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Water Today Title November 21, 2017

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Dailies - Today in water



Update 8/29/14
BWA of the day

ANOTHER POWER OUTAGE PROMPTS BWA IN NORTHERN COMMUNITY, MB


Last Tuesday, August 26, Manitoba Hydro called the Wabowden town office to advise them that there would be a power outage on Wednesday between 1:00 and 1:15 and 6:00 and 6:15 pm. They called again on Wednesday morning saying that the outage would be between 2:00 and 4:00 pm. In fact, the power outage lasted from 2:00 to about 5:30 pm. This caused a depressurization of the water system, and a boil water advisory was issued. This is the second time this has occurred in the last two months.

"They do this at least once every year between midnight and 6:00 am for maintenance purposes. It was supposed to be for fifteen minutes this time. I don't why this one was called, I was away and I'm just trying to catch up" says assistant CAO, Lisa Shlachetka. "Water samples were sent to ALS environmental laboratory in Winnipeg. As soon as we get two clean tests, the advisory will be lifted."

This is the 7th BWA in Wabowden since 2012, the last one was issued in June 2014, also due to a a planned power outage.


Update 8/28/14
Bwa of the day



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PRECAUTIONARY ADVISORIES STILL ON IN FLOODED VILLAGE, SK


This is a follow-up on our August 26
daily on Gainsborough. At that time, town officials said that most boil water advisories were lifted in the wake of the massive flooding in late June, whereas Sask H2O had them all still listed on their website, with two of them elevelated to Emergency Boil Water Orders due to the presence of E.coli.

"The whole village is on private wells," says Sun County Senior Public Health Inspector, Kristin Waroma. "We helped the village test them and most of the private wells were free of bacteria. The precautionary advisories are however still in place for the public wells until we get two sets of clean tests. Most of the wells in the area are shallow sandpoint wells, usually no more than 25' deep. This means the groundwater is under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI). This being an agricultural area, E.coli contamination is common." According to Waroma, the residents of Gainsborough are very protective of their water which they deem to be excellent.

SECOND BWA HITS ALBERTA VILLAGE, AB


The Village of Strome, AB has put itself under a voluntary Boil Water Advisory after a valve was damaged during a valve replacement operation which resulted in a three-hour water disruption. The repairs are complete and water samples have been sent to Edmonton, which is two hours away, for analysis. According to town staff, the village water plant is run by an experienced operator. Strome was just recovering from a BWA issued on August 15 because of a line break.


Update 8/27/14
Bwa of the day

COLIFORM BACTERIA FOUND IN CHURCH CAMP WELLS, NS


The management at Camp Evangeline, a summer resort affiliated with the Pentacostal Assemblies of Canada, did not take water samples from their water system until this summer. When they did, the tests returned positive for coliform bacteria. On August 15, a Boil water advisory was issued for Camp Evangeline's wells #1 and 2.

"There are only 2 or 3 people in the church camp right now, "says volunteer director of development, Tony Smith. "But there were over a hundred when we took the samples. We have been following the provincial regulations closely since we failed the tests".

A first set of follow-up samples was sent the the lab in Truro and the next will be sent next Tuesday. "There is no point is doing it now because the results won't be back until next week, it takes 48 hours" he says.

According to Smith, a plumber told him that the the coliform was most likely in the well's steel casing and that the chlorine should be poured all around to get rid of the coliform completely.

"I've been following the province's guidelines and there was no mention of this about chlorine", he says.


Update 8/26/14
Flooding

SMALL RURAL COMMUNITY STILL DEALING WITH FLOOD AFTERMATH, SK


Gainsborough was overrun by rainfalls in late June. The town's wells were overwhelmed and Boil Water Advisories were issued for most of the public wells. At the end of July the town still had no sewers and everyone was using porta-potties. One month later, things are still not resolved.

An updated report on Sask H2O has elevated the advisories for the Health Centre and the Campground wells to Emergency Boil water Orders because of E.coli contamination. All other advisories remain on the list as Precautionary Drinking Water Advisories.

