Rainy River residents were put under a boil-water advisory on Friday afternoon and should continue to boil their water for the immediate future.
In a media release from the Northwestern Health Unit, the reason given for the advisory was “due to inadequate treatment [of the water].”
Bill Limerick, the health unit’s director of environmental health, told the Rainy River Record on Monday morning that the issue at the Rainy River water treatment plant has to do with “high turbidity levels.”
When those levels are too high, the danger of parasites like Cryptosporidium and other bugs can get through the treatment process and ultimately end up coming out of people’s taps.
If ingested, Cryptosporidium can cause gastrointestinal illness in humans, with symptoms that include cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
“Where the real danger lies is with the elderly or the immune-challenged,” noted Limerick. “They are already weak and this parasite can be very dangerous for them.”
While no parasites have been detected in Rainy River’s drinking water, the problem with high turbidity levels had not been rectified as of yet, he said.
Limerick noted the Town of Rainy River was bringing in an engineer to investigate why this problem has been happening at the water treatment plant.
As soon as it is rectified, the boil-water advisory will be lifted once the water is deemed completely safe.
Limerick expected the advisory would remain in place for at least the better part of the week.
Until it is lifted, he said people should take precautions and boil their drinking water for at least one minute before consuming it.
No other communities that take their water from the Rainy River presently are experiencing this problem. Limerick said they did have the same problem in Sioux Lookout, but that it had been rectified.
High turbidity levels generally happen in the spring when there is run-off. But, as Limerick noted, “We have not had any run-off yet.”
When the boil-water advisory is lifted, the information will be posted on the Record’s website at www.RainyRiverRecord.com
Check the site daily for any updates.