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PUC responds to latest brown water complaints

Saturday, March 01, 2014   by: Staff



Brown water complaints ‐ East end of city

Some PUC customers in the east end of the city have experienced brown water coming from their taps Saturday afternoon March 1.

Earlier in the day, a watermain in the area of Pim and Bruce Streets broke due to frost in the roadway.

PUC crews are currently repairing the break.

In order to maintain adequate supply of water to customers without depleting storage reservoirs, the Lorna Well production had to be increased to maximum output.

This resulted in reversal of water flow patterns in the distribution pipes in the east end of the city causing the discoloured water.

Consumers that do draw discoloured water need not be alarmed.

While PUC does not recommend anyone consume discoloured water, the water is and will remain safe for use at all times.

Discoloured water is the result of a change in flow direction which stirs up pre‐existing sediment that has been collecting for many years due to internal corrosion of cast iron and cement pipes.

The sediment, once disturbed, can remain suspended for quite some time.

Anyone that does draw discoloured water should call PUC Customer Service at 705‐759‐6522 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 705‐759‐6555 at all other times.

We regret any inconvenience this may cause our customers, and wish to thank everyone for their understanding and cooperation.


Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
axalon 3/1/2014 8:46:05 PM Report

Yep.. Perfectly safe to drink. Just like the melted snow in the boot tray of your car or the water in a mud puddle.
andrews 3/1/2014 8:54:05 PM Report

I, personally, am sick of hearing the "reverse water flow" excuse. NEVER happened before the new purification process. BITE ME PUC
anapeg 3/1/2014 8:56:14 PM Report

If they stick to their story and repeat it often enough even they will believe it true.
Entitledtomyopinion 3/1/2014 8:59:24 PM Report

To quote Chris Rock (not verbatim, mind you), on the topic of it being safe to drink discoloured water: "You can drive your car with your foot, but that doesn't make it a good idea".
nanci 3/1/2014 9:22:45 PM Report

Right, its OK to bath our babies in BROWN WATER???
lizzardskills 3/1/2014 9:23:20 PM Report

I thought the city and P.U.C. were in the works of a solution for this. It can't be fixed by the drop of a hat especially in the middle of winter. At least we still have water coming out of our taps.
NB113 3/1/2014 9:26:23 PM Report

So because the PUC didn't want to disrupt the flow of water to their new palace, they send the East end a batch of toilet water. Good enough for them.
NB113 3/1/2014 9:37:10 PM Report

Also this is another case of a bad management decision with inadequate warning (actually no warning) to affected residents and no postings on their website.
bbcat 3/1/2014 10:14:03 PM Report

PUC you are there to serve the public,we deserve good drinking water like we had before. you,re services cost enough, so deliver a quality product. you,re are not saving money for the community you are saving money for the greedy smart conniving rich bosses.
bbcat 3/1/2014 10:14:47 PM Report

PUC you are there to serve the public,we deserve good drinking water like we had before. you,re services cost enough, so deliver a quality product. you,re are not saving money for the community you are saving money for the greedy smart conniving rich bosses.
Sam C 3/1/2014 10:24:59 PM Report

Earlier this evening, I watched a video of Matt Damon, who spoke of visiting Haiti to work on a new water project in one of the villages. He was speaking to a 13-year old girl, and asked her how long it took her each day to walk to where (prior to this well being installed) there was clean water and bring it back to her home.

Her answer? Three hours.

Think about that before you complain, folks.

@andrews... whether you're sick of that explanation or not, that is the facts behind what has happened. And it DID happen before the change in disinfection. It is an unfortunate coincidence that the problems with the Lorna well developed at about the same time.

As the PUC has stated previously, the Lorna well has been determined to be the source of the brown water, and its use has been limited,. Unfortunately, due to the main break today, production from it had to be increased, and pumped BACK toward downtown, stirring up the sediment.

Sam C 3/1/2014 10:29:14 PM Report

@NB... the water for their "Palace" doesn't come from Pim Street. What they were attempting to do is provide water to residents living below-the-hill, from Pim toward the east end. Since the flow from Pim Street was cut off, they had to pump back from the east end supply.

