If you live in Montreal, you've experienced it before. Boil water advisories have been issued, warnings to not use tap water at all, and even the loss of water coming from taps on rare occasions. The warning helps prepare residents for other alternatives for drinking water, and with the issue usually cleared up within a day we've never concerned ourselves over it too much.
This week has started off quite differently, though. Over the weekend thousands of South Shore residents noticed their drinking water began to smell and taste like chlorine.
People began to point out the lack of information they were receiving on water quality over the weekend, which made the situation even more suspicious and pretty worrisome for those impacted.
TL;DR Thousands of South Shore residents are in a state of panic after large amounts of chlorine were added to drinking water. Although the city confirms water will be back to normal later this week, many have begun using bottled water, including schools in the area. Although controversial, some experts have linked chlorine consumption to increased cancer risk. More details below.
The City of Longueil finally released a statement, explaining that both rain and the melting of snow caused more organic matter into the St. Lawrence River. The dosage of chlorine in the water then had to be increased to compensate.
The city says the practice is common during this time of year, except this year the dosage of chlorine needed was much greater than previously.
It's been announced that the water should once again be at normal chlorine levels within the next few days, but many residents are skeptical of the change, even resorting to bottled water for the time being.
Schools have also been providing water bottles to students as an alternative to using water fountains or other sources of drinking water. Needless to say, thousands of people are in a panic right now.
Although the information is controversial, some experts say that chlorine in drinking water, when reaching higher levels, can lead to cancers. The U.S. Council of Environmental Quality has said that cancer risk amongst people who drink chlorinated water is 93% higher than those whose water contains little to no chlorine.
A study in correlation with breast cancer research in the U.S. also found that there was 50-60% higher levels of chlorine in the breast tissue of women with breast cancer, in comparison to women who were cancer free.
Le Journal De Montreal advises that the added chlorine in drinking water should be resolved over the next few days, but in the meantime residents should allow water to sit in a container before consuming it to allow for the chlorine to evaporate.
Stay tuned for more information.