is a small town in Bruce County, Ontario
, 75 km southwest of Owen Sound
. It became suddenly famous throughout Canada
in May 2000
after the town's water supply became contaiminated with E. coli
bacteria. Seven people were killed and at least 2,300 became ill.
Following a thorough enquiry by Justice Dennis O'Connor, much of the blame was laid at the door of the operators of the water supply. In particular:
- "For years, the [Walkerton Public Utilities Commission] operators engaged in a host of improper operating practices, including failing to use adequate doses of chlorine, failing to monitor chlorine residuals daily, making false entries about residuals in daily operating records, and misstating the locations at which microbiological samples were taken. The operators knew that these practices were unacceptable and contrary to Ministry of Environment guidelines and directives."
A tightening of procedures for water supply throughout Ontario was instituted as a result.
[A similar outbreak struck North Battleford, Saskatchewan in 2001.]