Our water supply comes from an inter-connected network of wells, supplemented by water drawn from L Superior at Gros Cap.
Sam C 3/1/2014 10:32:20 PM Report
R0FL0L 3/1/2014 10:34:20 PM Report

nanci please be assured your baby will be safe if you don't wash her/ him for 1 day.
R0FL0L 3/1/2014 10:41:27 PM Report

I would like to thank all PUC worker for working and fixing the water main while the Polar Vortex is keeping us in a deep freeze.
I hope you guys keep warm.
Thank you!!
Don't take these complaints serious. Not one of them would come out to do the work you are doing during this weather not even for 5 minutes.
And NO!!! I am not working for the PUC and I am not related or married or have any other affiliation with the PUC or the City. Other then paying my taxes and my water and electricity bills.
superior87 3/1/2014 10:46:42 PM Report

Can a single person provide any explanation of what is wrong with their explanation? Anyone? All I read is complaints. If they have to do this because of a water main burst, what are they supposed to do?

Nothing but complaints, nothing about solutions - because you're not qualified to speak on these issues. If you are, by all means speak up. Let's hear you.

Otherwise you're providing absolutely nothing to the discourse on this. You're just complaining even though you have yet to prove you understand what you're complaining about.

Guess what - some things in life are unavoidable.

But no, I'm sure the Sault Ste. Marie residents working at PUC are all out to screw you over.

You don't think any PUC workers live in areas that have been affected by this? GUARANTEED. So they just unnecessarily give themselves brown water, is basically the argument going on here.
Derd78 3/1/2014 10:59:38 PM Report

"While PUC does not recommend anyone consume discoloured water, the water is and will remain safe for use at all times." Really do not consume but it is safe. If it was safe, it would be safe to consume
dadal 3/1/2014 11:17:13 PM Report

This is the second time within one week that the water main at Pim and Bruce in front of the new Toyota dealer has given way. Yet for both times of it being damaged, this is the only time they had to do the reversal. As I live in the area, I've seen non stop water main breaks on various spots of Pim, McDonald, McNabb and between. I feel sorry for the guys to fix these non stop breaks but I think it relates to the age of our water system in the city. Slapping bandaids on the problem isn't helping things. The issues with the water system will have to be properly addressed and corrected sooner than later.
Javaman 3/1/2014 11:29:18 PM Report

Sam C is looking for a seat on the PUC I swear.
Beej 3/1/2014 11:34:30 PM Report

Quote dadal:
"The issues with the water system will have to be properly addressed and corrected sooner than later."

Nuh uh!, the money to replace the ancient infrastructure was already blown on a new overpriced building (with no parking), so, that is not going to happen!
The rate at which they intend to replace the aging infrastructure is a joke and will be biting them (and us) in the ass many, many times, for years to come.
Only one thing you can be 100% sure of when dealing with the PUC, your bill will always continue to increase.
H.E.T. 3/2/2014 12:34:52 AM Report

Maybe next time a main breaks due to the cold and frost, PUC should just shut off supply to the east end to avoid the brown water issue. Then wait until the next day to start repairs to avoid the noise complaints, but that would cause traffic interruption complaints. anyone see the pattern here? You will NEVER make all the whiners and cryers happy no matter what you do. Anyone that can do the job better get off your ass and do it. I don't work for the PUC but I do know what it is like to deal with never happy whiners.
nanci 3/2/2014 12:40:56 AM Report

Roflol, ...

How bout you BATH in DIRTY BROWN WATER yourself. THen get back to us?

I'm In 3/2/2014 1:13:19 AM Report

R0FL0L: When PUC workers are called out on an emergency they are paid double time and a 1/2, polar vortex or not they are going and no one cares if your related to anyone or work at PUC.

@ Sam C do us all a favor and move to Haiti so we don't have to read your stupidity anymore.
wandering 3/2/2014 1:21:31 AM Report

just came back from Montreal and I am aunt got a bigger place than i do here in the Sault Electric heat like me and she show me her bill for 2 month...145......just came back and guess how my stupid hydro bill is...445..this is a joke ..i live in the east end...bad water...smell awful..not even good to drink...and that stupid hydro bill
goldenvehicle 3/2/2014 2:41:03 AM Report

Shur glad they all got new offices .

