Winnipeg resident without clean water for nearly two weeks and counting

A Winnipeg woman says she’s been without proper drinking water for more than a week after city crews tore up the road in front of her home.

Leslie Carey says she was told her water would be shut off on June 10 to allow crews to work in the area and that it would be restored by the end of the day.

Carey says when the water did come back on it was bubbling, had white particles in it and smelled awful.

A Winnipeg woman says she doesn’t trust the water coming out of her taps after city crews tore up the road in front of her home.
A Winnipeg woman says she doesn’t trust the water coming out of her taps after city crews tore up the road in front of her home. Amanda Carey

Two days later, a city worker came to flush the lines and run her taps, and according to Carey, that didn’t help.

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“We had the same thing, just less bubbles,” Carey said. “And the smell got stronger.”

“Each day the smell got stronger.”

In the interim, Carey says she’s gotten by with the help of a local grocer who has been delivering cases of bottled water. Being on disability, Carey says she’s unable to pick up water herself.

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After the weekend and multiple calls to 311, Carey says the City agreed to send someone back out.

“I was frustrated because we’d been so long without water, and we have my granddaughter downstairs,” Carey said.

“You can’t shower, it burnt out my Keurig. It was just a mess.”

Carey was advised by Social Assistance Disability Manitoba to contact her local MLA.

On Wednesday, June 17, seven days after the initial water shut-off, Carey says some city workers returned and tested the water, then tested it again after running the taps for 20 minutes.

Winnipeg woman claims road work has left her without proper water for a week

Winnipeg woman claims road work has left her without proper water for a week

According to Carey, she was told the reading on the first test was too high, but the second test showed the water was fine to drink. However, she was offered no solution for the smell.

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After reaching out to the City of Winnipeg, Global News received the following statement Wednesday:
“The City is aware of reports of water service concerns at a property near the intersection of Watt Street and Jamison Avenue, and has been in close contact with the impacted residents dating back to last week. We are continuing to investigate the issues, and will remain in contact with the residents.”

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On Friday, June 19, ten days since the water was turned off, Carey says the smell coming from the water is still quite strong.

“I would say from one-to-ten, it’s about an eight, where it was a ten before,” Carey said. “But I’m also not running the water anymore because it’s too much of a smell, and because I have a respiratory problem and now I’m now getting sick — I’m not sure where it’s from.”

On Thursday, Global News followed up with the City with questions pertaining to how the incident happened and what measures were going to be taken to help the Carey family. The city said in a statement: “City crews were at the property today to conduct additional water quality tests, and were able to confirm that the water was clear and had no unusual odour. We’re still awaiting results for all of the tests; however, preliminary results do not indicate any concerns with the water quality. A backflow inspection was also completed and nothing unusual was found.”

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There are also concerns over accessibility, with construction causing problems for Carey to get onto the road in her wheelchair.

“Regarding the accessibility issue,” the city said, “we can confirm that the consultant working on sidewalk rehabilitation – which is taking place concurrently with the water main renewal – has been in contact with the resident since early on in the process. Once the accessibility concerns were flagged, the consultant was able to restore access between the two suites with a temporary gravel sidewalk.”

Elmwood – East Kildonan Counc. Jason Schreyer visited Carey’s house on Friday.

“I’ve been putting my calls to the departments in question,” Schreyer said. “Water and waste, in terms of the water itself, and public works in terms of the issue with the fencing and sidewalks and other construction issues.”

A Winnipeg woman says she doesn’t trust the water coming out of her taps after city crews tore up the road in front of her home.
A Winnipeg woman says she doesn’t trust the water coming out of her taps after city crews tore up the road in front of her home. Amanda Carey

At Carey’s residence, the steps connecting the back patio entrance from the downstairs suite to the sidewalk were removed by construction workers, making the path for her primary caregiver and daughter Amanda Carey who lives downstairs, harder to navigate if emergencies arise.

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The Carey’s say construction crews added gravel to the back steps, and a gravel ramp to the street, for Leslie to access the road with her wheelchair.

“I was grateful for that, but now that I contacted Handi-Transit, it’s been declined,” Carey said. “Number one, [the Handi-bus] can’t turn around here with their buses and they can’t legally or safely back up all the way up this street.”

City crews were at the house on Thursday, re-testing the water. Coun. Schreyer said the results of tests will be done by Saturday.

“I’m going to call on Monday and get the results,” Schreyer said.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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