After six weeks of consuming boiled and bottled water, Prince Rupert residents can return to their taps.
The city released a statement on Friday afternoon stating that Northern Health has cleared it to downgrade the boil water notice to a water quality advisory.
A water quality advisory does imply a level of risk with consuming the drinking water, but that risk is not serious enough for a boil water notice, or do-not-use water notice.
“It is the lowest level of notification, and is issued as a precautionary measure,” the release states.
Some risks may remain for particularly vulnerable segments of the population, such as infants, the elderly or those with weakened or compromised immune systems.
The release recommends that these people continue to boil water as a precaution when drinking, washing fruits and vegetables, brushing teeth or making beverages or ice.
The city has had five or more consecutive clear samples for cryptosporidium returned from its approved testing facility.
Unlike giardia, cryptosporidium cannot be treated using chlorination, so the city had to “demonstrate three weeks of satisfactory consecutive results sowing that the raw water shows no detection for cryptosporidium.”
The clear cryptosporidium results combined with levels of giardia that can be effectively and safely treated using the city’s chlorination system enabled the boil water notice to be downgraded.
The city will continue to test the water for both giardia and cryptosporidium twice per week for the “foreseeable future, until Northern Health determines it is safe to reduce frequency.”
Health care providers in the city will also continue to watch for illnesses caused by the quality of its water.
“Over the course of the advisory, and the months leading up to it, there was no outbreak of illness related to cryptosporidium or giardi,” the release said. “Which indicates that the notice has been effective in ensuring positive health outcomes.”
The statement added that the city’s flushing program also ended this afternoon.
City staff is in the process of writing a report that will outline lessons that have been learned from the notice. This report will be written with Northern Health and will include ways the city can improve in should another situation like this occur.
The statement said the information will be presented in February at a meeting of council.
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Matthew Allen | Reporter
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