The precautionary drinking water advisory in Meadow Lake isn’t going away anytime soon, but the water quality seems to be improving.
The advisory was put into place for the city and Flying Dust First Nation May 11 under advisement from the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency. The water coming from the city’s main water source Meadow River has had a high level of turbidity, which is a lack of clarity or brilliance in water. Recent testing showed improvement in the water's turbidity, with levels measured at 0.32 Nephelometric Turbidity Units, just slightly above the regulatory standard of 0.30.
For the advisory to be lifted, the levels need to be under 0.20 units for at least 24 hours, according to city manager Diana Burton.
“After we reach that threshold we will need to flush the hydrants at key points in the city in order to replace the water in our system,” she said. “Then we’ll need to clean out both our reservoirs and clear wells, which is expected to take two to 10 days. We expect at this point the [advisory] will be in place at least until mid-July if the water quality continues to improve.”
Burton said the city is well aware how frustrating this process has been for residents, but she noted staff with the city’s waterworks department are doing extensive testing every day.
“The risk with high turbidity is that there is a chance of bacteria like E. coli or giardia getting into the water system,” Burton said. “If this does happen, the public will be notified immediately.”
The advisory affects water used for drinking, brushing teeth, or washing raw foods, Burton noted. She said water can be used as normal for other purposes, but residents are advised to boil all drinking water for at least one minute prior to ingestion.
There is also still a potable water tank set up for the public at the Meadow Lake Aquatic Centre.
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