|Reports & Publications - Annual Report 2001
Keeping drinking water safe
By Martin Moir, Public Health Inspector
Staff of the Health Unit continued to respond to drinking water quality inquiries from private well owners, as well as from operators of regulated water treatment plants.
The Health Unit recommends that private drinking water wells be tested for bacterial contamination at least twice per year.
All Health Unit offices provide water sampling kits and courier services. The water sampling kits are sent to the Public Health Laboratories for analysis. Over the year a number of well owners took advantage of this free service. The new water sampling kits include a bar code that allows clients to call the Public Health Laboratory and directly access their sample results by telephone. Clients are encouraged to contact their local public health inspector for assistance if their results are unsatisfactory. Approximately 20% of all private well water samples submitted through the Health Unit indicate some level of bacterial contamination.
New provincial regulations require that all operators test their water treatment plants and distribution systems on a regular schedule for bacteria and other specified chemicals. All adverse test results from these facilities are promptly reported to the Medical Officer of Health who will ensure that the waterworks operator takes appropriate corrective actions. In some circumstances, based on health risk to the consumer, an adverse result will require the Medical Officer of Health to issue to all consumers a boil water advisory. A boil water advisory once issued is in effect until the Medical Officer of Health is satisfied that the water is once again safe for consumption.
All Health Unit offices provide water sampling kits and courier services. The water sampling kits are sent to the Public Health Laboratories for analysis. Over the year a number of well owners took advantage of this free service.