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Water Today Title November 27, 2020

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Advisory of the day



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The Town of Renfrew in Eastern Ontario issued a Precautionary Boil Water Advisory (PBWA) on June 18 due to a main break that initially caused a water outage for part of the town.

Renfrew is located along the Bonnechere River, 100 kilometres west of Ottawa and 10 kilometres from the Qu├ębec border. It was named after Renfrewshire in Scotland in the mid 19th century. In July, the Lumber Baron Festival takes place to commemorate how early settlers used the river to drive lumber to other areas like Ottawa.

On June 18, the public works manager for the city of Renfrew informed the Renfrew County District Health Unit that there was a line break and that a section of town had lost pressure in the water line leading to an outage.

Manager of Environmental Health David Tantalo said "it was a precautionary boil water advisory that was issued. Based on the information provided by the Town of Renfrew and that there was a complete loss of pressure, we did not want to take a chance, better to take a safer approach."

Only the part of town to the north of the Bonnechere River was affected. Tantalo said "they secured the line and they were able to divert water to that section so everybody has water, they were only without water for about ten minutes."

The Renfrew County District Health Unit requires that two sets of bacteriological samples be taken 24 hours apart of each other in order to lift the PBWA. When this reporter spoke to them on June 20, Tantalo said the first had been received and showed good results. The second set were expected to come back later that evening.

When asked if the necessary repairs are currently being made, Tantalo said "the part that broke is in the process of being repaired ... but they were able to do a work around."

This allowed residents to have access to water they could use, albeit boiled prior to consumption. Otherwise they would have had no water at all until repairs had been completed, at which point water can be rerouted as usual.

Later that day, at 6pm the Town of Renfrew released a statement advising residents that the PBWA had been lifted in consultation with the Renfrew County District Health Unit.

The statement said "mandatory testing has confirmed no indication of contaminants and that The Town of Renfrew Drinking Water System remains safe for use and consumption."

The Town of Renfrew asked that residents run their tap and garden hose water for at least one minute before use to flush out any contaminants.


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