The boil water advisory that affected West Park, Westlake and Red Deer College was the biggest advisory in two years in Red Deer.
Alex Monkman, Red Deer water superintendent, said that while preparing for a downtown project, there was an unexpected pressure drop in the system.
“We did our best, we wanted to get the water back to everyone as soon as possible,” said Monkman.
It took four days for the advisory to be fully lifted. Most of the water users in the area were not subject to the advisory by Friday, when it was lifted for all but 68 houses and Red Deer College.
Of the 15 samples sent to Alberta Health Services in Edmonton for testing, two had issues. One had a documentation issue and the other came back positive for choliforms, which are often found in feces. The positive test was what kept 68 houses on West Park Crescent and Red Deer College under the advisory Friday and most of Saturday. By Saturday evening, the advisory was lifted for the whole area.
Monkman said the choliforms could have been caused by a variety of sources including dirt or a bug.
Three additional samples were taken from the same spot where the choliform sample was found and rushed for testing.
With 2,500 buildings affected, 60 city staff from numerous departments, went door-to-door in the area, hand delivering notices the advisory was in the effect.
There are many reasons for the City of Red Deer to issue boil water advisories. According to their website some examples include water leaks or main breaks where contamination is possible; depressurization of water mains; or when contaminants enter the water distribution system from the water treatment plant, improper cross connection or by “some other means.”
Typically water tests take 48 hours to complete.