Asvisory of the Day
LONGUEUIL, QC: BUSINESS AS USUAL? RESTAURANT POSSIBLY SERVED CLIENTS FOUNTAIN DRINKS DURING BWA, QC
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Last week parts of Longueuil, Québec, just south of Montréal was placed under a Boil Water Advisory (BWA) on September 6, after laboratory test found the presence of E. Coli in the drinking water. More than a quarter of a million South Shore residents were affected by this BWA.
Everything went according to plan and the BWA was lifted approximately 48 hours later on the afternoon of September 8.
Over the weekend reports began to surface that a Thai Express restaurant in Boucherville, one of four areas touched by this event in Longueuil, was serving clients fountain drinks during the BWA. The issue is that soda fountains require a connection to the water supply.
Julie Lavigne, Boucherville Communications Director, confirmed that all residents and restaurants "were advised [of the BWA] by our automatic message system, and notices were posted on our website and our Facebook and Twitter accounts." The automatic message service is a service that citizens register for to be alerted to important information such as a BWA. Lavigne added that those that are registered for the service "are contacted annually to update their contact information."
We contacted the Thai Express in question and spoke with the owner who only identified herself as Miao. The owner denied outright serving clients fountain drinks or tap water. She said "the water that we served to clients was from bottles," suggesting that the individual cups of water was transferred from their stock of bottled water.
The owner explained that these measures were taken as soon as she was informed of the BWA, and asked "did something happen?"
The initial report by Télévision Rive-Sud (TVRS) stated that "an employee assumed 'everything was okay' due to the fact that the restaurant was not contacted since [the advisory was first announced] and why no measures were put in place." The advisory that was issued by Boucherville said that "a new announcement will be issued once the situation is restored."
We contacted Sésame, another restaurant in the same complex as Thai Express, to see how the situation played out there. Managerial staff at Sésame said that they were advised and they quickly put measures in place to ensure safety. We were informed that clients "were given free bottled water [and], this was not something we were required to do."
Restaurants in Boucherville appear to have been informed of the BWA and the circumstances behind it. According to the owner of Thai Express, they were informed and took measures to address it, though there is the report that says otherwise. Whether or not clients were served fountain drinks during the BWA only those who ate there between September 6 to 8 know for sure.
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