NH issued a boil water advisory for three locations, one in Decker Lake and two in Burns Lake, on June 12. (Black Press Media file photo)

Northern Health announces boil water advisory for Decker Lake Elementary School

A couple of Burns Lake properties also on the list

Northern Health (NH) has issued a boil water advisory for Decker Lake Elementary School, Decker Lake Mennonite School in Burns Lake and Sciame Properties in Burns Lake on June 12.

A boil water advisory is issued when the drinking water source is contaminated and determined as posing health risk. According to the NH website, any water used for consumption in the form of drinking, cooking, brushing teeth and any water used for washing fruits and vegetables and for washing dishes, must be boiled for up to a minute. Two alternative treatment options that the website mentions are to add two drops of household bleach for every litre of warm water and four drops of household bleach for every litre of cold water, shake and allow it to stand for 30 minutes before using. The second method is to add chlorine or iodine tablets to the water and follow the instructions given on the packaging.

The Decker Lake Elementary School had an ozone system malfunction, leaving only one form of treatment option operational for surface water treatment. According to the NH website, some corrective steps have already been taken such as providing bottled drinking water, posting signages warning about the malfunction and cordoning off all drinking water fountains in the school premises. The operator has also submitted a waterworks construction permit to repair the damaged system. Students, staff, parents and visitors are advised to continue bringing bottled water from their homes until the treatment malfunction is fixed.

NH also discovered contaminated water at the Decker Lake Mennonite School in Burns Lake, with an unsatisfactory bacteriological sample. The operator for the well would now have to treat the well with chlorine and retest the samples. There would need to be another inspection done before the water would be considered potable again.

A similar contamination has also been discovered at the Sciame Properties, a local Burns Lake property on Freeport road. However, according to Google, the business at this location is permanently closed. Despite the closure, the report for the property mentions that a similar problem had occurred last July, leading NH to believe that this is an annual occurrence. The water at this site would also need to be chlorinated and only after thorough inspections would the boil water advisory be suspended from the property location.

Although the hazard rating at all three places is low, it is still advisable to boil water for consumption for up to one minute.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist


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