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Water Today Title June 29, 2022

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Advisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by Clean Cistern-Chemical Free

Ahe Village of Granisle in the Northern Interior of British Columbia has issued a boil water advisory for its 350 residents. Total coliforms and E.coli were found in regular water testing and reported to the Health Unit.

Postive tests are fairly commonplace at this time of year, due to the Spring melt.

A town official said that they're hoping to get the all-clear by Thursday when the next test results are ready but can't confirm anything yet.

The seventeenth anniversary of the Walkerton water crisis is almost upon us and it is just as important as ever to ensure our water sources are E.coli free.

The tragedy, which saw seven people die and several thousand become very ill in a small South West Ontario town, was preventable. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that was in charge of Walkerton's water supply neglected to report a positive sample test for E.coli. Even when many in the town fell ill, they continued to insist that the water was not the issue.

E.coli is a bacteria naturally found in the intestines of humans and other warm blooded animals. It doesn't occur elsewhere in nature (plants, soil etc.), so the presence of it in a water sample is seen as proof of recent fecal contamination. Although many strains of E.coli are harmless some, like E.Coli 0157:H7, can be lethal.

The symptoms of drinking water tainted by E.coli aren't pleasant. Severe stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhea are common.

Andre Gagnon, a Media Relations Officer with Health Canada, wrote in an email, "The guidelines for some contaminants, like E.coli which indicates the presence of microbiological pathogens, are very clear and should never be exceeded because people will become sick soon after drinking contaminated water."

Pregnant women, the elderly, children and those with weak immune systems are particularly at risk of major health problems like kidney failure, stroke, seizure and sometimes, as in the above mentioned cases, possibly death.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change's website, 5% of Boil Water Advisories (BWA) issued in Canada in 2015 were due to the detection of E.Coli in drinking water samples. This is down from 2010, when the percentage for BWA due to E.Coli was up at eight.

Although most municipal systems across Canada have low instances of E.coli, it is imperative for water systems of all sizes to be tested diligently and run by licensed professionals.

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