Houston boil water notice continues. (File photo)

Crews drain, refill reservoir in response to coliform count

Boil water advisory issued Nov. 5

District of Houston crews have now drained, re-chlorinated and refilled a water reservoir following a high coliform count which resulted in a boil water notice being issued yesterday afternoon.

Speaking today, District chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck said the District believes the high count resulted from a water turnover issue in the reservoir, called Reservoir 2, as that was the only location in which test results were outside of drinking water standards.

“We have also disconnected Reservoir #1 to improve water cycling in Reservoir #2. We will be reviewing the design and operating parameters of this facility going forward to mitigate the risk of future advisories being issued,” he said.

Based on established guidelines, the Northern Health Authority has to be satisfied drinking water meets standards.

Northern Health says rescinding a notice depends upon more testing.

“Removal of the boil water notice will be considered when two consecutive samples, taken a minimum 24 hours apart, are absent for Coliform bacteria and E. coli,” Northern Health has indicated.

Results of a sample taken Oct. 29 and sent to a firm called Norlabs and available yesterday revealed high coliform counts and low chlorine levels, prompting the boil water notice.

“This was the only location that tested outside of parameters, and the District in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Northern Health are issuing the Boil Water Notice out of an abundance of caution,” Pinchbeck noted.

District crews test for residual chlorine levels around the entire system bi-weekly, and send samples to Norlabs monthly for bacteriological testing as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act, he said.

For as long as the notice is in effect, residents are being told to bring water to a roiling boil for one minute, making sure the water then cools down sufficiently prior to drinking or using.

The District also says it has received confirmation from Northern Health that water from a U-Fill station equipped with Ultraviolet Light treatment equipment is safe for consumption and food preparation.

“At this time, Northern Health is aware of such equipment being present at Houston Food Market. If you are using another station, you are advised to contact the site manager to confirm what equipment is in place at the location,” the district says.

Northern Health, however, through information posted by the District, notes that not all UV lamps are made equally.

“If the UV lamp has NSF55A certification and operating as per manufacturer’s instructions, it should be capable of treating water. For other UV lamps, they are welcome to contact Environmental Health at Smithers Community Health – 250-847-6400 to inquire further. When in doubt, boil the water as specified,” the District adds of information distributed by Northern Health.

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