Thunder Bay City Water Safe to Drink but boil well water first

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NNL HealthbeatTHUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is advising residents who get their water from a well to boil that water before consuming it.

For residents of the City of Thunder Bay, the latest word from the city is that tap water is safe to consume. The city is still asking residents to reduce consumption of water and not to flush or drain water down the drains at this time.

Boiling Well Water Recommended

Due to the heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding that may lead to the contamination of well water, the Health Unit is strongly advising residents and businesses in any areas affected by today’s flooding and high water levels to bring well water to a rolling boil for one minute before consumption.

Well water used for brushing teeth, making baby formula, washing foods and cooking should also be boiled.

This precautionary measure should be taken while water levels are high and until well owners have had their water tested for bacteria.

For further information, visit the Health Unit website at www.tbdhu.com/eh/waterquality or contact the Environmental Health Department at 625-5930.

Food Safety during a Power Outage:

The Health Unit is advising all residents who were affected by a power outage to take caution in consuming foods that have not been kept cold or frozen during the power outage that affected this area.

The Health Unit recommends throwing out any perishable food if the electrical power to your refrigerator has been off for more than 4 hours. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

Follow these simple precautions during a power outage:

  1. If in doubt throw it out.
  2. Throw out any food with a strange colour or odour as soon as possible.
  3. Never use a BBQ indoors to cook food. Only use a BBQ outdoors.

For further information on food safety, visit the Health Unit website at TBDHU.COM or contact a Public Health Inspector at 625-5930 or 1-888-294-6630, extension 5930. 

Foods Affected by Flooding:

The Health Unit is advising all residents who were affected by flooding to take caution in consuming foods that may have been in contact with flood water. Flood water may carry silt, raw sewage, oil or chemical waste.

Thoroughly inspect all food items and discard any food that has been contaminated by flood water. If you are in doubt about the safety of any food, throw it out rather than risk illness or disease.

You should discard:

  • Food stored in permeable containers. Screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops and crimped-cap containers are examples of containers that may not be waterproof.
  • Food wrapped in paper, plastic cloth, fibre or cardboard.
  • Food that has come in direct contact with flood water. This includes meats, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked).
  • Home-canned food in glass containers that have come in contact with flood water. Throw away the food and the flat part of the lids. The empty jars can be washed and sterilized for future use.
  • Commercially-canned foods that are damaged. Cans that are bulging, swelling, leaking, punctured, dented or have holes, fractures or are rusting should be thrown out.
  • Porous items that may come in contact with food or with a person’s mouth. These items include: baby bottle nipples and pacifiers; wooden bowls; and plastic, paper or foam food storage containers and utensils.

For more information, see attached PDF – Food Safety After a Flood.

 Restaurants and Food Establishments:  Any restaurant or food premise that have experienced flooding, please contact the Health Unit.

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