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2014-03-16 at 15:37

Drink from the tap

By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
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Paying to drink bottled water seems ludicrous when living at the head of the world’s largest freshwater lake.

That’s one of the key themes of the city’s recognition of Canada Water Week, the beginning of which was marked at the Baggage Building at Prince Arthur’s Landing on Sunday.

EcoSuperior program coordinator Ashley Priem frequently fields inquiries from people regarding the safety and cleanliness of the city’s tap water. There is nothing to worry about, she says.

“There is some misinformation out there. The City of Thunder Bay puts out a water quality report every year that’s available online and it’s amazing to learn how fortunate we are,” Priem said, adding the only chemical that’s added is chlorine.

“The quality of our waste water actually surpasses some country’s drinking water...It’s really the best thing to be drinking.”

To start the week, the city and EcoSuperior were giving away free reusable bottles to anybody who pledged to turn their backs on buying bottled water.

They also had a taste test of bottled, filtered and tap water to see how many people could detect a difference between the three.

The local chapter of the Council of Canadians is seeking the city to earn the designation of being a blue community. Part of that designation is achieved through the banning of bottled water at municipal facilities and functions.

According to Council of Canadians local blue community initiative chair Janice Horgos, there is less certainty about the source of bottled water than the local Lake Superior water that flows from the tap.

“We don’t know where that comes from. Bottled water is guided by other regulations other than the city’s municipal tap water,” she said.

“Their plants are required to be inspected once every one to three years but the tap water here is inspected hundreds of times a day on a continuous basis.”

In addition to water quality, Horgos said the environmental costs of bottled water are staggering.

She estimates that it takes the equivalent of three to five bottles of water and a quarter of a bottle of oil to produce one water bottle.

In addition to focusing on bottled water, the week will also draw attention to protecting water quality.

Mayor Keith Hobbs read a proclamation at the start of the event, officially declaring the week in the city.

Story continues after video...



The mayor serves as the chair of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities’ Initiative and said Thunder Bay’s location makes water a primary concern.

“A lot of people take water for granted and we’re trying to educate people on the water levels in the Great Lakes, invasive species, microplastics and things that can affect the drinking water for about 20 million people,” Hobbs said.

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities’ Initiative is scheduled to hold their annual general meeting in Thunder Bay in June.

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We've improved our comment system.
Wolfie says:
From the article:

“The quality of our waste water actually surpasses some country’s drinking water...It’s really the best thing to be drinking.”

I'll skip the waste water, thanks.
3/16/2014 5:45:27 PM
tsb says:
What about soft drinks? Pepsi is just Winnipeg's tap water with corn syrup and flavouring. Do we get free stuff if we give that up too?
3/16/2014 6:15:53 PM
codvx87 says:
I really don't care how safe they say the tap water is or how many brita filters you run it through the water that comes out of the taps here is disgusting
3/16/2014 6:49:35 PM
cachinnate says:
You obviously havent tasted the water from other cities throughout the country. I'll take the water in Thunder Bay anyday over what I've had in Calgary, Winnipeg, Regina, Kitchener etc.
3/19/2014 2:40:00 PM
sweetazmaple says:
you really want to trust the water in thunder bay 1997 water contamination is the reason why ppl use bottled water
3/16/2014 10:24:48 PM
SomeGuy says:
That was 15 years ago. Pretty sure things have changed since then.
3/17/2014 12:45:51 PM
cachinnate says:
If I recall correctly, in 1997 there was a boil water advisory for the south side of town, due to the presence of Giardia in the system. At that time the south side water originated at the Loch Lomond site, and a temporary filtration plant was installed as a solution to the problem. Since then, Loch Lomond is no longer used to supply water to the city. All city water now comes from Bare Point which utilizes a modern 'ultra filtration' membrane system, in addition to traditional chlorine disinfection. The water here is probably better than what you will find in most other urban centres.
3/19/2014 3:25:51 PM
flutterbye807 says:
I would never drink the city tap water. If you smell my water, (Port Arthur), it wreaks of chlorine, so strong you can smell it when the tap is running. I filter my water and even my dog dosen't get it from the tap! I only use water from the tap to do dishes, laundry and bathe.
3/16/2014 11:15:05 PM
pc says:
when we go to TB we take a kettle a coffee press and tea.
the kettle boils the water and that is the only water from a tap we use.
At home we have a life straw water filter and can now drink water that is filtered and not have to spend $40 a week on water.
3/17/2014 6:29:38 AM
Watchmaker says:
Bottled water is one of the biggest scams in the market place. Although some manufacturers purchase municipal water and simply bottle it for sale, in Ontario, municipal drinking water is more rigorously tested and treated than most bottled water you can buy over the counter. Drinking bottled water is expensive, wasteful, self indulgent and totally unnecessary.
3/17/2014 7:40:41 AM
sky high says:
lol everyone here whining about our water and yet they probably all had a greasy chicken dinner and then a cigarette afterwards to relax.
3/17/2014 7:51:20 AM
citymtnbiker says:
I can understand the city wanting to cut down on the amount of plastic bottles in landfills but they should be encouraging people to buy reverse osmosis or carbon filters to clean the tap water before drinking.
3/17/2014 8:42:01 AM
ring of fire dude says:
I can't afford to drink City water , it's cheaper to buy bottled !
3/17/2014 8:59:36 AM
Undrgrnd says:
So let's put down our 20$ water bottles and our daily aquafinas and look at the reality of the situation. Our tap water is fine. You're are buying into the "bottled/filtered water" hype. Where do you think 75% of bottled water comes from? You think some 80 year old himalayan sherpas are fetching it every day from an ancient cave known only to them? Seriously, it's the same stuff that's in your tap!

