Watson Lake mayor and council are advising citizens to boil their drinking water until the town’s water treatment system can be fixed.
Water used for drinking, food preparation, dishwashing, infant formula or brushing teeth, should stay at a rolling boil for two minutes, according to the advisory.
Watson Lake’s treatment system was retrofitted during the summer and its chlorine analyzer is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.
Until it is fixed, unchlorinated water could contaminate the public drinking supply that comes from two ground wells.
Although the system is working it won’t send an alarm to signify that chlorine levels in the water are too high or too low, said Rick Harder, the town’s chief administrative officer.
“We’ve mounted a second check on the system so that we minimize the likelihood of any raw water getting into the town water system,” said Harder on Thursday.
“We issued the boil-water advisory so that everybody is aware that it could happen.”
It was issued October 5.
It is a precautionary warning for citizens to boil water before consuming it in any way.
“We monitor twice a day, taking chlorine samples each time, just to make sure the chlorinization system is working” said Harder.
Too much chlorine gives water a bad taste, but too little won’t kill bacteria that cause diseases in humans.
Tests show that water from Watson Lake’s ground wells is clean, but chlorine is still mandatory because bacteria could conceivably collect downstream, inside the town’s extensive piping system, said Harder.
“It’s a common water treatment in municipal systems.”
A replacement part has been ordered from Edmonton.
Harder expects its arrival next week.
“The mayor and council are exercising ‘due diligence’ in notifying the residents of the precautionary advisory in order to preempt any misinformation that may be circulated,” said a release from city hall.
“There is minimal risk to the public at this time as the town staff are now monitoring the treated water twice a day to ensure detection in the event of a malfunction.”
However, mayor and council have left the public to choose whether or not to boil their water.