Guess hoo pay for this ....
Not even a sorry ...
james_e 3/2/2014 5:03:42 AM Report

@sam c the bullshit part of ur little story is that little girl isn't paying between 125.00 and 200.00 a month for little or bad service, where is the puc boss apologizing to the community. We deserve better service than what we are getting maybe we should be getting cases of water from them. Give us a break give answers, maybe instead of moving into a nice new shiney palace on 2nd line they should have fixed water problem first
David Poluck 3/2/2014 5:57:22 AM Report

When is the next board meeting of PUC Inc?
How many of you will attend?
The meetings are open to attend. Posting here solves nothing.
sunbun 3/2/2014 7:10:06 AM Report

I'm all for keeping things in perspective..we live a privileged life in North America where even our poor are richer than those in other countries. HOWEVER, the water yesterday also smelled horrible. It's not just that it was brown. It was an infuriating waste of my time - and money - to have to re-wash laundry and dishes because I started the cycles without checking the quality or smell of the water. All I want is notice!!! It takes 1 minute to put a quick notice on SooToday!! NO EXCUSES!!!
Gurpy 3/2/2014 7:48:25 AM Report

Oh! This is rich!! Now the PUC doesn`t reccomend anyone drink discolored water?? So, they finally gave up on insulting our intelligence? W5 all the way!!!
Gurpy 3/2/2014 7:51:20 AM Report

This is NOT Haiti! We pay for clean, clear water! People have every right to complain!
thefly22 3/2/2014 7:51:21 AM Report

It was reported in the news that Winnipeg has over 500 water line breaks and people have been without water for weeks. My water was discoloured last night but clear by this morning. Suck it up, buttercup, things could always be worse.
abegator 3/2/2014 8:03:02 AM Report

It’s time PUC gets their head out of their A!! and uses a simple Poly Pig or better yet Ice Pig to clean the lines, everyone else does this. Works, up to 85% removal, may take 3 to 6 shots to get it done. But your only there one time. No more continual brown water.
DINOBOY 3/2/2014 8:24:03 AM Report

Thanks for my morning entertainment while i have my coffee...Just pretend it's whine and have a little cheese....
wandering 3/2/2014 8:34:11 AM Report

NB113 3/2/2014 8:42:56 AM Report

SamC - while you are trying to make intelligent sounding comments you actually come off as quite stupid. You are trying to justify the PUC turning on a well that makes the water for a large section of the city unusable. And to add to the problem, there is no notice given. A lame press release issued hours after is not acceptable. If you love Haiti so much then go live there. Don't go giving ridiculous comparisons. Just because there are no tanks rumbling down our streets like in the Ukraine doesn't make me happy that Stephen Harper is my Prime Minister. I expect better.
kadynce 3/2/2014 9:00:41 AM Report

All we ask is fix the problem or cut the cost, reinburse us or discount us in some way for all this brown water.Paying for something we can't really use does not make sense to me just saying. Paying to distribute this quality of water is wrong, paying such high prices for water we can't use is wrong, making dumb excuses for it even more wrong. Great job city of SSM and PUC.
McKinnon 3/2/2014 9:33:19 AM Report

Why is it always certain neighbourhoods in the east end, it is not all of them. I called shortly after 4 to report it and requested a call back, nothing. Nothing on their webpage. It would have even been nice if there was a recording stating "if you are calling about discoloured water in the east end AGAIN we are aware of it and working on it. ". So sick and tired of hearing the same old excuse. AGAIN WHY JUST CERTAIN NEIGHBOURHOODS IN THE EAST END. Out to buy another case of water and a new water filter for my fridge. The water was still brown at 11:00 last night and yes I was flushing my taps steady!!!! WASTE.
Moonshiner 3/2/2014 9:36:51 AM Report

Put a filter on the Lorna well,or drill a new one!
cdnhunter 3/2/2014 9:55:21 AM Report

Keep emailing the ward 1 councillors Paul Christian and Steve Butland
Norm 3/2/2014 10:06:38 AM Report

