Concerns raised over safety of drinking water in Fort McKay
There are concerns being rased about the safety of Fort McKay's drinking water.
According to the Fort McKay First Nation, despite recent enhancements at the community's Water Treatment Plant, higher than recommended levels of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids are being reported.
The chemicals are commonly produced during the chlorination of drinking water, and some studies have found that long-term exposure to elevated levels may pose a risk of cancer.
"Our latest test results showed that were are very close to the guideline, actually one of the samples that was taken within the community was below the guideline. The other samples, we take three different samples, the other samples showed that we were slightly above," Shane Hogan, Water Treatment and Underground Services Manager, told Fort McMurray News.
The municipality says an unusual amount of organic material in the Ells River contributed to a spike in THM and HAA levels, and do not consider the levels a threat to the health of people living in Fort McKay, Alberta Environment and Water agrees.
"What we do is we take the advice of scientists at Health Canada and Health Canada has clearly stated that there is no immediate health risk, the water is safe for human consumption and that there is no need for a drinking water advisory. With that being said, we know that the community has concerns so we must remain vigilant with our monitoring," said Mark Cooper, spokesperson for Alberta Environment and Water.
To address the concerns, bottled water is being supplied to Fort McKay residents, and the community is being advised to take necessary precautions when using water for bathing, dishwashing and washing clothes.
While the Municipality has been testing new ways of treating the water, and will be meeting regularly with Fort McKay administration.