Hospital under boil water advisory after discoloured water flows from taps

Several staff members reported the discolouration Saturday; advisory to remain in place until testing complete

Prince Albert's Victoria Hospital. (Herald file photo)

The Victoria Hospital is under a boil water advisory after several staff members reported discoloured water coming from the taps on Saturday.

A precautionary drinking water advisory was issued Saturday. According to an emailed statement from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), while the reports were from different locations within the hospital, the discolouration was only present for a short time.

The SHA had maintenance staff investigate the cause of the off-coloured water. They also contacted the city, who assisted with the investigation. A cause of the discoloured water has bot been determined.

“Turbid/unclear water conditions in the Victoria Hospital water distribution system indicate the water may be contaminated and the water treatment process may be inadequate to ensure safe drinking water to users,” the notice reads.

“All water used for drinking purposes should be boiled to ensure protection from possible disease-causing organisms or obtained from a safe treated source.”

The SHA said there have been no further incidents since those initial reports and stressed that no services have been disrupted.  The advisory will remain in effect until testing is done to ensure the water is safe to drink. Results are expected in the next few days.

Information about the precautionary advisory has been posted throughout the hospital.

Prince Albert Northcote MLA Nicole Rancourt’s office was sent a copy of the advisory.

“It’s very concerning,” she said.

The Victoria Hospital is not the only facility to be facing a boil water advisory. The new Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford is also under a notice.

“We know patients should feel confident in having good quality water in their health care facilities,” Rancourt said.

She criticized the Saskatchewan Party of letting health care facilities fall by the wayside.

“We know that the Sask. Party has to do a lot better with ensuring our health care facilities and people are getting the proper services they need,” she said.

“When people are accessing services, they have an expectation that they should be able to sue the water facilities when they need it. Having good quality water across our province is a necessity and should be provided.”

Anyone using the hospital’s water system is to boil all water for drinking purposes for at least one minute at a rolling boil or use safe water from elsewhere. That water should be used for washing fruits and vegetables, in food or drink which will not be heated, in ice cubes or for brushing teeth or soaking false teeth, along with drinking.

The advisory also includes guidelines for dishwashing, advises that drinking fountains should not be used and that younger children and infants are sponge bathed. Anyone with severe rashes or cuts should talk to a doctor.

“Under most circumstances, there is no need to boil water fused for other household purposes,” the notice says.

That means adults, adolescents and older children can shower, bathe or wash using the water but should avoid swallowing it. Laundry can also be done in the water.