The Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan is demanding action following the release of a shocking W5 program on old asbestos cement (AC) water pipes. The CTV investigative news program found that the pipes are still widely used in Saskatchewan, and there is asbestos in the water of the capital city. The program revealed that after testing water for asbestos in Regina it found 370,000 asbestos fibres in one litre of water. The City of Regina has been testing for seven years and has found no asbestos in Regina water. The City of Regina has also recently said that the water in the city is safe to drink, however city administration refused to be interviewed by various news outlets.
In 2003, the National Research Council (NRC) established a $30-million research centre – the Centre for Sustainable Infrastructure Research (CSIR) – in Regina to study asbestos cement water pipes. One of the NRC/CSIR studies says severely deteriorated asbestos cement pipes can leach fibres into the water and pose a hazard of cancer. The centre is no longer in operation. The pipes have, or are rapidly reaching the end of their lives, and are breaking in record numbers in some communities. Regina was described as a “living laboratory.”
“Why was Regina being described as a living laboratory,” asked Progressive Conservative Interim Leader Rose Buscholl. “The term was used repeatedly when promoting the centre back then. What was the experiment? Where is that multimillion dollar research centre now, and why aren’t these pipes a much higher priority for replacement?”
The Sask Party has been aware of this issue for decades. The dangers of asbestos are well known. The province paid $5-mllion for advice on the issue. It was warned about “health concerns” associated with asbestos in water, yet now it seems to have forgotten about those warnings. The NDP has known about this just as long but appears too timid to do anything about it. It’s time to address this issue, and the first step is learning the extent of the problem.
“Saskatchewan had an opportunity to be a leader in seeking solutions. Unfortunately, what we are left with is an empty building, and empty promises,” says Rose Buscholl the Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan. “This is a serious issue impacting the health of all Saskatchewan residents. This is an issue that requires leadership. It’s not a time for poor memories and fear of doing something.”
This is why the Progressive Party of Saskatchewan moved at it’s recent AGM that: a fiscally responsible plan to reline or replace old AC pipes and ensure proper disposal of this outdated and dangerous infrastructure needs to be created. As well, finding other potential communities in the province that have the AC water mains. Finally propose testing for asbestos in drinking water in the province of Saskatchewan.
Interim Leader Progressive Conservative Leader of Saskatchewan