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Québec, June 4, 2001 – The Minister of the Environment, André Boisclair, announced that a drinking water sampling program intended for owners of private wells and small systems serving less than 21 persons will be launched sometime this summer.

The sampling program for which the Québec government has earmarked $1 M comes within the scope of a vast education and outreach campaign conducted by the Ministère de l’Environnement, and will focus on the parameters most likely to pose a threat to human health in the short term, i.e. E. coli bacteria and nitrates.

"Water is a source of life and must remain a source of health and pride in Québec. This is the spirit in which the government will contribute to a sampling program to encourage private well and small system owners to care for and regularly check up on the quality of the water for which they are the sole persons in charge," Minister Boisclair emphasized.

Under this program, and in answer to a simple call from well or system owners, the Ministère de l’Environnement will mail them a sampling kit, a pamphlet explaining the analyses to be carried out by the laboratory, and the instructions for taking samples. Thanks to government financial assistance, and further to negotiations with the Canadian Testing Association (CTA), owners will pay $28.89 (including taxes), rather than the $52 usually required for the two types of analyses, in addition to the cost of shipping to the accredited laboratory of their choice.

In case of non-compliance with the quality standards, the laboratory will rapidly inform the owners of the test results and, if need be, of the protection measures to be taken. The Ministère de l’Environnement wishes to be advised of this information, upon written agreement between the laboratory and owner, in order to establish an overall profile of the quality of drinking water in Québec.

In Québec, nearly 200,000 private wells and small drinking water distribution systems supply some 700,000 persons.

"All owners of private wells and small systems will be required to provide quality drinking water. This extensive sampling program specifically designed for them will enable them to make the effort needed to preserve this precious resource we've named water," Minister Boisclair concluded.

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Sylvia Provost
Attachée de presse
Cabinet du ministre
Tél. : (418) 521-3911

Louise Barrette
Direction des communications
Tél : (418) 521-3823, poste 4163

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