Water well contamination claim heads to court
Published Tuesday, April 21, 2015 5:58PM MDT Last Updated Tuesday, April 21, 2015 6:58PM MDT
An Alberta homeowner is suing the MD of Foothills over the water quality on her land and was in court on Tuesday.
Ellen Alston and her husband say the water on their land is so contaminated that it made them sick.
The couple claims horse waste from the riding club across the road has been leaching into standing water nearby, spilling on their land during spring runoff and heavy rains and polluting their well.
They say the problem got so bad that they had to leave their home in 2011.
“We’re all attached to our homes, we’re bonded to our homes. What do I do? How do I fix it?” said Alston
“When we moved out of here we didn't think we’d be gone for more than six months or whatever, things would get fixed or something would happen,” said Les Vecsey.
When the couple suspected the cause of their illnesses could be environmental they had several tests done with Alberta Environment.
The province says it investigated in 2010 and 2011 but that its sampling analysis did not identify any issues with water quality.
Officials say they could find no evidence to support the claim that the De Winton Riding Club had impacted the groundwater.
Alston had independent assessments done and water samples taken and enlisted Environmental Engineer David Manz to conduct one of them.
Manz says his findings showed surface water and groundwater on the property were polluted with fecal coliform bacteria and elevated nitrate counts and he says it also contaminated the well water.
“Once it contaminates the ground water it will go down the casings, those are very, I hate to say it, primitive kind of casings, and even if it was a very sophisticated casing it would still, there would be high probability that it would still be contaminating the well,” said Manz.
Alston is currently suing the MD of Foothills asking it to buy out the home and cover lost income.
So far she has not allowed the MD on the land to conduct its own testing.
She says she and the experts she has enlisted have concerns over how the MDs scientists want to do the tests.
On Tuesday, the court ruled that experts for the MD do have the right to conduct their own tests their own way in order to move the lawsuit forward and any issues for either side will be brought up later in court as part of the lawsuit.
(With files from Rylee Carlson)