08/21/2013 07:23 EDT | Updated 10/21/2013 05:12 EDT

Lévis needs clean water source before winter

Town officials in Lévis are searching for ways to supply clean drinking water to about 55,000 people on Quebec City's south shore after the Chaudière River was contaminated by oil that spilled from the Lac Mégantic train derailment.

The city is being temporarily supplied with water from the Beaucage River, diverted through a system of above ground pipes, though Lévis mayor Danielle Roy-Marinelli fears those pipes will freeze in winter.

"We are continuing to work on the project to find the best solution," said Roy-Marinelli.

Roy-Marinelli says one option would be to upgrade the water filtration plant that treats water from the Chaudière River to remove the chemicals found in it.

The city expects to spend more than $2 million by October just on its temporary water source and Roy-Marinelli says this does not include the cost of winterizing the pipes.

Already, the city has spent close to $1 million, and the provincial government has agreed to cover the cost.

The mayor of Lévis says she hopes to find a solution to the city's water source problem before September 30, the date of the last council meeting before the beginning of the municipal election campaign.

Thursday, representatives of Quebec's environment ministry will meet with officials from three municipalities affected by contaminated drinking water.