Survey to identify water quality issues in East End

tap water

Starting today, the PUC will be commencing the East End Water Quality Survey it announced earlier this summer. The purpose of the short survey is to identify the pockets of homes in the east end that are still experiencing water quality issues.

This will help PUC develop its Annual Watermain Relining Program. Watermain relining is a proven technique used by utilities across the world to address water quality concerns in localized areas. Not only does the relining process address quality issues in the immediate vicinity, but relining old cast-iron watermains can extend the life of the mains. Therefore, to determine which watermains would be suitable for future relining projects, the PUC hopes to contact every household in the east end to get their feedback on current water quality issues.

“We understand that some customers might view another survey as redundant – but we couldn’t disagree more,” says Giordan Zin, PUC Supervisor of Customer Engagement. “In the past, the Ipsos-Reid survey results have been based on a representative sample from each Ward; this method gave us an idea of what the overall opinion on water quality was across the city. The purpose of this new survey isn’t to be a representative sample of the east end’s opinion on water quality, but rather, to get a comprehensive snapshot of where issues still exist, specifically in the East End”.

In addition to surveys, the PUC collects valuable customer feedback data via its Customer Care Center. This data is another tool the PUC uses to monitor customer reaction to the changes made to the water treatment processes last year with the introduction of the Water Quality Improvement Project’s advanced treatment methods. For example, from 2014 to 2015, PUC’s Customer Care Center reported the number of residents contacting the PUC with concerns or complaints related to water quality fell by 88%.

“Yes, I acknowledge that some people may have stopped calling PUC to report water quality issues because they felt nothing happened when they did – but I can assure you, those calls are critical to us,” says, Zin. PUC knows that communication with its customers is a vital part of the strategy for resolving water quality issues. For example, good communication with consumers affords PUC the ability to immediately track shifts in water quality and make changes to distribution system activity to reduce discoloured water occurrences in the future.

“We want to reach out to the entire East End because we care about the city’s water quality. Additionally, we are concerned that we may not have heard from all customers in the area, and we want to ensure all customers have a chance to provide their input,” says, Zin. “While the Ipsos-Reid survey found that statistically both satisfaction and acceptability with the quality of the city’s drinking water is trending positively – we fully recognize more needs to be done to address customers’ concerns. The Watermain Relining Program is just that, another tool we can use to address concerns. Relining is a long-term solution that will provide incremental improvement with each section of watermain that is treated.”

While relying on the feedback from customers is important, it is not the only metric used to determine relining locations. For example, only unlined ductile iron or cast iron watermains are being considered for relining. Other factors include the size, depth, and condition of the watermain and service lines, and whether the watermain is included in the city’s near-term road reconstruction plan. Customers can expect more information on the relining project in the coming weeks. Additionally, the PUC would like to remind customers to contact PUC Customer Care should they experience discoloured water or any unusual change in water quality.

PUC staff, as opposed to a polling firm, will conduct the East End Water Quality Survey with the intention being to try to contact every household in the East End and ask them about water quality in their area. This survey is a significant undertaking and is expected to take several months to complete. The PUC would like to remind customers that updating their account information is the best way to ensure they are contacted for the survey. Customers can call PUC Customer Care at 705-759-6522 to speak with a representative who can update their account information. While this survey is directed to East End residents, PUC encourages any resident who wishes to participate in the survey to call PUC and have their voice heard.


  1. I feel for you guys when I lived in the Soo the water was the best anywhere I had been.
    I have crystal clear awesome tasting water now from a deep drilled well and so appreciate it.
    I have friends that live all over the Soo and they all say the water is equally gross everywhere, the majority tell me they have to buy bottled water, a few installed special filter systems that cost thousands.
    It’s always been a backwards type city trying bend a penny before they spend it.
    However, when they did this to your water it was the biggest blunder in the history of the city.
    I sure hope you can talk some sense into them to return the water to how it once was.
    They need to send a ballot to every customer in the city and if it’s over 50 percent that aren’t satisfied it should be mandatory for them to change the water back to the way it was.

  2. What’s the point? You are not going to change back to when we had good water. Now we just deal with gross tasty, really smelly, and brown water at least 1x a week! Maybe you should go door to door and drop off sample bottles! Taste your gross water for yourself!

  3. You best be surveying the entire city, all of the water gets the same chlorine treatment does it not?
    You think the water in all areas except the east end has magically cured itself?

  4. “For example, from 2014 to 2015, PUC’s Customer Care Center reported the number of residents contacting the PUC with concerns or complaints related to water quality fell by 88%.”

    87% of them got tired of complaining on deaf ears.
    Don’t even think of using that for an excuse for the colossal mess you have created.

  5. This problem is city wide, never mind just the east end.
    Someone still won’t fess up to the massive screw up they’ve made.
    If you care about the city’s water quality, put it back to the way it was, AND FIRE the pea brain(s) behind this bad idea.
    The water is horrible, akin to drinking from a swimming pool.
    My pets even turn their nose up at it and walk away.
    I have to buy bottled water for them, too.
    What a wacky city.

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