Essential workers — and anyone who follows — are being advised to drain their water tanks and flush their lines when arriving in Hay River and surrounding area, K’atl’odeeche First Nation, or Fort Smith.
An announcement from the Chief Environmental Health Officer was posted to the GNWT’s Public Safety Page on Sept. 13.
“The notice applies to any commercial and private facilities which have water holding tanks for drinking water,” says the advisory. “This advisory is precautionary in nature and is due to the standing of drinking water for over 4-weeks period in tanks. There have been no illnesses associated with drinking water reported in the community. The Chief Environmental Health Officer, in collaboration with the community government, continues to monitor the operation of water treatment plants in the affected communities. All routine testing was done on time throughout the evacuation period, and there is no concern with treated water in affected communities.
“There are no alternatives to replacing the water. Using filters, reverse osmosis, or boiling water are not acceptable alternatives to replacing the water in the holding tank.”
Residents are asked to request a fresh tank of water and flush their lines for at least 15 minutes.
Traffic support back on highway
As workers return to the evacuated communities, the GNWT is re-activating emergency highway support services it utilized when residents were driving back to Yellowknife.
From 8 a.m. Sept. 14, “Tow trucks and GNWT highways trucks will be patrolling Highway 1, between the border and Highway 2 intersection as well as Highways 2 and 5 from 8:00am to 10:00pm daily. These trucks will carry fuel for emergency situations only.”
Temporary port-a-potties have been installed on the Alberta-NWT border as well.