Rupert tap water is safe to drink without boiling it, a release from the City of Prince Rupert said on Friday.
According to the release, the test result that detected higher than acceptable levels of giardia and cryptosporidium in the water late last year was likely a false positive.
Both these microscopic parasites can lead to gastrointestinal infections, though Northern Health confirmed in the March 15 release that no instances of illness related to Prince Rupert’s water supply were recorded.
The release said the false positive was found out after the City sent additional samples to an accredited microbiology lab that specializes in giardia and cryptosporidium.
The additional samples were sent to an Alberta lab for comparative analysis “shortly after the [boil water notice] was issued.”
“Since initiating testing with this laboratory, the results from this facility showed no signs of cryptosporidium and recorded levels of giardia that are well within treatable limits given the City’s available chlorination treatment system,” the release said.
Despite the false positive, Mayor Lee Brain said the precautionary boil water notice and pursuant water quality advisory were the best actions to take.
“Although we now understand that there is reason to believe initial results for cryptosporidium were false positives, we also know that putting the boil notice into effect was the best action to take from a public health perspective based on our understanding at the time,” Brain said in the release.
“This incident has helped both us at the City and Northern Health better understand potential risk from protozoa, and has improved our standard for testing and monitoring water quality going ahead.”
The release said that Northern Health has directed the City to continue to monitor for the microparasites on a monthly basis, at minimum.
“The shared intention of both the City and Northern Health is to protect residents’ health,” Northern Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Rakel Kling said in the release.
For more information, the City has released an After-Incident Report and a water test result infographic, available online or at the front desk of city hall.