According to a Community Advisory issued by the Sun Country Health Region on Augus 18:"Flooding in the town of Gainsborough continues to keep long term care residents of Gainsborough Health Centre from returning to the centre. Facility Manager Donna Davis says the town sewer system is still overwhelmed and water use is being rationed. Although pumping has improved at the health centre, the town's situation makes it impossible to determine how long the health centre will remain closed."

Meanwhile, Gainsborough assistant administrator, Stacey Johnson says most of the advisories have been lifted. "Things have not gone back to normal yet," she says . "Were still dealing with changing water, but E.coli is quite common around here."

According to Johnson, The Red Cross donated bottled water to the town during the crisis but normally the drinking water in the area is "the best".


Update 8/25/14
Mining



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MOUNT POLLEY: WATER QUALITY ADVISORY ISSUED FOR LAKE QUESNEL, BC


In a press release issued over the weekend, Bc Interior Health says that although test results continue to show that water sourced from Quesnel Lake is safe to drink in the aftermath of the Mount Polley tailings breach, reports indicate that water quality is changing as lake water and the sediment plume shifts.

Residents who source their water from Quesnel Lake may notice increased turbidity, sediment, and/or a change in taste or odour. In these cases, residents may wish to consider using alternate sources for their water. Specifically individuals are reminded they should not be drinking cloudy water. Point of use filters that are NSF certified (ie. commonly used systems in households drawing water from lakes or wells) will safely remove the suspended sediment.

A Do Not Use order for drinking water, personal, and recreational use remains in effect for the impact zone directly affected by the by the Mount Polley Mine tailings pond breach which includes Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, and on Quesnel Lake, but only the area within 100 metres of the visible sediment plume where Hazeltine Creek runs into Quesnel Lake. The public should also continue to refrain from using these waterways for recreational purposes. The Do Not Use order includes swimming and fishing. A map of the water restriction areas is available at http://bit.ly/1oI8rh6. On August 21, residents of Sept-Îles, QC were advised to boil their tap water after traces of E.coli bacteria were found in one water sample during routine testing.


Update 8/23/14
BWA of the day

E.COLI IN SAMPLE PUTS 20,000 UNDER BWA, QC


On August 21, residents of Sept-Îles, QC were advised to boil their tap water after traces of E.coli bacteria were found in one water sample during routine testing.

"It could be the result of a handling error because the bacteria was detected in only one sample," says the town's general manager, Claude Bureau. "Nonetheless we are following the procedures established by the province. We immediately notified all primary health care facilities such as hospitals, daycares and senior residences, as well as the general population; telephone chains were set up and hourly notices are broadcast on the radio.

According to Bureau, the town's $10 million chlorinating treatment plant is state-of-the-art and feeds about 20,000 residents; the Moisie and Gallix sectors are not affected because they have their own water systems.

"Twenty samples were taken across the distribution system on Friday for testing in a Quebec City laboratory, and 20 more will taken on Sunday,"says Bureau. "We expect the advisory to be lifted next Wednesday".

The town's water source is Lac-des-Rapides, located about 12km northwest of the municipality. Although the size of the lake is consideable and the quality of the raw water good, the town is concerned that expanding economic, industrial and ecotourist activities in the region will affect the quality of the water. A comprehensive study was undertaken and published in 2013 examining a range of protective measures.

Sept-Îles is in the Côte-Nord region of eastern Quebec. It is among the northernmost locales with a paved connection to the rest of Quebec's road network.


Update 8/21/14
Mining

BLACK WARRIOR RIVERKEEPER LEADS ALABAMA COALITION AGAINST COAL MINE


A proposed coal mine is threatening Birmingham, Alabama's health, environment and drinking water. The Shepherd Bend Mine, owned by Drummond, a global leader in coal production, would discharge pollutants into the already endangered Black Warrior River. Residents are worried that this mine will ruin the water supply, create dangerous chemical runoff and spew pollutants into the air.

