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The province of Ontario, Canada, is giving owners of drinking water systems serving rural community halls, tourist operators and mobile trailer parks an additional six months to install treatment equipment.
The deadline for installing treatment equipment has been extended from July 1, 2004, to Dec. 31, 2004.
"I've heard from rural municipalities, public-health units and hundreds of small privately run systems across the province that many are having difficulties meeting the stringent requirements of the drinking water regulation," Leona Dombrowsky, Ontario's environment minister, announced Monday.
Regulations imposed in the wake of the judicial inquiry into the May 2000 water tragedy in Walkerton call for a strict and often expensive regimen of chlorination and testing of all water offered for public consumption in Ontario.
Seven people died and another 2,500 fell ill in Walkerton after deadly E. coli bacteria leached into the town's water supply.
"The previous government didn't consider the effects of the regulation on rural Ontario," Dombrowsky said. "Our plan, in extending the treatment deadline by six months, is to meet with associations representing these stakeholders over the next couple of months to find solutions that will work for rural drinking water systems."