Advisory of the day
First Nation Water
WHITEFISH FIRST NATION, AB: LONG STANDING BWA TO CONTINUE
This story is brought to you in part by Proteus Waters
by Jan Rose
Whitefish Lake First Nation #128, in northern Alberta, is located 220 kilometres northeast of Edmonton and has a population of 2,378. Carl Bull`s Gas and Mini Mart, a small convenience store and gas bar, will continue to have a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) in place for the foreseeable future.
The BWA started in September 2017 after cistern water was contaminated with coliform bacteria.
Efforts by the Whitefish Lake Health Centre to test the water, operated by the First Nation, have been refused, said Health Centre spokesperson Ursula Sparkling Eyes.
The problem isn't only a matter of contaminated water it is also one of monitoring. Sparkling Eyes explained, "We've made repeated attempts to take water samples at the Mart, but they have always refused."
Sparkling Eyes is concerned that without preventative action coliform bacteria in the water will become ecoli.
According to a Health Canada (HC) website E coli can develop in food if raw fruits and vegetables come into contact with feces from infected animals. In water, animal feces infected with E. coli sometimes get into lakes, pools, and water supplies. E coli inhabits the intestines of people and animals with most strains being harmless. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headaches and a mild fever.
We also spoke with Inez Jackson, community health representative for the centre, who said the infection "is in a rest room that's off limits to everyone." She added "Carl Bull's could treat the water that's sourced from a cistern with chlorine."
Spokesperson Fraser Logan with Health Canada said they have "no jurisdiction since the business is located on a reserve."
Mini Mart has refused to comment, referring WaterToday to contact the health centre.