A large coalition of businesses and groups plus thousands of concerned citizens are urging the University of Alabama System Trustees (UA) to stop the proposed Shepherd Bend Mine. UA is the major owner of land and minerals coveted by Drummond for the coal mine on the Black Warrior River. The 1,773-acre strip mine would discharge wastewater at 29 proposed outfalls, including one that is 800 feet across the river from a Birmingham Water Works Board intake facility. In a July 23 news release, Water advocacy group Black Warrior Riverkeeper called the proposed mine "a threat to drinking water for 200,000 people in the greater Birmingham area".

"People in British Columbia, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia recently suffered through tap water problems caused by a variety of pollution sources, including several related to mining," said Charles Scribner, Executive Director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper. "I am pleased that Birmingham's leaders voted to take a proactive and preventative stance on the Shepherd Bend Mine."

As a major coal producer,Drummond shipped approximately 27 million tons of coal in 2012 and controls reserves of more than two billion tons.


Update 8/20/14
BWA of the day

NUNAVUT FIRST BWA ISSUED, WATER SAMPLES SENT TO WINNIPEG LAB


On August 15, Nunavut Chief medical officer, Maureen Baikie issued a Boil water advisory for Sanikiluaq when bacteria was detected in water samples taken from the hamlet's water system. Coliform bacteria were found in two samples tested Aug. 13, Baikie told Nunatsiaq News, as well as "a very small number of E.coli."

In a voice message, Ron Wassink, communications specialist for the Department of Health told the WaterToday that new samples had been taken and sent to a laboratory in Winnipeg and that the advisory would be lifted once two consecutive samples were clear. According to Wassink, the drinking water in Sanikiluaq is chlorinated before distribution and no illnesses have been reported related to this incident.

Located in the heart of Hudson Bay in the Belcher Islands, Sanikiluaq is an Inuit community of 750 residents. It is the southernmost community in Nunavut, about 150 kilometres off the west coast of Nunavik, Quebec. The Inuit have inhabited the Belchers Islands for centuries. The Thule and Dorset cultures occupied the the Islands as evidenced by many sites.

This is the first water advisory ever reported in Nunavut.


Update 8/15/14
Blue-green algae



This story is brought to you by Riverdale Water Management

FIRST EVER TOXIC BLUE-GREEN FOUND IN UPPER RIDEAU LAKE, ON


On August 11, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit alerted residents of McNally's Bay on Upper Rideau Lake of a potential blue-green algae bloom following calls from concerned residents. As the toxicity of blue-green blooms can only be confirmed through testing, the Health Unit issued notices listing precautions residents could take while waiting for results from the Ministry of the Environment.

Results received on August 14 confirmed that the specimens collected were blue-green algae and that toxins were present. The unit issued a Do Not Drink advisory to residents of McNally's Bay using water from the lake for drinking purposes, urging them to use an alternate source as boiling does not remove the toxin. Owners were also advised to keep pets and livestock from drinking the water directly from the lake in this area.

This is the first time blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) with toxic blooms has been found in the Upper Rideau Lake. "I've never seen an advisory about toxins,"says the health unit's Communications Co-ordinator, Susan Healey," and I've been working here for 26 years".

According to Healey, the population of McNally's Bay consists mostly of cottagers, but she was unsure of the exact breakdown between full-time and seasonal residents.


Update 8/14/14
BWA of the day

SASKATCHEWAN TOWN WATER OVERTAKEN BY ALGAE BLOOMS


The town of Birch Hills, SK has been advised to boil its tap water because algae blooms are causing high turbidity within the system and discolouring the water.

According to town administrator Tara Gariepy, this is a seasonal issue,"although, this year the water seems to me to be more discoloured but have less of an odour than in previous years."

The town's water comes from two reservoir ponds on the outskirts of town.

"This is a historical problem," says Rahoul Hampul, health inspector for the Saskatcehwan Water Security Agency in Prince Albert. "There are algae blooms in the raw surface water. The hot temperature we are experiencing is also causing stratification of the ponds whereby the upper layers are warmer than the deepest layers creating a churning of the water which brings up the sediments."

