Salty water in Kennedy Redwood

In this October 2017, file photo, the entrance to the Kennedy Redwood Estates subdivision near Bainsville, Ont. in South Glengarry. A drinking water report shows the system in Kennedy Redwood was flagged in 2021 for high sodium levels. The deputy mayor says it's been a historical issue. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

BAINSVILLE – A subdivision in the eastern area of South Glengarry has some slightly salty water.

The findings for the Kennedy Redwood Estates neighbourhood were revealed Monday night in an annual report of drinking water and sewage systems in South Glengarry.

The maximum acceptable concentration for sodium, known as the “aesthetic objective” is 200 milligrams per liter. Above that amount, the water starts to have a slightly salty taste. Kennedy Redwood had a reading of 254 milligrams.

The “adverse water quality” was noted on Jan. 7, 2021 and residents were handed notices at their door, the report states.

During Monday’s discussion, a somewhat concerned Deputy Mayor Stephanie Jaworski asked if something could be done.

“It has to do with the sodium issue, and I shouldn’t call it an issue because it’s not a health issue (because) their sodium results are higher than the average…not because it’s a health concern because people get far more salt in what they eat. But if there was a resident on a sodium-restricted diet they would need to be aware that the water has a different level of sodium. This is sort of a historical thing there. Is there anything we could do in that water system to lower the sodium values?” Jaworski said.

Water and Wastewater Director Dillen Seguin said there is a solution through reverse osmosis but it’s “fairly costly” to put in the plant. He said the best way would be for homeowners to treat the water in their home with a reverse osmosis system.

The high salt content can be troublesome for people with hypertension, chronic kidney disease or congestive heart failure, who try to limit their sodium intake.

Not only is the water salty but the subdivision will be paying a lot more for their water in the future.

Kennedy Redwood residents, including vacant parcels of land, pay a flat rate of $1,107.50 for water only. Their bills are going up 3.75 per cent every year through 2025 and then 3 per cent in 2026.

In 2020, the system had 26 users.

They had been facing a possible 10 per cent increase yearly before it was adjusted following a review by township staff, based on a consultant’s report. The increase was passed in December 2021 and took effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

As for the yearly water and wastewater reports, council accepted them last night and they will be submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Environment.

The Kennedy Redwood situation was among six non-compliance issues with water and sewer systems in South Glengarry, which were mostly technical or software related. Seguin noted all the problems were addressed and corrected when they were found.