While the boil-water advisory for Hay River and area was lifted for the second time this year on July 6, the water levels in the river remained high as of last week and it contained an unusual amount of debris, as evidenced by this driftwood piled up against a finger dock at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

A second boil-water advisory for the year has been lifted in the Hay River area, but that does not mean that the river and Great Slave Lake are back to normal.

The Town of Hay River was warning last week that a boil-water order could possibly be issued for a third time this year because of water turbidity, otherwise known as muddiness, still lingering from spring breakup.

Plus, it was cautioning boaters about an exceptionally large amount of driftwood floating down the river and into Great Slave Lake.

The second boil-water order was announced on June 19 and lifted on July 6 by the GNWT’s chief public health officer.

“The town advises residents that a large volume of water with high sediment levels is still flowing out of the Hay River,” reads the town’s public notice of July 6. “If turbidity levels in our water system rise again, the boil-water advisory could be put back in place.”

Mike Auge, the town’s director of public works, told the July 7 online meeting of town council that the turbidity levels in the water were not yet the best.

“It’s still a little dirty, but it has met the requirements,” said Auge. “But just a warning that we may have to put a boil-water advisory back on if it gets worse again. Just looking at the river, the levels are still high.”

There was so much driftwood in the river as of last week that Ross Potter, the director of protective services with the town, issued an advisory to boaters.

“Due to the extremely high water levels on the river and lake, there is a substantial amount of trees floating on the river,” the July 10 caution reads. “Some of these may be submerged and very difficult to see. Please use caution when boating on the river or lake.”

The boil-water orders had covered Hay River, the Hay River Reserve, Enterprise and Kakisa.

There have been no illnesses associated with the drinking water.

The first boil-water order of the year had been issued on May 13 and remained in effect for over a month before being lifted on June 16.

All four communities impacted by the boil-water advisory are serviced by the same supplier with water from Great Slave Lake obtained through an intake pipe which stretches eight kilometres into the lake.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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