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Water Advisory and muddy waters

November 17, 2006
  Yesterday a very unusual thing happened in the history of British Columbia.  The largest water advisory was announced because of the high turbidity in the tap water available in the Vancouver Greater Regional District.  A large amount of rainfall caused mudslides and errosion into two of the watersheds where water is made available for the taps.  In some areas the water coming out of the taps was the color of beer.
  Today the area is on the way to cleaner water as most areas except Vancouver and two other cities (North Van and Burnaby) in the area have moved to a third water source that is clean enough to drink without concern.  Stores have quickly sold out of bottled water and many Tim Horton’s can only sell donuts without the coffee.
  Most people would probably be alright when drinking water that has lower standards, but it is good to know that they let us know, we don;t need to risk our health for nothing.  On the other hand there are people who have significant risks if they drink the water.  They include:
  • young children
  • elderly
  • people with lowered immune systems
  I searched for what a boil water advisory meant because if you watch the news they just like to give the scary parts, but not what to do about it.  I think that is what made a huge rush on stores for bottled water when it mostly was not needed.
Health Canada information on Boil Water Advisories and Boil Water Orders
  This site gives very good information on how protect yourself from the potential of micro-orginisms in tap water when an advisory has been issued.
  It also gives some idea what to do after the boil water advisory is lifted.  A local health officer recommended that you flush out your taps by running the water for a couple of minutes the first time before drinking.
  I hope that this experience teaches people to have supplies prepared for themselves in the event of a disaster.  Have supplies for your household for 72 hours, including water!
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