AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
"I would like to be able to drink my water without fear and wash my clothes with no further damage."
LETTER TO THE EDITOR, WIARTON ECHO, SEP. 20, 2000.
SIX YEARS AGO, A DRINKING WATER experiment in small town Ontario resulted in residents complaining of damage to laundered clothes, taste and odour, and illness. Although the complaints attracted national media attention and resulted in the early termination of the study, the subsequent academic write-ups of the experiment declared it a success. The chemical company sponsoring the experiment and the university hosting it received a national award, and the study is now being cited in recommended revisions to federal drinking water guidelines and provincial standards. Requests by the Canadian Federation of Students to initiate an investigation into the Wiarton experiment publications have been dismissed repeatedly by the university and the relevant federal granting council.
The Drinking Water Research Group
THE TORONTO-BASED ERCO Worldwide is a major player in the pulp and paper industry. For decades, the company has focused on promoting and producing chlorine dioxide for use as an alternative to chlorine for pulp and paper bleaching. But you will never see a truck or rail car transporting chlorine dioxide: because of the chemical's explosive and unstable nature, it must be generated on-site. ERCO supplies the pulp industry with the chemical generators and precursor materials needed to bleach pulp with chlorine dioxide.
Business, however, had peaked, leading ERCO to seek out greener pastures for the chlorine dioxide business. ERCO's 2003 Annual Report to its shareholders lamented the saturation of the North American pulp market, but saw the potential for growth in two areas: the Asian pulp market and the "industrial and municipal water treatment" sector.
To explore the latter, in the 1990s ERCO had begun working with the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. At that time, according to the Canadian federal granting agency, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), "ERCO's research team began to develop other applications for chlorine dioxide ... spawning a new initiative at the university: the Drinking Water Research Group." According to the Group's literature, its primary objective is to bring together industry, utilities, and university researchers to develop new innovations in water quality, treatment, and distribution.
Experimenting with Wiarton's water
BETTER KNOWN FOR ITS LATE groundhog Willie and his annual "atmospheric-science-meets-zoology" predictions of seasonal duration, Wiarton, Ontario was the site of an ambitious experiment on its drinking water system …