, receives no assistance and her visitors rarely think to bring their own water.