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April 18, 2013 -- Saskatchewan is offering free testing of private drinking water sources this spring, in light of the potential for flooding.  The Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory will provide free bacteriological testing to residents to help determine whether well or cistern water affected by flooding is safe to drink.  The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency (WSA) will offer site assessments of flooded wells and cisterns, including testing of water that is used as a primary source of drinking water.  Land owners will be required to shock chlorinate prior to sampling and assessment.

“We are pleased to offer this service to our residents, to ensure their drinking water is safe during a season of elevated risk,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “Preventing the risk of waterborne disease is an effective way to help protect the public.”

The free water testing will be available from now until the end of the flood season.  Residents can contact their local health regions to find out if they are eligible for free testing and obtain forms and sample containers.  Information on flooded private wells and a list of health region contact numbers is available at Saskatchewan.ca

“This spring may present us with a number of challenges from flooding,” Minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency Ken Cheveldayoff said.  “We want to make sure that all drinking water sources in the province are protected from any contamination.”

Residents who use water from private supplies are encouraged to watch for signs of flooding that may result in contamination of their water.  People should use an alternate safe water source, such as bottled water, for consumption and cooking if they suspect their well or cistern water has been contaminated by flooding.

After the flood water has receded, individuals are encouraged to disinfect (shock chlorinate) their well or cistern and submit a water sample for bacteriological testing.  Information on shock chlorination and water quality is available at www.wsask.ca/FloodWatch.
Public water supplies are routinely tested and will be closely monitored in the event of flooding to ensure the water is safe.  Residents who get their drinking water from the public water system can contact the owner/operator of their supply if they have any questions.

For weekly updates and information on flood preparedness visit: www.gov.sk.ca/flood.  Information on how to prepare for and clean up after a flood is available on the Ministry of Health’s website.


For more information, contact:

Tyler McMurchy
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: tmcmurchy@health.gov.sk.ca 

Patrick Boyle 
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-694-8914
Email: Patrick.Boyle@wsask.ca