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Bad tap water in city of 40,000

40,000 people told to boil water after multiple purification failures

PRINCE ALBERT, Saskatchewan | February 8, 2012

Some 40,000 people in and around Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, were under boil water orders Wednesday after multiple purification failures, officials said.

Troubles began at the water plant Friday in the central Saskatchewan city when filters became plugged, CTV News reported. Soon after, a valve began leaking and the city issued a boil water advisory.

By Tuesday, Regional Medical Health Officer Dr. James Irvine upgraded the boil advisory to an order, calling the water supply a "health hazard," the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

He said samples had detected parasitic evidence of cryptosporidium and giardia, known widely as "beaver fever."

Residents were told chlorination of water doesn't kill the bacteria and only water that had been at a rolling boil for at least a full minute was safe to drink, cook with, or use for personal washing.

The bacteria can live in a human's intestinal tract for more than a month and cause diarrhea, headaches, nausea and can be fatally dehydrating to the very young, old, or chronically ill, the reports said.

In a news release, the city said repairs and water monitoring was under way throughout the city.

"This occurrence should not represent a significant risk of a widespread waterborne disease outbreak at this time," the release said. "There has not been a significant increase in incidences of gastrointestinal illnesses to date."

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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