WATCH: The boil water advisory is affecting everyone, including restaurants and service centres. Lorrain Nickel reports.
The entire city of Winnipeg is under a precautionary boil water advisory after tests showed the presence of E. coli in the water supply.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority issued the advisory just before 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. It was initially for Winnipeg east of the Red River, but city officials widened it to cover the entire city.
What is in the water?
City officials say that the water testing returned with the presence of coliform bacteria as well as E. coli.
READ MORE: Winnipeg under boil water advisory after bacteria detected
Total coliforms are a group of bacteria typically found in the environment, such as in soil or vegetation. It’s also in the intestines of animals.
They won’t necessarily cause illness, but if the bacteria are detected in the water supply, it could be a red flag for other harmful microorganisms contaminating the water.
E. coli is a bacteria that lives in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. It can get into lakes, pools and water supplies. When it does, people are at risk of infection when the contaminated water isn’t properly treated with chlorine or when people accidentally swallow the contaminated water.
LIVE BLOG: Winnipeg under boil water advisory
The symptoms of an E. coli infection include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.
How long will the boil water advisory stay in place?
We don’t know. Geoffrey Patton, the acting director of water and waste for the city, said the boil advisory is staying in place “until further sampling can prove that the bacteria is not an issue and was more than likely a sampling error in our procedures.”
READ MORE: Winnipeggers rush to buy bottled water after boil advisory issued
“But what we have in front of us, we have testing samples that show this low level of bacteria and it’s on the east side and we’ve seen it on the west side,” he explained.
WATCH: Mayor Brian Bowman announced a city-wide boil water advisory Wednesday.
What should I do if I need water?
Tap water should be brought to a rolling boil for one minute and then stored in clean containers. It can be refrigerated to keep it cold, too.
Once the water is boiled, it’s safe to use for drinking, making infant formula and juice, cooking, making ice, washing fruits and vegetables, brushing teeth and feeding pets.
Get rid of any ice, infant formula, juice and drink mixes prepared before the boil water advisory was issued.
Read more about what to do here:
Boil water advisory fact sheet
Precautionary measures during a boil water advisory