Letter to Board regarding water quality complaint

To: Board of Directors
From: Ed Pilon
Date: November 2009
Subject: Complaint made to Ontario Environmental Commission on septic systems and water quality at Lake Matinenda

An article (see attached) appeared in The Sault Star on Thursday, Nov. 5th regarding complaints made to Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE). Two applicants filed a request for investigation citing concerns over alleged inadequate and/or antiquated septic systems that are discharging waste into the lake. The reporter writing the article did contact me, however I did not reply as I did not receive the email until two days after the article had already gone to print. As a rule, I will not comment to any paper on any issue regarding our lake unless I have all of the information available on the subject.

The report states that the water quality of our lake meets the provincial standards, as do those gathered by Dick Brennan’s which are done on the Association’s behalf and those of the Algoma Public Health Department. Thus, I feel confident that Environmental Commission was correct in denying a further investigation.

I have since attained a copy of the actual report (see attached). Soon after, Jim Hamilton and I met with a spokesman APHU who assured us that they were satisfied with the testing and the water quality of our lake. They will continue to investigate specific alleged septic system infractions, but that they do not have the money or the manpower to carry out a full blown investigation based on seemingly unwarranted concerns.

Since the appearance of the article in The Star, I have been received e-mails and comments from a number of lake residents. Several people simply wanted the Board to know that they privately tested the water at their individual cottages and it “was perfect”. In general, most residents were simply curious to know who had made the complaints. I let them know that the Ministry does not release that information, but rumors abound.

In reading the report, I was concerned that the applicants had presented pictures along with their requests, which would imply that these individuals were on private property without authorization. In discussing this with Robin, her first question was “What inspired the applicant’s concern in the first place?” She wondered if there a problem or specific areas of the lake where they had experiences of which we were unaware and if that were the case, she thought it would have been helpful to let us know as well so that we could investigate it further ourselves.

After reading the attachments, I would be interested in knowing your thoughts regarding both the report and our response and/or solution to this continuing saga.