South Slave residents are being asked to boil their drinking water for at least one minute after the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer issued a public advisory on Wednesday.
The GNWT Department of Health and Social Services is asking all people living in Hay River, Enterprise, Kakisa and K’atl’Odeeche Reserve, although there have been no cases of illnesses from drinking water.
“This advisory is precautionary in nature, and is due to a re-occurrence of higher than normal turbidity (muddy water),” states the advisory. “There have been no illnesses associated with drinking water reported in the community.”
NNSL Media has been reporting in recent weeks that sediment plumes have been spotted on Great Slave Lake from Hay River and Slave River.
The issue has followed reports of water spills from the W.A.C Bennett and Peace Canyon dams into the Peace River – a body of water that is upstream from the NWT Slave River and Great Slave Lake.
“It is normal to see a sediment plume form each year in Great Slave Lake from the Slave River and from the Hay River,” stated Darren Campbell, a spokesperson for ENR last month.
Wednesday’s notice from the territorial government states that it is working continually with the Town of Hay River to monitor the situation. Residents will be notified when the boiling water advisory is to be lifted.
The notice states that water which can be swallowed – that which is used for drinking, preparing food, hot and cold beverages and ice cubes or washing fruits and vegetables or for use for dental care – must be boiled.
“This is of particular importance in the case of the preparation of infant formulas. Do not drink water from public drinking fountains. It is not necessary to boil water used for other household purposes.
“You may shower, bathe or wash using tap water, but avoid swallowing the water.”
Alternatives to boiling
In lieu of boiling water, residents can consume bottled or processed water and can use forms of distillation, reverse osmosis or filtered water using a filter size of one micron absolute or less.
Brita forms of filtering water with carbon filters is not safe because they don’t disinfect the water.
— with files from Natalie Pressman