Advisory of the Day
SAINT-ALEXIS-DES-MONTS, QC: BWA DUE TO ENTEROCOCCUS BACTERIA
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A boil water advisory was issued for the town of Saint-Alexis-des-Monts, Québec on June 15 due to the presence of Enterococcus bacteria in the municipality's water distribution centre.
The town of 1546 people is a parish municipality in the Laurentian Mountains located in the Mauricie region of the province. The region has over 600 lakes and altitudes that range from 150 metres to 560 metres which make it ideal for hiking among other outdoor activities.
Saint-Alexis-des-Monts receives so many tourists that it's population soars to between 8 000 and 10 000 people in the summer months. It is known as the speckled trout capital and is home to the Mastigouche Wildlife Preserve where visitors can observe moose, black bears, beaver, hares, ruffed grouse, loons and herons.
This summer the town will be holding their 33rd Speckled Trout Festival between June 16 to June 24 which attracts both amateur and avid fishermen. A month later, music lovers can attend the Country Bluegrass Festival between July 10 and July 15.
The city released a statement last Friday warning residents that "recent analyzes have shown the presence of Enterococcus bacteria in the water wells of the municipality. The contamination of water by these bacteria means that it can also contain microorganisms that are dangerous for your health."
All water should be boiled for at least one minute prior to consumption until further notice. This includes preparing juices, infant formula, washing fruit and vegetables, bushing your teeth and making ice cubes.
The municipality of Saint-Alexis-des-Monts added that all ice cubes, juices and any other pre-prepared foods requiring tap water that were made on June 12 or since should be immediately discarded. Tap water remains safe to use for washing dishes and clothes.
The Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality state that "Enterococci can be used to indicate faecal contamination and indirectly indicate the presence of viruses."
Some members of the community may be particularly vulnerable to the bacteria such as children, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system.
The city reassured residents that they "are currently taking all the measures at [their] disposal to determine the source of the problem and to correct it."
All schools, businesses and stores that serve drinking water are advised to inform their clientèle that the water is not fit to drink. They should also take extra precautions by posting signs and closing water fountains to prevent anyone from inadvertently drinking contaminated water and becoming ill.
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