Christine Sorenson, president of the BC Nurses’ Union, raises concerns about the quality of water at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Nurses’ Union president told not to drink the water in Prince Rupert

Public health nurse, Christine Sorensen, raises concerns about the quality of water at the hospital

The BC Nurses’ Union is weighing in on the boil water notice in Prince Rupert after city officials announced it could last for another week.

Christine Sorensen, public health nurse and president of the BC Nurses’ Union, said she is concerned about the impact this boil water notice is having on the acute care system in Prince Rupert.

When she was in Prince Rupert for a meeting in August she was told then not to drink the water.

“Even then nurses were raising concern, not only about the colour, the sediment that’s in the water, the taste, the odour, but even then I was told not to drink the water. Nurses have been bringing this forward to me for a long time,” she said.

Boil water orders are always a concern, especially when clean drinking water and sanitation is necessary to meet public health standards. She said that people with compromised immune systems are what concern her the most. She was informed that patients in the cancer care unit at the hospital have also been advised not to bathe.

Previous water issues at Rupert hospital

Water quality at the hospital was under scrutiny earlier this year when Northern Health conducted a water quality study after muddy water was found in some of the taps.

READ MORE: Muddy water found in taps at Prince Rupert hospital prompts investigation

Then in August, the filtered water system at the patient care unit broke down, and the health authority said it wouldn’t be replaced it until the ongoing water study is complete. As of mid-December, the situation hadn’t changed.

“I’m actually shocked that the medical health officer has not paid more attention to this issue and actually worked more closely with the city to rectify this sooner. It actually sounds like it’s getting worse rather than better,” Sorensen said.

The city provided its response to Sorensen’s comments.

“To directly address the contention that the cty has known about this issue for months, this is simply not the case,” said Veronika Stewart, communications manager for the City of Prince Rupert, in an email.

She explained that the city’s water is regularly tested by Northern Health and the notice regarding cryptosporidium and giardia was issued on Friday immediately following notice from Northern Health that tests came back with levels that are higher than acceptable.

“As we have explained, this issue is tied to naturally occurring weather events, as well as the use of our lower elevation secondary source at Shawatlan lake during water infrastructure construction.”

The city has applied for funding to developed a water treatment facility.

“This application was completed in conjunction with Northern Health to address issues like the high concentration of tannins – which contributes to the yellowish colour of the water. These infrastructure upgrades would occur regardless of this particular notice, and are part of the city’s asset replacement program,” Stewart said.

Just Posted

Back on track: Rampage cruise past Hazelton

Kory Movold hat trick, strong goaltending from Devon Gerrits aid Rampage in scrappy affair

Two streaks end at Prince Rupert Rampage first away game

The Kitimat Ice Demons won their first game after two year drought

PRMS Grade 8 girls welcome Coast Tsimshian Academy for first home volleyball game

Sportsmanship was on display in Prince Rupert over the weekend

Return of the Rampage, and more Prince Rupert weekend sports briefs

Snooker season has started at the Legion, with five matches already in the books

Climate, reconciliation and industry top all candidates agenda in Terrace

Debate was the candidate’s last opportunity to address voters in a public forum

WATCH: Minor hockey, major fun

Rupert Rampage drop by to teach some skills at Timbits hockey

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Most Read