The precautionary advisory affects about 450 residents as well as a number of tanker trucks who use the town's fill station.

Hampul says that the town is currently using an aeration process to help remedy the situation but its water system is due for an assessment by the Water Security Agency next year which will determine if a new treatment plant is required to solve the algae issue in the longer-term.


Update 8/12/14
BWA reporting

SIX-WEEK OLD BWA LIFTED TWO DAYS AFTER BEING ISSUED, ON


No matter how hard you try, some errors inevitably fall between the cracks. A boil water advisory (BWA) was issued fro Virginiatown on June 24, 2014 due to a water main break at the corner of 27th Avenue and 27th Street, which cut water to 60 homes. It seemed like a routine incident but when it was still posted on the Timiskaming Health Unit's notices six weeks later, we called to inquire. In a voice message, Public Health Inspector, Ray Gullekson, explained the oversight. You can listen to it below. The BWA has now been removed.

Voice Message - 0.39 min.



The issue was not so easily resolved when it came to the Buckingham sector of Gatineau. The advisory has been on the Quebec Ministry of Environment Advisory listings since September 2013. When asked, neither the City of Gatineau nor the Regional Office of the Quebec Environment Ministry had any idea why it was listed , each telling us to call the other source. This was about two months ago, to this day the advisory is still listed.

WaterToday water advisories are very cafefully monitored but errors always slip through, particularly when it comes to removing the lifted advisories. Should you notice BWAs that should have been removed, we ask you to please send us an
email and let us know.


Update 8/11/14
BWA of the day

OPERATOR UP AND QUITS, LEAVING VILLAGE UNDER BWA, sK


With one-week's notice, Paddockwood's water operator decided to retire, leaving the village with no one to turn to for the operation of its water system. On August 1, Paddockwood had no choice but to issue a BOil Water Advisory to protect its residents.

Although one of the townships's councillor is currently testing the water, he does not have the needed operator classification to run it and already has a job. There are 160 residents in the village and many others from the surrounding rural municipality fill their tanks with the village's water. "So it's inconveniencing quite a few people,"says town administrator, Joan Carrier. "We've put an advertisement for an operator and are offering to pay for the water testing schooling for the right candidate. Meanwhile most people are drinking bottled water,"she says.

The source of water in Paddockwood is groundwater and with the cold temperatures the area has had over the last two winters, there have been many line breaks in the system as well.

"We're a small and a very old community,"says Carrier, "our population is down and our infrastructure is ageing.. We actually had frozen lines in some homes until mid-July this year,"she says. "The lines were frozen and when the frost came up in spring, they froze again."

Villagers were advised of the BWA by word of mouth, as well as notices in public places such as the post office and the co-op. Some residents also volunteered to make phone calls to their neighbours.

Paddockwood was founded in the early 1900s by a Fred Pitts, who set up a post office and named the settlement Paddockwood after the village he had left in England. Paddockwood was the home of the first Red Cross hospital in the British Empire, set up after the First World War.


Update 8/9/14
Mount Polley disaster



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WATER BAN PARTIALLY LIFTED, BC


Press relase issued by BC Interior Health: A team of Medical Health Officers and water specialists from Interior Health have reviewed the most recent water sample results from Ministry of Environment (MoE). They have also consulted with officials from Environment Canada and MoE with regards to weather and environmental information surrounding the spill site.

As a result all Do Not Use water restrictions are rescinded north on the Quesnel River where it narrows and is shallow. This area is described as including and north of 6236 Cedar Creek Road on the Quesnel River and the balance of the Quesnel River system to the Fraser River. This means that water drawn from the Quesnel River, including and North of 6236 Cedar Creek Road on Quesnel River in Likely may be consumed per normal practice, and is now safe for recreational purposes from a health perspective. However, given the presence of debris on these waters, recreational users are advised to avoid these areas.

Until further notice, a Do Not Use order for drinking water, personal and recreational use remains in effect for Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, Cariboo Creek and all parts of Quesnel Lake and points south of 6236 Cedar Creek Road on the Quesnel River in Likely. The public should also continue to refrain from using the waterways for recreational purposes. This includes swimming and fishing.

