Sun Times staff
Justice Dennis O’Connor’s first report on the events of May, 2000 drew together decades of events and oversights that played parts in the deadly outbreak.
He found a heavy rain beginning May 8 washed E. coli and Campylobacter jejuni from a nearby farm into the town’s Well 5, which along with Well 6 and Well 7, provided the town’s drinking water at the time. He found Well 5 to be the source of contamination that killed seven and made about 3,000 people ill, some permanently.
The following timeline is based on Part 1 of the Report of the Walkerton Inquiry.
Walkerton’s Well 5 is drilled shallow in fractured bedrock. It is identified as vulnerable to surface contamination, but no special requirements are made to ensure the water is chlorinated and tested properly.
Ministry of the Environment inspects Well 5 in 1991, 1995 and 1998, but it is not assessed to see if it is directly affected by surface water. Problems with testing and chlorination are identified, but the ministry relies on the Walkerton PUC to fix them without ordering it to do so.
MOE budget cuts start in 1992 and are stepped up after the election of 1995.