WATCH: Winnipeg official ‘unsure’ how long boil water advisory will last
WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg water and waste department is testing tap water again Wednesday to find out if it is safe to drink.
“We’ve been resampling the locations that came back as positive for low levels of bacteria,” said Geoff Patton of the water and waste department. “Those samples are being expedited for testing and will be available to us sometime early afternoon so that we can evaluate the results of those tests to determine the next steps in this event.”
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority issued a boil water advisory for the city Tuesday after testing found E. coli in the water supply.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are issuing (a boil water advisory) citywide,” Bowman said Tuesday evening. “Hopefully we will find out that these were false positives tomorrow and very soon thereafter we will be able to lift this notice, but we do need to be cautious.”
LIVE BLOG: Winnipeg under boil water advisory
Patton said Wednesday that staff expects retesting will show no problem with the water supply, although they are preparing for the possibility of more abnormal test results.
“The expectation for us is that theses samples, that there was a problem with the sampling and that these samples will come back as clear and OK, but we’re doing several ‘What if’ scenarios,” Patton said Wednesday morning.
Six routine samples taken on Monday tested positive on Tuesday for E. coli and coliform at extremely low levels.
Five of the six positive tests were east of the river, but one was in the city’s southwest.
WATCH: Winnipeg water and waste official Geoff Patton describes what happens if water samples come back positive for E. coli, when those samples will be evaluated and the focus moving forward.
The tests for E. coli usually take about 24 hours, but they’ll be expedited to 16 hours in this case, Patton said. The work can’t be done faster because samples have to be grown, he explained.
Meanwhile, tap water should be boiled for at least one minute before drinking, making food or infant formula or brushing teeth.
Schools are open in the city despite the lack of drinking water. Parents are asked to send their children to school with enough drinking water for the day.
WATCH: Winnipeg water and waste official Geoff Patton clarifies what the precautionary boil water advisory means, and what people can still do with the city’s water.
READ MORE: Winnipeggers rush to buy bottled water after boil advisory issued
Polo Park food and beverage outlets are closed until further notice, the mall tweeted. Many Starbucks outlets are also closed.
Due to the City of Winnipeg water advisory, #PoloPark food and beverage outlets will not open until further notice. #wpg @cityofwinnipeg
— Polo Park (@PoloParkWPG) January 28, 2015
Many other Manitoba communities are under a boil water advisory. For a full list of communities and how long they’ve been under an advisory click here.
Preparing food and beverages:
Use boiled or bottled water to drink.Wash all fruits and vegetables.Wash food preparation surfaces.
Prepare baby formula from powder or concentrate with boiled or bottled water.Ready-to-use baby formula is safe.Wash, sterilize bottles in boiling water.
Don’t use ice made with unboiled tap water, ice dispensers or ice makers.Only use ice made with boiled or bottled water.
Don’t rely on water filters because most do not remove bacteria or viruses.
Tap water is safe for washing hands.
Use boiled or bottled water to brush teeth or clean dentures.
Bathing and showering:
Be careful when bathing to not swallow any water.Young children should be sponge bathed using boiled or bottled water.
It is a good idea to give them boiled or bottled water.
Melissa Hoft, a spokeswoman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said in a news release there was no information to suggest there had been any increased illness attributable to the drinking water.
She said common symptoms would include gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
“Most people who are affected by a waterborne illness would be able to recover at home,” she said. “A sign to be concerned about would be the presence of bloody diarrhea and dehydration, and people having either of those symptoms should seek medical attention.”
It is not necessary to boil tap water for laundry or washing dishes.
All commercial buildings, public and private, including restaurants, daycares and rest homes, are under the boil-water advisory. All city pools remain open and the city says they are safe to use.
—; With files from