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No compensation from Municipality for extended boil-water advisory in Queens

By Evan Taylor Sep 25, 2023 | 1:48 PM

More than a month has passed since the Region of Queens issued a boil water advisory, leaving many residents in the Liverpool area questioning whether they will receive compensation for the disruptions caused by the situation.

The predicament began on August 9 when a lightning strike disabled the water treatment station, rendering the water supply undrinkable for residents served by the local water utility.

Throughout the duration of the boil-water advisory, residents have been relying on the Cowie well as a source of fresh, potable water.

Concerns about potential compensation were raised during the public comment segment of the council meeting held on September 12. A resident inquired whether there would be any form of reimbursement to help offset the increased electricity costs associated with boiling water and the expenses incurred in purchasing alternative water sources.

Mayor Darlene Norman addressed these concerns, explaining that the Region of Queens would not be offering refunds. She clarified that the water utility operates as a separate legal entity, and its rates are determined by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Norman emphasized that the utility’s operational income is entirely derived from its customers and does not rely on the Region of Queens’ financial resources. She stated, “Crediting is simply taking money out of your pocket and then hauling it back out the next month. The utility must support itself from the customers within it. It’s not part of our Region of Queens bookwork; it has its own bookwork, and the utility must be supported by its users.”

Addressing the ongoing repair efforts, Norman pointed out that these repairs were incurring significant expenses for the utility. She expressed doubts that customers would witness any rebate on their bills, as billing is primarily based on water consumption, regardless of whether the water is potable. Norman acknowledged the inconvenience faced by residents but stressed the unlikelihood of billing adjustments related to consumption.

Mayor Norman’s latest report highlighted that the utility was awaiting a stable power supply to the plant before initiating repairs. This precaution was taken to prevent any damage to the replacement equipment during the repair process.