Posted: May 13, 2019
Boil Water Advisory Lifted for District of Tofino
Update #4 - Friday May 17
The District of Tofino has lifted the Boil Water Advisory for all users of the Tofino water system, effective immediately.
Following regular sampling and monitoring of the system since the Boil Water Advisory was issued on Monday, May 13th, 2019, the District of Tofino has confirmed that water quality in the system is safely within the provincial drinking water guidelines.
As noted in earlier updates, one of the four water samples taken on Tuesday produced a positive result for coliform. While all four of Wednesday’s samples were free of contaminants, the one positive result from Tuesday required the District to continue the boil water advisory as more samples were taken. Results from the water samples taken on Thursday were found to have no indication of contamination.
Island Health recommends taking the following precautions after a boil water advisory has been lifted:
- Flush all water-using fixtures for one minute.
- Run cold-water faucets and drinking fountains for one minute before using the water.
- Drain and flush all ice-making machines in your refrigerator.
- Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
- Drain and refill hot water tanks set below 45 C (normal setting is 60 C).
- Change any pre-treatment filters (under sink style and refrigerator water filters, carbon block, activated carbon, sediment filters, etc.).
For more information on what to do during and after a boil water advisory, please visit: https://www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/drinking-water/what-do-during-boil-water-notice
If you are experiencing any symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms, and they persist, you should seek medical attention.
We appreciate the community's support and attention during this time.
For more information please contact:
Update #3 - Thursday May 16
The District of Tofino’s Boil Water Advisory will be continuing for at least another 24 hours.
As noted in earlier updates, water samples were taken on Tuesday and Wednesday for analysis at an independent lab. One of the four samples taken on Tuesday produced a positive result for coliform. While all four of Wednesday’s samples were free of contaminants, the one positive result from Tuesday requires that the District continue the boil water advisory.
- Please continue to boil water for domestic purposes (drinking, cooking, brushing teeth etc.)
- The water should be at a rolling boil for two minutes.
Water samples taken today (May 16th) will be tested by the independent laboratory tonight and tomorrow morning. The results of these tests will be known sometime in the afternoon of Friday, May 17th.
The District will issue an update once the results of these tests are known.
Coliform bacteria are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that potentially harmful microbes may be present.
Harmful microbes in drinking water can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms and may pose a special health risk for infants, some elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. But these symptoms are not just caused by microbes in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you should seek medical advice.
Thank you for your patience, attention and understanding.
Update #2 - Thursday May 16
During the night of Sunday, May 12, 2019, the chlorination system at the Bay Street Street Chlorination Station failed, causing unchlorinated water to enter the water system. An alarm which normally notifies the District of low chlorine levels also failed. These failures were discovered during routine testing on Monday morning.
Why did it happen? What was the cause?
The District of Tofino is converting our water treatment facilities from chlorine gas to liquid chlorine. During the conversion, one of the chlorine gas tanks unexpectedly stopped feeding into the water system. The switch to liquid chlorine is meant to ensure safer, more reliable treatment of the District’s water supply with upgraded failsafe procedures.
What did we do to protect the public?
Chlorine residual tests are carried out five days a week at eight locations throughout our community, as well as at the treatment facilities.
Once the deficiency was discovered, water treatment works were immediately shut down at Bay Street. District staff checked residual chlorine at the reservoirs and water was manually chlorinated with liquid chlorine. A system flushing program was also initiated to re-establish residual chlorine levels throughout our entire water system. This flushing has continued over the last few days. The District notified the general public through multiple communication channels including radio, email, signage, social media, and our website. Sensitive populations and system users such as the Hospital, School and food processing establishments were directly notified by phone and with in-person contact.
In close partnership with Island Health, District staff began bacteriological sampling from five locations for analysis at an independent lab.
What can the public expect, right now and later?
We are continuing to flush and check residual chlorine levels throughout the District, and we are monitoring the treatment facilities. Two sets of water samples are now being analyzed by an independent lab in Comox. We expect to have the results of this testing by 3 PM on Thursday, May 16th. Once we receive confirmation that these samples meet drinking water standards, the boil water advisory will be lifted.
We will also carry out an additional set of bacteriological samples after the boil water advisory has been lifted to ensure the continuous distribution of safe drinking water.
Tofitians are entitled to expect safe, high quality drinking water; we apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate the understanding and attention of the public.
We will update the public by 4:00 PM on Thursday, May 16.
Update #1 - Tuesday May 14
The first samples have been sent to an independent lab, and another round of testing will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, May 15th.
We anticipate this precautionary advisory to be in place until Thursday or Friday of this week. Thank you for your cooperation and attention.
Original Boil Water Notice
May 13, 2019
TOFINO BC – The District of Tofino is issuing a district-wide precautionary boil water advisory due to a failure in the chlorination system overnight on Sunday, May 12, 2019. Water is now being safely treated, however we require a minimum of 48 hours to confirm whether water is safe for consumption.
Tofino residents are asked to please do the following:
- BOIL WATER for DOMESTIC PURPOSES (drinking, cooking, brushing teeth etc.)
- The boiling water should be at a rolling boil for a minimum TWO MINUTES.
District of Tofino staff are continually monitoring the water supply system and working with Island Health to gather information. We will continue to update the public as the situation evolves.
- For details on what to do during a Boil Water Notice please visit the Island Health website here: https://www.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/drinking-water/what-do-during-boil-water-notice
- Resources for Food Establishments are available here: https://www.islandhealth.ca/sites/default/files/2018-04/boil-water-notice-faq-food-establishments.pdf
For Public Works Emergencies please call: 250-726-7837.