Drinking Water Contamination or Shortage

Water is a vital resource for human beings. The quality and availability of water are priority questions that warrant constant vigilance and compliance with standards. Contaminated drinking water or water shortages can stem from:

  • The bursting of a water main;
  • A prolonged heatwave;
  • A major equipment failure in the water treatment of distribution chain;

  • A prolonged power failure;

  • The accidental discharge of chemical products in a water body that services as a drinking water reservoir; and
  • The presence of bacteria in the water distribution system.

Follow the authorities' instructions and safety rules in the event of drinking water contamination or shortage

When necessary, the authorities will provide instructions. To ensure your safety and that of your family, follow them. Contact your municipality or consult the media in your area.

Find out about water quality from your municipality. Keep bottles of drinking water in your basic emergency kit. Calculate at least two litres per person per day, and have enough for at least three days.

In some situations, your municipality will organize the distribution of bottles of drinking water, drinking water or not-drinkable water through, for example, tankers. Pay attention to the instructions regarding the mode of distribution and the use of this water.

What to do when the drinking water is contaminated

Follow boiling or drinking water advisory published by the heads of municipal and non-municipal water systems.

In the presence of a boil water advisory, follow these recommendations:

  • Boil tap water at least one minute at a rolling boil to kill all micro-organisms that can be present. Use the boiled water to:
    • Drink and prepare beverages;
    • Prepare feeding bottles and baby food;
    • Prepare food;
    • Wash fruits and vegetables eaten raw;
    • Make ice cubes; and
    • Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth;
  • You can use the tap water not boiled to the care of hygiene and other domestic purposes care.

In the presence of a drinking water advisory, use only bottled water to drink, prepare food or brush your teeth. You can use tap water for other domestic uses such as washing clothes or dishes and for personal hygiene purposes, unless the authorities indicate otherwise.

Source and reference for further information: Urgence Québec – Drinking water contamination or shortage

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