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Ontario town issues water advisory after pressure drop from power outage

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A water pressure loss compromised the safety of the drinking water in a small northeastern Ontario town earlier this month, as the result of a power outage.

The pressure drop led Public Health Sudbury & Districts to issue a drinking water advisory for the Town of Foleyet and its some 200 residents as it could have created conditions that compromised the safety of the drinking water, health officials said.

Adequate pressure allows treated water to flow through pipes without risk of any outside contamination seeping in along the way. In addition to power outages, water pressure can dangerously dip due to leaks or too much strain on the system.

“Until bacteriological testing of the drinking water indicates a safe supply, the drinking water advisory will remain in effect as a precaution,” warned Burgess Hawkins, a manager in the Health Protection Division, in a statement.

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Foleyet residents were advised that not even boiling the water could be certain to ensure it was safe enough to drink, although it was still safe for laundry.

Following bacteriological testing, which occurred within days, health officials said that while the drinking water may appear to be discoloured and have a chlorine odour, it was found to be safe for consumption.

The drinking water advisory was lifted and residents were encouraged to run cold water faucets for five minutes, or until the water was clear. Large-volume users (for example, schools) might need to run cold water taps for a longer period of time on first use.

Additionally, residents were encouraged to:

  • Run drinking fountains for five minutes before using the water or until the water ran clear.
  • Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
  • Drain and refill hot water heaters.

To get rid of sediment, remove faucet screens, rinse and put back in place.

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