Boy you're a dandy SamC. You and Steve Butland must be friends or think a like's. We are surrounded by the most beautiful fresh water lakes in the world. You compare the Soo to a little girl in Haiti. You continue to make little sense on many topics.
friendlyone24 3/2/2014 10:09:01 AM Report

New Government guidelines through NECCAC.....
All wound irrigations are to be done with TAP water from the home....unless persons have well water or live rural.
Check it out....give them a call....they will be more than happy to explain to you why they are taking sterile water and normal saline out of the supplies.
PS: they ARE allowing 2-4x4 gauze, one package q-tip[2], and one forceps for your wound.
THIS STARTS NOW.....apparently new safe practice guidelines.....although nurses have not seen the scientific results to prove.
Give NECCAC a phone call....I know they would love to explain this to the public.
Big Deal 3/2/2014 10:28:46 AM Report

People in HAITI are not OVERPAYING for their sewer/water and getting raped financially for their product!!! I think the "bizarre" part of the whole situation is the contradictive remark from PUC itself...."we do not recommend drinking discoloured water, but it is safe to drink!"!!! PUC is a monopoly here in Sault Ste. Marie and they are raping everyone financially with their OVERPRICED "UNACCEPTABLE" services because people of Sault Ste. Marie has no other options!!! I agree with the poster who suggested "W5"!!! I CAN'T believe someone HASN'T called the news giant to investigate this and make PUC own up their ridiculous answers???
cdnhunter 3/2/2014 10:38:27 AM Report

I agree W5 should be informed, maybe then the PUC will see how fed up we are, cause they are not giving a sh$t right now
foxylady069 3/2/2014 10:42:16 AM Report

I used to live in the east end until the end of 2013. I know the brown water issues are gross. I paid for bottled water to make formula for my baby and to hydrate my children and myself. I also would buy bottled water every so often to have on hand .....just in case. Now I live in a house with a boiler heating system. PUC cannot just shut off the water flow to the east end in the freezing cold because many homes and apartments building with boiler heat need the water to heat the homes.
I do believe there should have been something posted as soon as they knew the Lorna pump was going to be increased as a general warning of caution. At least then the residents would be aware of the situation and could have prepared themselves.
iamtc 3/2/2014 10:48:00 AM Report

I am sick and tired of most u people talking crazy how about protest outside puc building everyday... I could provide clean drinking water obviously it won't be out of our taps
Vicci 3/2/2014 11:04:02 AM Report

Well a water main break at Pim and Bruce creates a water shortage below the hill. I haven’t been to all the PUC meetings about this, but one would think there should be some redundancy being designed into the water main grid. If the Lorna Street well is the source of the problem when its flow rate is changed, it seems that the problem has been identified what are the solution?? Just suck it up to the people that are affected in the area is not the answer. If this was happening to another area of the city would the answer be the same? I.e. A business district or more affluent area. The water rate in this city is not a bargain basement rate and the water rate is equal for all areas of the city. If you have no confidence in the PUC to fix the problem I think I’d bite the bullet and have some sort of filtration installed in my household.
cdnhunter 3/2/2014 11:13:17 AM Report

So Vicci you are saying we should not do anything, just pay for dirty water, give your head a shake will ya
ash234 3/2/2014 11:14:09 AM Report

Maybe it's just coincidence that my son is puking and sh***ing every 5 minutes today. He's already had the flu this year, or come to think of it that might have been the couple weeks ago when our water was brown before. Both times i've noticed the brown water when he's already sitting in the bath. I don't recall ever having brown water until they turned it into this chlorified junk.
ash234 3/2/2014 11:14:49 AM Report

Maybe it's just coincidence that my son is puking and sh***ing every 5 minutes today. He's already had the flu this year, or come to think of it that might have been the couple weeks ago when our water was brown before. Both times i've noticed the brown water when he's already sitting in the bath. I don't recall ever having brown water until they turned it into this chlorified junk.
boilertyme 3/2/2014 12:11:53 PM Report

PUC's response seems to be , you get what we give you. I'm very surprised to see that intelligent people are accepting this response. Are you not entered into a binding agreement which would state each parties rights and obligations.A right of a customer being acceptable potable water.
Buzzola 3/2/2014 12:45:44 PM Report

Sam C - Apologist to everything.