It is important to note, in the event of an unplanned large flow of water from Polley Lake, the Do Not Use order will be reinstated on the larger region.

B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak announced the water sample results on Friday warning that these were surface samples, since it was still unsafe to get access for testing at different depths and locations.

Map of the water restriction areas

Details from the Ministry of Environment water sampling

Update 8/8/14
Mount Polley disaster

WATER BAN STILL ON UNTIL FURTHER TEST RESULTS, BC


Although water samples taken by the Ministry of Environment have come back safe to drink, according to Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines. Out of caution, Interior Health has maintained the “do not use” water advisory until additional daily tests show consistently safe water quality results

Interior Health has maintained the drinking water advisory not to drink, bathe or feed livestock for water drawn from the following waterways: Quesnel Lake, Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and Cariboo Creek. The entire Quesnel River system right up to the Fraser River is under a "do not drink" advisory.

Update 8/6/14
Mount Polley disaster

Update 6:30 pm

TAILING POND SPILL EFFECT ON LIKELY, BC


Although there are no official reports of a water ban in Likely, anyone who gets their water from Quesnel Lake is is observing one, according to Darlene Hood whose husband is a local businessman and president of the Chamber of Commerce.

"We get our water from a spring, so there is no problem for us. I am sharing it with those who get their water from the lake," she says." People are coming from Williams Lake about 100 km away to bring us bottled water as well. And the Cariboo Regional District set up a command post yesterday to deal with the water, and there are tanker trucks bringing clean water in. We're a small community, and we'll be fine. We get the test results back tomorrow".

Sam Lacroix who mans the Visitor Info Centre says "yup, we have a water ban, we're right on the river". According to Lacroix, her dad went to the dock about three hours after the break and the water was like alka seltzer.

"It was sizzling and when it came down it sounded like a massive train. I am sure there are pretty bad chemicals in that spill," she says. "We're at the height of our tourist season now and the local inns are getting cancellations from around the world".

Although, she does not have first-hand knowledge of water shortages because she lives higher up on a different aquifer, she says that water is being brought in

Maureen who works at Gibson's Lakeside Service & Restaurant, which doubles as a post office, agrees,"yeah, we're under water ban. But we use very little to cook, we serve burgers and stuff and we're not very busy at all."

15 Kilometres from the lake, Ursula Kucharczyk, who's been running the Morehead Lake Cabins & Campsites for five years, says that for the first time ever, it is empty except for one RV camper.

"Our water is fine,"she says. "It comes from a well. But people are scared and this means financial disaster for me. I am running around shutting down all appliances to keep the hydro bills down".

"It's not the water I am most worried about," says Darlene, "it's the big debris coming down the narrows to the lake. I am afraid the bridge will give and we will be cut off".

Update 10:00 am

MOUNT POLLEY WATER BAN UPDATE


According to the Cariboo Regional District, the water advisory to NOT drink water in the Quesnel Lake, Cariboo Creek, Hazeltine Creek and Polley Lake areas remains in effect and is extended to include the entire Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers systems right to the Fraser River.

The ban currently does not apply to people in Williams Lake or other towns along the Fraser River.

Consumption by people and livestock is not recommended. Boiling will not help. Swimming and other activities along the rivers are at your own risk.

This alert will remain in place until current test results are completed and further information is available

Click here for a Map of the affected area published by the Cariboo Regional District - August 4.

Update 8/5/14
Contamination - Mount Polley Disaster

MOUNT POLLEY TAILING POND BREACH TRIGGERS WATER USE BAN


A complete water ban affecting about 300 local residents is in effect after five million cubic metres of mine tailings pond effluent from the Mount Polley copper and gold mine was released early Monday into adjacent waterways. Authorities say no one in the immediate area should be drinking from or coming into contact with any nearby water supplies or bodies of water. Affected waterways include Quesnel Lake, Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and Cariboo Creek.





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