Boil water advisories issued, again 

Five Howe Sound communities have been advised to boil their drinking water, following recent tests on their water supplies.

Coast Garibaldi Health is urging the users of water supplies in D’Arcy, Birkenhead Lake Estates, Devine, Heather Jean Estates and Coast Mountain Outdoor School to boil their water for at least two minutes as a precaution.

Coast Garibaldi Health’s medial health officer Dr. Paul Martiquet says the advisories are issued to highlight the importance of water quality and safety.

He says the affected areas rely on small waters systems which may not treat their water sufficiently to kill all the microbes in the water.

But Dr. Martiquet also insists that most people who use the water systems mentioned in the advisory have nothing to worry about. Only users with weakened immune systems are at significant risk of contracting water-borne diseases.

Those potentially at risk include sufferers of HIV/AIDS, people who have had an organ or bone marrow transplant and those who have undergone treatment for cancer.

Babies, the very elderly, pregnant women and people with fragile health as a result of chronic disease are also more vulnerable to complications.

Public concerns about water safety have been high throughout Canada since the death of seven people in Walkerton, Ontario last year. More than 2,000 people also fell ill after consuming contaminated water in the rural community.

The latest advisories do not have any implications for users of Whistler’s municipal water system. However, Coast Garibaldi Health is supporting calls for Whistler and Squamish to use safer groundwater supplies.

The provincial government is also supporting efforts to protect groundwater throughout the region. Many B.C. communities, including Whistler, have just received grants of up to $1,000 to put up signs to mark and protect local groundwater supplies.

B.C.’s Environment, Lands and Parks Minister, Ian Waddell, says he’s also planning to introduce legislation to further protect drinking water.

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