Hey look at Somalia, ya think they have clean water over there?

What a non sequitur, you fool.
Buzzola 3/2/2014 1:09:33 PM Report

When/if someone dies from this sludge, Sam C will pipe up that people die from bad water in Zimbabwe every day of the week.
Vicci 3/2/2014 1:26:54 PM Report

Dear cdnhunter, please enroll in a English comprehension course.
Soopaintballclub 3/2/2014 1:42:16 PM Report

Really? Frozen pipes? Nobody working for PUC, in an area that has harsh winters have ever thought that maybe they need to drop the pipes deeper below the frost point in the soil?

When you can't fire people, this is what you get.
NB113 3/2/2014 1:46:23 PM Report

Here's a suggestion to PUC: Find someone in your organization who knows how to use Twitter and get them to tweet your water warnings. Start using social media.
right wing 3/2/2014 2:17:25 PM Report

Sam C

Just a suggestion, give up trying to educate the uneducated, I did, it is a very small percentage that don't get it and never will.

...and hot water heating works on a closed loop other words the system does not need a constant water source to supply heat.
Just another example of people flapping their lips to "be part of the complaining groove" when they don't have a clue what they are talking about.

Just so you all know...yes I own the PUC, I work there, my entire family works there, all my friends and neighbors work there too, I'm also trying to get a seat on the board.

"rolling eyes"
cdnhunter 3/2/2014 3:48:25 PM Report

Dear Vicci, worry about the issue at hand, not my spelling errors
NB113 3/2/2014 3:51:55 PM Report

right wing - you are claiming to be educated, in what may I ask? I can tell you are an expert in spewing brown stuff but I really hope that's not what's coming out of our taps.
right wing 3/2/2014 4:07:36 PM Report


Just noticed your post.
Yep could work.
Poly pigs have blockage issues especially with very aged infrastructures and you have to install very costly flush ports.
The ice pigs are certainly a good one and do not cause any blockage issues but does it not take about 10 tons of slush ice for approx. every mile of flushing?
I thought this was part of the problem with doing a large scale project...the cost.
If you have any new information on this please send me the links.
right wing 3/2/2014 4:09:05 PM Report


What would you like to know in reference to the "brown water issue" or the newly adopted chemical treatment of our municipal water.
right wing 3/2/2014 4:22:17 PM Report

Hmmmm, silence from the peanut gallery.
NB113 3/2/2014 4:26:49 PM Report

For an educated guy you seem to have some difficulty in understanding things. From what university do you have a degree in and what is that degree?
right wing 3/2/2014 5:06:09 PM Report

...and what does that matter.
Ask me a question about what concerns you in regards to our municipal water and I will it for you.
Don't throw that "what's your academia crap at me".

Little hint...I teach water filtration at the college level and design and install water filtration/purification.
right wing 3/2/2014 5:06:56 PM Report

,,ooops..."I will answer it for you".
right wing 3/2/2014 5:15:30 PM Report

...and since you have opened the door for me to brag (something I really don't like)...I have consulted for engineering firms and environmental firms, provided testimony for civil suits related to water issues, am a member of the Walkerton Clean Water Agency and shower on a daily basis...good enough?

Trvlr 3/2/2014 5:15:31 PM Report

The first indication of a brown water event in my East end house is that my kids experience flu-like symptoms. Also, our pets won't drink from their water dishes. Most times, you take in the water before you realize what hit you. Sometimes you see the color first, sometimes you notice color immediately after spitting it out into the sink. What used to be a puzzling household health mystery is now an easily recognizable warning flag for bad water. To mitigate, I installed a full home water filtration system last year and use an extra filter for drinking. The sediment filter gets changed monthly---you should see it. Even with that, the water ain't great folks. That's about all I can do for my house at the consumer end.
So, how do we get there from here? First, stop wasting time bickering over the reasons for the past/current situation...It is what it is. PUC/City Hall--Seize this leadership opportunity and take ownership of the issue now. One person is needed as a point man to take this on. Assemble a small task force of forward-leaning experts. Give them the resources they need and let them get on with the task. Status quo is not acceptable. I guarantee we have local people with solutions, the required skill-set and motivation to make this right.
right wing 3/2/2014 5:20:14 PM Report


