NEW BRUNSWICK FLOOD: MUNICIPAL DRINKING WATER HOLDING UP. PRIVATE WELLS AT RISK
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By Michelle Moore
The record breaking flood in southern New Brunswick has been wreaking havoc on private homes and city infrastructure alike. It begs the question, is drinking water safe?
The City of Fredericton has released a statement today about the city's drinking water following some questions from concerned citizens about whether it is safe to drink municipal water during the flood.
Fredericton officials say "Yes, it is absolutely safe to drink. Our water distribution system is pressurized, and water can only travel out, and not in. We also maintain chlorine residual as added protection. In the very unlikely event that the system did become contaminated, an alert would be sent to all users immediately!"
In a press release issued by The City of Saint John yesterday, officials stated that for the moment city drinking water is okay to drink specifying that water testing is ongoing. The statement explained that "the clay berm installed by Saint John Water around the Millidgeville Wastewater Treatment Facility is holding back the water."
The statement further explained that "ten wastewater lift stations have been shut off and equipment has been removed from the locations to reduce damage. This will allow the utility to reinstall the equipment as soon as the water recedes and maintain service to customers. Every effort is being made by Saint John Water crews around the clock to ensure drinking water and sewer services are maintained to customers."
The city drinking water supplies of Edmunston, Moncton and Bathurst remain equally unaffected for the moment.
New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell has recommended that residents with private wells should be cautious following a flood.
In a statement released April 27, Dr. Russell said "private water supplies contaminated by flooding should not be used while the wellhead is flooded. Once flood waters have receded, the well should be disinfected and the water quality should be tested prior to use."
Dr. Russell also specifies that private water supplies could have come into contact with chemicals including furnace oil, gasoline or chemicals used for agricultural purposes. The statement reads, "residents who think their well has been contaminated by such chemicals should not use that water for any domestic purpose whatsoever - even if it has been boiled - before it is deemed safe by health officials."
The Government of New Brunswick will be providing free water testing for homes that have been flooded and starting May 17 residents can pick up their own water sampling kits at Service New Brunswick Centres.
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