Drinking Water Advisory Extended To Clark Island, Stanley Island, Jacobs Island, Renshaw Island, And Little Hog Island

Ohiarihko:wa/ July 27, 2015

Due to a recent fuel spill on the St. Lawrence River involving the recovery of two capsized tugboats, a ”Do Not Consume Water” advisory was issued this weekend for households on Hamilton, Pilon, Calquohoun and Dickerson islands. This advisory has since been extended and now applies to Clark, Stanley, Jacobs, Renshaw Island, and Little Hog islands as well.

The concern is in regard to any fuel that may be in the water surrounding these islands. Households on these islands should avoid intake of water, including swimming.  The use of bottled water from an approved source is an alternative. 

Animals that drink direct river water should be provided with an alternate drinking source while the advisory is in place.

MCA’s Environmental Health Officer will be conducting testing of the water on these islands and the advisory will remain in place until the recovery of the tugboats has been completed.

Why a drinking water advisory is issued? 
A Do Not Consume Order (DNCO) or a Do Not Consume Advisory (DNCA) is issued to the public when the water in a community's water system contains a contaminant, such as a chemical, that cannot be removed from the water by boiling.

What is the difference between a boil water advisory and a drinking water advisory? 
A drinking water advisory is issued when a condition exists in a drinking water supply that cannot be corrected by boiling or disinfecting the water. This condition may result in a risk to consumers. A boil water advisory is issued when a condition exists that can be corrected by boiling the water before consuming it.

How can you use water when a drinking water advisory has been issued?

You can use the water for laundry and bathing (excluding small children), but the water should not be used for:

  • drinking
  • making juice
  • preparing infant formula
  • making ice
  • cooking
  • washing uncooked fruits and vegetables
  • brushing teeth

For these purposes listed above, water from an alternate source, such as bottled water should be used.

Advice for babies receiving breast milk?
Continue to breastfeed your child. If a mother has been drinking water that may have been affected, it is only in very rare circumstances that breast milk would be contaminated. If there is an issue, the community health will notify local residents through media channels.

Advice for babies receiving infant formula? 
Do not use tap water to prepare formula during the advisory. If you have refrigerated prepared infant formula or boiled water it should be discarded. For these purposes, water from an alternate source, such as bottled water should be used.

Where can you get water during a drinking water advisory? 
Bottled water can be purchased from local suppliers such as grocery stores, convenience stores, and some department stores. 

How can you disinfect a container for storing drinking water during a drinking water advisory?

  1. Clean a food grade container with hot soapy water to remove any matter which may still be in the container.
  2. Rinse the container with clean, potable water from an alternate source to remove soap. Get potable water from a tap that is not affected by the drinking water advisory.
  3. Mix 50 ml of household bleach with one gallon (4.54 litres) of potable water from an alternate source in the container. Securely attach a tight-fitting lid and shake the container for at least one minute. Use the same solution to disinfect the cap, lid and mouth of the container.
  4. Empty the container and let air dry.

Protect the container from re-contamination:

  • Avoid touching the mouth, cap or lid of the container.
  • Keep the container away from surfaces such as floors.
  • Replace the lid as necessary.
  • Before re-filling with drinking water from an alternate source, clean and disinfect the container as described above.

Can you use the water to take a bath during a drinking water advisory? 
Adults and teens may shower with untreated water as long as no water is swallowed. Younger children should be sponge-bathed instead of bathed in a tub because they may swallow tub water. Older children could also be given a shower with a hand-held showerhead, avoiding the face.

How can you clean your hands during a drinking water advisory? 
You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, containing more than 60% alcohol.  Be sure to keep these products out of the reach of children. The wet wipes used for cleaning babies at diaper change are not effective for disinfecting hands and should not be used for this purpose.

Hands that are visibly soiled should be thoroughly washed using soap and potable water from an alternate source.

How do you wash your dishes during a drinking water advisory? 
You should not wash your dishes with the water from your home until after the drinking water advisory has been lifted. If possible, use disposable dishware and utensils, or use water from an alternate source.

Can you do laundry during a drinking water advisory? 
Yes, but you should be aware that tap water may discolor your clothing.

Are there precautions for daycare centers during a drinking water advisory? 
Stop the use of water play tables during this time. Drain all water play tables or play areas containing water. Avoid activities/crafts which use water or where there is a risk that children may consume a product containing the water (for example, hand painting, baking, pasting with glue made from flour and water).

Should you test your water during a drinking water advisory? 
If you use water from the community system, do not take water samples to the community health for testing. The community water is tested to ensure the safety of the water supply before the drinking water advisory is lifted.

Can you use tap water during a drinking water advisory if you have a water filtration device? 
No, the water should not be used for drinking, cooking, making juice and infant formula, making ice, washing uncooked fruits and vegetables, or brushing teeth until further notice. Use water from an alternate source for these purposes.

What should you do during a drinking water advisory if your doctor has told you that you are immunocompromised? 
Always follow the advice of your physician or dietitian. You might be advised to use water from an alternate source, even when a drinking water advisory has not been issued.

For more information: Please call Environmental Health Officer MCA at Community Health at 613-575-2341 Ext 3226.