Saskatoon has one the safest water supplies in North America. A clean and safe water supply is one of the top priorities of the citizens of Saskatoon. We take pride in the quality of our water supply, and are committed to ensuring all precautions are taken to keep our citizens safe when work or construction is occurring on the water supply system.
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Drinking Water Advisories (PDWA)
A PDWA doorhanger lets you know that work is being conducted on the water supply system in the area, and that, as a precaution, the City is advising you to boil water for drinking until the work is completed and laboratory tests confirm the water is safe to drink.
The yellow doorhanger includes information about boiling water, what to expect, and includes contact information if you have questions. The yellow PDWA indicates that you should use caution when using the water supply.
Once all laboratory tests are complete, we will deliver a green PDWA Lifted Notice to let you know the water is safe to drink.
What to Do if You Receive a PDWA
If a PDWA has been delivered to your home or business, it means that the City is conducting work on the water supply system in your area. While the water supply will be shut off a period of time, it could be turned back on within a few hours. It is important however, that until the City confirms the water is safe for consumption by delivering a green PDWA Lifted Notice to your home or business, you are advised to boil your water prior to drinking or undertaking any activity where water could be ingesting. While this work is underway, and until the City can confirm that the water is safe for consumption, you are advised to boil your water prior to drinking or undertaking any activity where water could be ingesting. This includes:
- Brushing teeth
- Washing fruits and vegetables
- Hand dishwashing (unless sanitized in another fashion)
- Preparing food or drink which will not be subsequently heated
- Making ice
- Soaking false teeth
While home filtration systems are effective in filtering some impurities, they do not disinfect the water of bacteria. The only way to effectively kill bacteria in water is to boil the water.
Follow These Instructions
- Bring water to a rolling boil
- Continue to boil for at least 1 minute
- Let water cool before using
- Do not drink water from public drinking fountains in this area.
- While bathing, avoid swallowing the water.
- Consult your physician if you have cuts or rashes that are severe before using the water.
- Younger children and infants should be sponge bathed.
- Regular tap water can still be used for washing clothes.
- If you do not wish to boil your water, use an alternate water supply known to be safe (e.g., bottled water).
The City will inform you when this Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory ends. During this time, the City will be monitoring samples to ensure a high water quality is maintained. This is a localized problem, and only households and businesses in the affected area will receive this notice.
When lab tests are received and are negative for contamination, City personnel in the field will deliver a green PDWA Lifted Notice to let you know the water is safe for consumption.
The notice will advise you to do the following before you resume using the water:
- Run cold water faucets and drinking fountains for at least 1 minute before using the water
- Drain and flush the ice-making system in your refrigerator
- Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle
- Drain and refill hot water heaters set below 45oC (normal setting is 60oC)
Alternate Water Supply
Occasionally, water service may be disrupted to perform emergency or planned system maintenance.
If we cannot undertake repairs within eight hours, an emergency water supply trailer will be provided when one becomes available.
Instructions for Use
- Place your container under the spout. (Ensure the container is clean and safe for potable water).
- Lift the lever to start the flow of water
- Release the lever to stop the flow of water.
If there are any issues with the water flow, please call Public Works customer service at 306-975-2476.
Keeping Our Water Supply Safe
When either Public Works or Construction and Design is conducting any repair or completing a planned project on the water supply system, it is possible for the system to become contaminated by its surroundings such as soil or other potential contaminants. The following steps are taken to ensure water safety:
- The water supply is shut off in the affected area.
- The affected parts of the water supply system are de-pressurized and isolated using valves that prevent water from moving along the water supply system. During this work, it is possible for the system to become contaminated by its surroundings such as soil or other potential contaminants.
- When the work or repair is completed, the system is re-pressurized and completely flushed past the point of construction and out through a hydrant.
- The water supply system is flushed until turbidity (a key test of water quality) is below 1.0 NTU and the chlorine residual is minimum 0.9 ppm. City personnel in the field gather chlorine, turbidity, and bacteriological samples to ensure the water is safe.
- Water samples are drawn into sterile containers and delivered to Environmental Services Branch Labs, which operates within the City’s Utility Services Department, where water quality testing occurs.
- The results of the chlorine and turbidity tests are completed immediately in the field. For repairs to the water supply system, the bacteriological tests require one negative result while for new construction activities, two negative tests are required, spaced 24 hours apart. . Therefore, the total time required for testing is up to a minimum of48 hours. The Labs provide testing results to City personnel in the field to confirm the work meets safe drinking water requirements.
- At any point should there be a positive bacteriological result, the affected area will be re-flushed, re-sampled and re-tested and the minimum 48 hour period will start again.
- Taking into account the 48 hour minimum time for testing, the entire process of identifying a required repair, fixing the problem, and the City deeming the water supply safe for consumption can take a minimum of 72 hours.