Well I would like to help.
First, what did you have installed as a "whole house filtration system".
Second, which area of the East end do you live in.
Third, have you sought out any medical opinion on your children experiencing "flu-like symptoms".
soowat 3/2/2014 5:28:04 PM Report

Son is sick
Water is what it is
We are Parellalized.
He is getting rich
Brian Curran is laughing all the way to the bank
We are getting screwed
City counselors are in the net

right wing 3/2/2014 5:36:30 PM Report

I will make this offer again as I have in the past on this site.
I live in the East end.
Anybody that is having prolonged brown water issues forward me your phone number, e-mail...any method they choose to contact them.
I would be glad to do free in home monitoring of their water in order to prove that these claims are in fact happening.
This does not take into account the periodic problems as experienced with water main breaks and back flushing of the infrastructure.
This applies to those that claim that this is either a daily or three four times a week ongoing issue.
right wing 3/2/2014 5:46:00 PM Report


It is folks like you that just love to throw unneeded fuel on a fire.
How clever you are.

If chlorine at the levels that are allowed in our water made somebody sick that quickly then there would millions of folks in North America suffering the same.
Our local municipal water is tested regularly by Ontario certified labs on a variety of parameters.
This is some high level conspiracy you have on the go.
So what are your thoughts on 9/11....
Trvlr 3/2/2014 5:53:01 PM Report

@right wing

Sediment and chlorine filters at water entry point to house. Further charcoal filtering on fridge.
Vicinity of Shannon Rd. One of many streets without a flushing station. Medical symptoms coincide date/time with bad water events. Usually short duration but sometimes last one-two days.
Have a large qty of bottled water on standby (feel like a survivalist)
Cost and requirement to put in a filtration system is above and beyond what a city water consumer should have to do to protect family, plumbing and appliances.
I believe this is a community health issue that needs an accelerated solution. If you have the expertise, your input at PUC would be a force multiplier.
iamtc 3/2/2014 6:01:37 PM Report

I have an answer for all...shut up already
right wing 3/2/2014 6:04:15 PM Report


You should be using at least 10" x 4" housings and using at least a five micron turbidity filter followed by a block carbon filter NSF-53 rating, not a carbon filter that states that it is a granular type.
This is the entry level of filtration but works fine.
I have installed a lot of these and prior to the local treatment change over.
Changing them monthly is complete overkill, my usual recommendation on municipal is every three months.
There is no way that you are getting chlorine bleed through in your water if you are using the block carbon and your turbidity filter will ensure five microns which is the accepted standard for U.V. protection.
The carbon unit on the fridge is moot.
The turbidity filters always come out brown even prior to the chemical treatment change over.
Trvlr 3/2/2014 6:09:36 PM Report

@ right wing
Thanks for the info. Much appreciated.
right wing 3/2/2014 6:40:20 PM Report

You are welcome.
...and for your information if you ever have any work done on the water piping in your home run the water for a 24 hour period without the carbon filter, this will ensure that you have flushed the potable water system with chlorine for protected against bacterial invasion.
I install a by-pass valve for the same use.
right wing 3/2/2014 7:01:32 PM Report not interpret my statement "run the water for a 24 hour period" to mean continuously, just use your water as you normally would for a 24 hours period.

iamtc 3/2/2014 9:57:04 PM Report

Right has all the answers what are you doing on sootoday you should have your own show or book your a genius. I don't know why most people tell me that your an idot you don't seem like an idot well maybe sometimes..
right wing 3/3/2014 8:26:42 AM Report

This from somebody that contributes "shut up" to a serious conversation.

Go use your colouring book the adults are talking.....
Norm 3/3/2014 9:30:22 AM Report

Right Wing, or should it be Left. You're as ridiculous as SamC and Steve your alderman. Steve also said people in third world countries walk miles for a bucket of fresh water. Instead of comparing those very poor countries to ours, be vociferous towards the people who might be able to fix this terrible problem.
right wing 3/4/2014 8:33:31 AM Report


...and you are another that has zero knowledge on this subject and adds zero substance to the conversation except to criticize others.

Go colour with the other dud, try and stay inside the lines.....
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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