A boil water order has been issued in the Three Mile Plains-Garlands Crossing area just one week after a boil order was imposed in the town serviced by the neighbouring water utility.
Customers of the Three Mile Plains-Wentworth Water Utility are advised to boil all water destined for human consumption for at least two minutes until further notice.
“A water sample on the very end of our distribution system, out towards the Old Halifax Road West, did not pass the health test. It had total coliform and E. coli present,” said Rick Sherrard, director of public works for the Municipality of West Hants.
Sherrard says the cause of the contamination is unknown, and there is no evidence to suggest it is linked to the E. coli contamination found in the Cole Drive area of Windsor’s water system Sept. 4.
“I don’t think it’s connected with Windsor because I don’t see any possible way of sucking water out of Windsor.”
He says utility workers are consulting with Nova Scotia Environment and the Medical Officer of Health to ensure the water is restored to a consumable state as soon as possible.
“We take chlorine residuals every day and, of course, the presence of a residual chlorine is the main indicator to us if there is sufficient disinfection in the system or not and we have had good chlorine residuals in the entire system consistently… so this bad test, if you will, at this point is confusing to us because we’ve done no work on the system,” he noted.
The utility will not be back to business as usual until two consecutive samples taken 24 hours apart test clean. If all goes well, the utility could be in a position to call for the boil order to be lifted by Friday afternoon, Sherrard said.
In the meantime, a public notice posted on the Municipality of West Hants’ website Wednesday, Sept. 11, says water utility customers must boil “all water for two minutes before drinking, making ice cubes, washing foods, brushing teeth or any other activity requiring human consumption.”
Sherrard says he believes the boil order is more precautionary in nature, but stressed that citizens should take the advisory seriously while it remains in effect.
In an earlier interview with the Hants Journal, Dr. Richard Gould, a medical officer of health with the Capital District Health Authority, noted that the E. coli found in the drinking water in Windsor was not the harmful E. coli O157 strain.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website, signs and symptoms of an E. coli-related illness include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever.
Updates will be posted on www.westhants.ca. For more information regarding the boil order, call 798-7865.