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Sudbury chapter hosts forum on their city’s public water and wastewater systems

The Council of Canadians Sudbury chapter held a public forum to promote their city’s water and wastewater systems and to challenge bottled water.

Chapter activist Terri MacKinnon tells us, “On World Water Day the Sudbury Chapter hosted 40 people for an animated evening discussing the Sudbury City water and wastewater and the bottled water industry.”

MacKinnon notes, “After former chapter chair Andre Clement roused the audience by speaking about the Council of Canadians and the activities of the local chapter, Glenn Murray, the chief organizer of the event, presented a short film called The Story of Bottled Water. This 8-minute animated video described the history of bottled water and how the bottled water industry ‘sold’ us on the need for drinking bottled water. It also described the greed of the industry and the dangers to the environment presented by plastic bottles.”

She adds, “This was great lead-in to our two guest speakers from the City of Greater Sudbury Water/Wastewater works.” Those two guest speakers were Julie Friel, Manager of the City of Greater Sudbury Water Treatment Plant, and Mike Jenson, Manager of the City of Greater Sudbury Wastewater Treatment.”

As noted on the City’s website, “The City of Greater Sudbury covers the largest geographic area of any city in Ontario, necessitating an extensive infrastructure network to service a widely dispersed population. Our complex water and wastewater infrastructure includes two water treatment plants, 21 deep wells, 10 wastewater treatment plants and four sewage treatment lagoons. These facilities form part of a network that encompasses 873 km of underground water mains, 793 km of underground sewers, and 68 sewage lift stations.” Municipal water and wastewater workers are represented by CUPE 4705.

MacKinnon highlights, “Friel gave a lively, informative presentation, and very effectively answered a barrage of questions, including some not-so-friendly questions on the use of chlorine and fluoride in city water. Jensen then showed photos of plugged sewer pipes and provided graphic descriptions of the mechanical workings of the wastewater plant. The audience was totally caught up in his presentation and had so many questions for him that the event, which was supposed to end at 8:30 didn’t wrap up until 9.”

She concludes, “The feedback from participants was very positive with many offering thanks for organizing the event, and with a number signing up to do tours of the City Water and Wastewater plants. We had several Council of Canadians publications on water available for people to take away with them. We helped arm those who attended with knowledge and information to combat the use of bottled water and promote drinking city tap water.”

Murray adds, “What did we learn, lots! Members of the audience were engaged completely and lots of questions were asked and answered.”

Twenty-eight Council of Canadians chapters participated in World Water Day actions across the country this year.

Pacific – Chilliwack, Comox Valley, Cowichan Valley, Powell River, Whitehorse

Prairies-NWT – Brandon/Westman, Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Northwest Territories, Prince Albert

Ontario-Quebec – Centre Wellington, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal, Northumberland, Ottawa, Peterborough-Kawarthas, South Niagara, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Windsor-Essex, Quinte

Atlantic – Kent County, Prince Edward Island, Saint John, South Shore