The breakup of the Hay River has created muddy water in Great Slave Lake, resulting in a boil-water advisory for Hay River and area.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

A boil-water advisory has been issued for Hay River and area.

The public health advisory was issued on May 13 by the chief public health officer for the NWT.

Residents of four communities – Hay River, the Hay River Reserve, Enterprise and Kakisa – are being advised to boil their drinking water for at least one minute.

“This advisory is precautionary in nature and is due to higher than normal turbidity (muddy water),” the advisory states. “There have been no illnesses associated with drinking water reported in the community.”

The four communities are serviced by the same water supplier, which gets water from Great Slave Lake.

The muddy water in the lake, collected by an intake pipe about seven kilometres from the shore, has been caused by the breakup of the Hay River.

According to the advisory, all water used for drinking, preparing food, hot and cold beverages and ice cubes, washing fruits and vegetables and dental hygiene must be boiled. That is of particular importance in preparing infant formulas.

People are also advised to not drink water from public drinking fountains.

It is not necessary to boil water used for other household purposes, such as showering, bathing or washing using tap water. However, people must avoid swallowing the water.

Alternatives to boiling water include using bottled water or water that has been processed by distillation, reverse osmosis, or filtered using a filter size of one micron absolute or less.

The advisory noted that Brita-type drinking water filters, which use activated carbon filters, are not a safe method for treating water during a boil-water advisory since they do not disinfect the water.

The chief environmental health officer, in collaboration with the Town of Hay River, will monitor the situation and provide an update when the advisory is lifted.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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