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More needed for lead testing of water

After putting out a call in early September and only getting three responses so far, the Town of Fort Frances needs more homeowners to participate in testing their water for lead.

Operations and Facilities manager Doug Brown said at last night’s council meeting that under new provincial water regulations, the town is required to test for lead in 40 households twice a year for the next two years, and would like to see residents help meet that requirement.

“The town is requesting all interested homeowners to contact the Operations and Facilities division office as soon as possible in order that the town can complete the necessary testing in a systematic fashion,” noted Brown.

Under these regulations, testing will commence Dec. 15 and wrap up by April 15, 2008. A second round will take place from June 15-Oct. 15, 2008.

All test results will be provided to each homeowner free of charge.

There is no cost for the testing—residents just have to allow a town water operator into their dwelling for 45 minutes twice a year.

During each visit, water operators will take three one-litre samples, which will be tested for lead, alkalinity, and pH.

For participants, the town’s looking for properties located between

Central Avenue east to Colonization Road East, from Sixth Street south to the river, and from Central Avenue west to McIrvine Road, from the CN tracks south to the river.

The areas of town being tested reflect where it is believed the concentration of lead services are.

Based on the results of the two testing periods, the town may be able to reduce the number of properties tested, and the frequency of testing, in future years.

Brown said the testing is more a matter of following provincial regulations than a cause for alarm.

In fact, testing done here in May showed that of the 20 properties tested, all had lead levels far below the maximum safe concentration of 10 micrograms per litre of water.

“Based on our results that happened in May of this year, we won’t fail unless there’s an anomaly out there,” said Brown.

Anyone interested in participating in this survey, or requiring more information, should call 274-9893. If there’s no answer, leave your name and telephone number.

Also at last night’s meeting, which was held a day late due to the Thanksgiving holiday, council:

•referred a letter of concern from Doug Murray, Abitibi-Consolidated’s regional manager, regarding available building lots and housing for sale in Fort Frances to the Planning and Development executive committee for its investigation and recommendation;

•referred a request from the Fort Frances Police Services Board regarding the formation of a border traffic committee to the Community Services executive committee, with input from the traffic safety committee;

•referred a financial request from Kevin Nielson of Shoppers Drug Mart regarding its “Tree of Life” campaign to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation;

•referred a report from municipal planner Faye Flatt, regarding an appeal of a minor variance from the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board, to the Planning and Development executive committee for its recommendation;

•passed a bylaw to authorize the signing of an agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local #65;

•approved a request for support from Parents Against Illicit Narcotics (PAIN);

•received an invitation to the Rainy River District Harvest Dinner on Oct. 13 (Coun. John Albanese and a guest will be attending);

•approved travel expense claims for Mayor Roy Avis and Couns. John Albanese, Sharon Tibbs, and Rick Wiedenhoeft;

•accepted an offer from Gillons’ Insurance to renew the town’s insurance policy and ordered that an authorizing bylaw be prepared;

•approved a request from the MNR to erect a tourist information sign on the highway right of way adjacent to George Armstrong Co. Ltd. (1404 King’s Hwy.), subject to Bylaw 5/78; and

•approved merchant agreements with Global for point of sale debit machines for the municipality, and ordered that an authorizing bylaw be prepared.

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