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Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use
The City of Prince Rupert continues it’s month-long water quality advisory on Sept. 18 and recommends those with weakened immune systems to boil water prior to use. (File photo)

A water quality advisory (WQA) for Prince Rupert is still ongoing, the City advised residents in a Sept. 18 statement.

“Please be advised that the City’s Water Quality Advisory remains in effect over the weekend and until further notice, due to continued turbidity levels that are slightly higher than acceptable limits,” the City of Prince Rupert notice said.

The initial WQA was issued on Aug. 18, a month ago, during the wettest August since preciptation data was first recorded in 1909.

City staff have conducted a fly-over of the watershed and identified a few small landslides that have contributed to elevated turbidity persisting longer than expected. The city issued statement said although turbidity has overall slowly been decreasing since the advisory was put into effect, it is still not at low enough levels where the advisory can be removed by Northern Health’s drinking water officer.

READ MORE: Water quality advisory issued by City of Prince Rupert

City Communications Manager Veronika Stewart said, sampling is completed twice a day and takes roughly half a day to obtain results. Testing is done locally by Northern Labs.

“Unfortunately the Water Quality Advisory is continuing, and although the situation overall is improving, turbidity is still a bit too high to remove it,” Stewart said.

“A WQA is a step down from a full scale Boil Notice for the entire community,” Stewart said. “It’s the lowest form of water advisory where boiling is recommended for infants, pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised immunity.”

The precautionary measure is issued to residents considered most ‘at risk’. A WQA indicates a level of risk associated with consuming the drinking water, but the conditions do not warrant a boil water notice or do-not-use water notice, the City notice said.

“As soon as we are able to remove the advisory, an update will be provided via the City’s official channels, including our emergency alert system.”

The City advises as a precaution that all water intended for drinking, washing fruits and vegetables, making beverages or ice and brushing teeth, should be boiled for one minute, then cooled and placed in a food grade storage container.

READ MORE: City of Prince Rupert announces $22M for water treatment project

“Owners of public facilities are requested to post Water Quality Advisories at all sinks or drinking water fountains accessible to the public, alternatively, public fountains and taps should be turned off,” the City said. “As opportunities arise they must also advise their clientele verbally of the Water Quality Advisory.”

There is currently no evidence of increased risk to water users, and additional testing is being conducted to continually monitor water quality and adjust recommendations accordingly. This advisory remains in effect until another public notice, amendment or rescindment is directed by the Drinking Water Officer at Northern Health Authority.

K-J Millar | Journalist
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