Boil water advisory in effect for Town of Erin

Residents advised to use alternative drinking water source or boil water for at least one minute before using

UPDATE: Boil water advisory ended March 26.

ERIN – A boil water advisory is in effect for those hooked up to the Town of Erin’s water system.

At 10:25am on March 24, a tweet was posted on the town’s Twitter account, stating there would be a water outage “south of Union Street” for several hours after a watermain break.

As the Erin Mayor’s Breakfast was underway at the Erin Legion on Friday morning, town spokesperson Lavina Dixit received word the contractor doing work for the town’s new wastewater treatment plant had broken through the watermain at Main and Water Streets around 9am.

In a brief phone call with the Advertiser, Dixit said the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA), which manages Erin’s water system, issued the boil water advisory as a precaution.

The advisory states: “Please use an alternative source of drinking water or bring water to a rapid rolling boil for at least one minute before use and/or consumption.”

Dixit directed several of the Advertiser’s questions to the OCWA on Friday.

OCWA communications manager Amy Lane deferred the newspaper’s questions back to the town.

On March 25, OCWA regional manager Caralynn McRae responded with a written statement, but did not address several specific, itemized questions.

McRae wrote that agency staff were contacted at 9am on Friday by the project manager of the construction company performing linear work for the new wastewater treatment plant.

“Operational staff immediately responded to the emergency, taking corrective action to control and repair the break as quickly as possible,” McRae wrote.

The watermain break led to a loss of water flow and pressure, but full supply was restored at 1:30pm on March 24.

McRae stated the boil water advisory is a “standard precautionary procedure” because of the “possible risk of contamination” and will be lifted once tested water samples are in the clear.

According to a prepared statement from environment ministry spokesperson Gary Wheeler, the ministry will “ensure corrective actions are taken.”

The ministry will also work with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) to “ensure a safe drinking water supply is restored” in line with the 2020 Watermain disinfection procedure.

WDGPH spokesperson Danny Williamson wrote in an email that the health unit’s inspectors are contacting local businesses and organizations to ensure they’re aware of the advisory.

“The [OCWA] will work with the health unit this weekend to lift the advisory, once results are safe for consumption,” Williamson wrote.

Comments posted to social media suggested several residents were unaware the advisory was in effect, only finding out about it from a community Facebook page.

The agency recommends residents talk to neighbours to spread the word and check on vulnerable or isolated persons.