Port McNeill residents can finally drink their tap water again without having to boil it.
The town has been under a strict boil water advisory since Aug. 11, when water test results came back showing trace amounts of E. coli were found in one of its samples during routine testing.
According to medical officials, some kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhea, urinary infections and even respiratory problems.
After numerous weekly water tests throughout August, which continued to come back showing areas along Beach Drive were still producing trace amounts of E.coli and Total Coliforms, the boil water advisory continued on into September, when Island Health mandated for the town to complete a chlorine disinfection of the water distribution system.
On Sept. 14, the town flushed the entire water system to remove leftover chlorine residuals, and then on Sept. 15-16, the town sent away the new water samples for testing.
After two consecutive clear test results showing the absence of E. Coli and lower levels of Coliform bacteria, Island Health officially lifted the boil water advisory on Sept. 22.
“The entire community is relieved to have the boil water advisory lifted,” said Mayor Gaby Wickstrom in a statement to the Gazette. “We are appreciative of [Port McNeill] staff’s hard work and the collaborative way they worked with other organizations. We thank the community for their tremendous patience during this stressful time.”
When asked for a resident’s opinion on the issue, longtime Port McNeill resident Sequoia Coe pointed out that other communities in Canada have been under a boil water advisory now for years, and “we are lucky to have had clean water for as long as we did.”