People have been drinking tap water since it was conveniently delivered to our homes. And since we are all here to complain about our water today, it obviously didn't kill everyone.

Aaaaaaaaaand before someone throws the '97 incident in my face, yes I am aware and yes they did fix the problem by adding a barrier filtration system. That being said, is an airport not the safest directly after a security threat?

3/17/2014 9:35:14 AM
Bienriff says:
I agree to drinking tap water. But if you go to events at the Fort William Gardens, you are not allowed to bring anything in with you to carry water and the taps there I would not drink from or even allow a dead critter to drink from. You don't know what other people have done there before you. This also applies to other city venues.
3/17/2014 11:11:22 AM
sugar says:
Tap water reeks of chlorine.drink bottle water.
3/17/2014 11:56:50 AM
cachinnate says:
A simple brita filter takes care of the chlorine taste. I always keep a Brita jug full of tap water on hand.
3/19/2014 2:41:29 PM
AndersonSilvasLeg says:
I'm not trying to offend here but, if you buy bottled water you are an idiot.

It's more expensive than gasoline, and for the most part is just another city's tap water with a few added minerals or chemicals.

Nothing but a cash grab. And then we throw the bottles away or maybe some people even chose to recycle them.

Buy a large Brita jug or one of those huge, square jug filters you can store in your fridge with the pull spout. That will save you lots of money and garbage.

Or, just keep being sheep.
3/17/2014 12:48:48 PM
pc says:
The water may be fine but it tastes terrible. If the taste is bad nobody is going to enjoy drinking it.
3/17/2014 1:10:47 PM
RMO says:
I'm pretty sure there's fluoride in there too.
3/17/2014 1:14:57 PM
passlake says:
i also live in port arthur and my water is perfectly fine and so are the taps of everyone else I know in this city that has municipal water. if you have issues with your water, it is YOUR house that is the problem. maybe you should consider getting an expert in to address your problem.

and no.. bottled water is not cheaper. the 2009 city report puts the cost of a litre at 0.2 cents... if a bottle of water cost $1 (its probably more...) that means you can buy 500 litres of tap water for the same price as that bottle. do the math.. it isn't even close.
3/17/2014 3:33:24 PM
Ehm _Gee says:
Sure the waters good but what about the pipes that carry it to me all the way over here in the south side.
3/17/2014 8:09:46 PM
Arch Stanton says:
Quote: "the only chemical that’s added is chlorine."

Which explains why it tastes like drinking from a swimming pool. And if anyone is in any doubt about the "safety" of Chlorine, just Google: Chlorine and Bladder / Bowel Cancer Rates.

But don't take my word for it:

"Chlorine is extremely dangerous and poisonous for all living organisms, and was historically used in World War I as the first gaseous chemical warfare agent."

3/18/2014 9:37:41 AM
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