Former Village of Morrin mayor claims sewer back-up is municipality’s fault

Written by Stu Salkeld

A former mayor of the Village of Morrin has more ammunition in his confrontation with the municipality as his sewer again backed up into his home, an unpleasant experience he says is the village’s fault.

Howard Helton, in a phone interview Feb. 22, stated that his sewer again backed up into his home that day, similar to other back-ups that occurred over the past few years.

Helton stated both he and his spouse were working in the basement that morning when they heard an unusual amount of water running and water pooling up in the downstairs bathroom.

Helton stated he and his wife have tried to avoid causing sewer problems by not flushing paper or materials like cooking oil but the former mayor stated he feels the problem lies within the sewer pipe outside his property which is the village’s responsibility.

“It was bound to have happened because they haven’t fixed it yet,” said Helton.

The former mayor noted when this happened previously he immediately tried to contact a plumber but the village later told him he erred by doing that and his first contact should have been the Village of Morrin, so that’s what he did this time.

Helton confirmed that the village arranged for a plumber to address the problem the next day, Feb. 23, arriving about 9 a.m. and leaving about 10:30 a.m.

Helton stated he didn’t receive any information about the plumber’s work so he later contacted the village and discovered the work was successful.

Helton stated he feels, unless repairs are made, the problem will return because the issue lies within the village’s sewer pipe.

A message left by the ECA Review reporter at the Village of Morrin office Feb. 23 for comment was not returned by deadline.

Boil water advisory

There was some confusion in the Morrin community this week as residents debated on social media whether or not the village was under a boil water advisory, and whether or not Morrin’s water was safe to drink.

Both Mayor Chris Hall and Coun. M’Liss Edwards commented on a Morrin social media page that Morrin’s water was safe and the boil water advisory was related to problems in Drumheller.

“Everyone calm down the water is shut off at the Munson pump house we are not getting their water besides we have a huge deposit of water in storage and it’s clean and when it gets low we are getting it brought in by truck to Morrin from Hanna the water has not changed,” stated Mayor Hall’s social media post. “We will open up the lines when Drumheller is good again.”

A message left at the Village of Morrin office Feb. 23 for comment was not returned by deadline.

A number of Munson residents also posted comments and concerns about their water, noting that after boiling it seemed the water had a residue in it.

Marilyn Gainer-Smith posted, “I’m in the village of Munson. I boil two pots of water last night to see how it is looking. And then I boiled a pot this morning. It turns white all around The Inside Edge of the pot. Looks like almost some kind of oily substance or whatever I don’t know what it is it floats to the top of the water. My grandson stuck his finger in the pot and Drew on the bottom. So it’s coating. I’d like to know what this stuff is? LOL.”

Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) website noted, “Effective immediately, AHS has lifted the boil water order for the Bankview, Huntington, Hillsview and Greentree neighbourhoods in the Town of Drumheller. A water line break in the community had prompted AHS to advise residents and businesses within the impacted areas to boil water prior to any consumption as a precautionary measure on Feb.21.

“That issue has since been resolved, and water quality testing has confirmed that water is once again safe to consume.”


Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.