News

No plans for solution at water plant

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

SIMCOE - 

High sodium in the water from the Cedar Street well-field is a chronic problem with no obvious remedy.

Norfolk public works says high sodium readings can appear at any time in Simcoe and that the county has no immediate plans to invest in a solution.

“At this point we have nothing in our capital budget for that,” Stephanie Davis, a water and wastewater compliance supervisor with Norfolk, said Wednesday.

Late last month, Norfolk’s acting medical officer of health penned a letter to Simcoe residents that was inserted in the town’s most recent water bill.

Dr. Malcolm Lock noted that provincial law requires public notification when sodium readings in municipal water exceed 20 milligrams per litre. Readings in Simcoe in recent months have ranged from nine milligrams to 75 milligrams per litre.

Lock offered re-assurances this week that the situation is only a concern for people with the utmost sensitivity to salt. Examples include people with serious high blood pressure and certain heart conditions.

“This is not a massive increase in levels here,” Lock said. “It’s only moderately above what the province recommends.

“You’d have to drink many gallons of water at a time for it to be an issue. You’d likely suffer from over-hydration before the sodium becomes an issue. We just like to be transparent about these things.”

The circular in Simcoe’s water bill contained food comparisons to put the salt-sodium situation in perspective.

The provincial standard for drinking water is 20 milligrams per litre. Meanwhile, a serving of corned beef will contain about 800 milligrams, an average dill pickle will contain 920 milligrams, and a serving of soya sauce will contain more than 1,000 milligrams.

As a doctor, Lock said he would focus on a salt-sensitive patient’s dietary habits before he would warn them about Simcoe’s tap water.

Davis added that Simcoe’s sodium levels fluctuate because the town is served by three different well-fields. As such, the water is blended. These well-fields are located on Chapel Street, Cedar Street and on Fourteenth Street in the north end of town.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com