Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Take a Sip: Boil-Water Advisory Lifted for Winnipeg after Tests Come Back Clean

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Take a Sip: Boil-Water Advisory Lifted for Winnipeg after Tests Come Back Clean

Article excerpt

Boil-water advisory lifted for Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG - A water warning was lifted for Winnipeg's 700,000 residents Thursday, although officials couldn't say why tests for E. coli came back positive in the first place.

"The province'smedical officer of health has notified us that they've lifted the precautionary boil-water advisory for the city of Winnipeg," Mayor Brian Bowman said before taking a big sip of tap water in front of cameras.

"Testing has occurred over the last two days and, in both cases, we've gotten a clean bill of health."

The advisory was issued Tuesday after routine testing found coliform and E. coli at extremely low levels in six of 39 water samples. Subsequent tests the next day came back clean, but the city had to re-test before the ban could be lifted.

A second batch of samples met all health and safety guidelines, Bowman said.

There were no reports of anyone who became ill as a result of drinking or using tap water, he added.

Officials suspected from the beginning that the initial test results were a "false positive," but the city had no choice but to issue the advisory, Bowman said.

"The regulation is from the province," he said. "I'd like to thank all Winnipeggers for their patience over the last two days."

Efforts now turn to figuring out what triggered the positive results, said Diane Sacher, the city's waste and water director.

"We do not know what has led to this," she said. "Now that we've got the all-clear ... we're going to be shifting our focus to find out what happened, why we did have those positive test results.

"That's obviously going to be a high priority for us now."

Geoff Patton, manager of engineering services for the water and waste department, said there are only two ways the tests could have come back with a false positive.

"The presence of coliforms in test results can really only occur either through a sampling procedure error or through a testing error that's occurred," he said. …

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