I once owned a cottage in Wainfleet, Ontario (that’s in Canada).
I had helped set up the alternative University of Guelph student newspaper, The Peak, and then went off to be the editor of the Port Colborne News in 1988.
I owned the place for two months but made enough in flipping to cover real estate fees and broke even.
All I really remember about Wainfleet was one night on Lake Erie, with some friends and fungal hallucinogens, and, separately, this fab pic of my eldest, Madelynn, who is now 27 and has her own kid.
Unfortunately, those same houses where I once lived have been under a boil water advisory since 2006, after studies found widespread contamination of private wells with E. coli bacteria, coliform bacteria and nitrates.
The first thing I did when I bought the cottage back in 1989 was install a chlorine drip for the well water.
The Region spent millions of dollars on plans to hook up Wainfleet to water and sewer plants it operates under the so-called ‘big pipe’ plan. Wainfleet is the only local Niagara municipality that the Region doesn’t supply drinking water to.
But the Township of Wainfleet repealed its support for the big pipe plan in 2011, opting instead to embark on a what township mayor April Jeffs told regional council is a “find, repair and replace” plan to fix or replace faulty septic systems.
The province handed responsibility for overseeing smaller, private septic systems to local towns and cities in 1997. Wainfleet is one of three local municipalities in Niagara that haven’t contracted the Region to take care of that for them.
Visual, non-invasive inspections by a consultant hired by the township have found 203 of 1,126 private septic systems needing work or replacement, said Jeffs. About 45 property owners have already come forward for permits to do that work, she said.
Previous research by the Region has shown leaking septic systems can contribute to large ‘plumes’ of sewage going from property to property underground.
St. Catharines Coun. Tim Rigby said leaking septic systems could be leaching E. coli into Lake Erie, eventually reaching beaches and wells in north Niagara.
St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan called it disturbing to think of failing septic systems underground leaking dangerous contaminants.
“That’s very disturbing to know that daily…hundreds of septic systems are leaching every minute and every hour into the aquifer and possibly into Lake Erie,” he said.