30 homes in beach town under boil-water warning as testing continues

A boil-water advisory will last likely through the work week in parts of Port Stanley after local public-health officials detected elevated readings of bacteria in the water supply.

Southwestern Public Health, which governs Elgin and Oxford counties, issued the water warning Tuesday night for about 30 homes in Port Stanley – from Mackenzie Lane to the west end of George Street – amid high levels of "indicator bacteria" that suggest "potential contamination" in the water.

"Whenever that happens, we do have to make sure that users who could consume the water are notified to boil it until we are able to get clean samples," said Amy Pavletic, the health unit's manager of environmental health.

She called advisories like this one a precautionary measure.

Residents who live in the affected area were advised to boil water for at least a minute before drinking, making baby formula or juice and for brushing teeth, washing raw foods and making ice, according to a statement from Southwestern Public Health.

Pavletic said it was “just a limited number of users on a water line that feeds residents of Central Elgin.”

In an update from Central Elgin released Wednesday afternoon, the municipality stressed that only the about 30 homes from Mackenzie Lane to the west end of George Street were under the boil-water watch.

“The Municipality wishes to reassure residents that the water in all other areas of Port Stanley is safe for consumption and verified with daily water testing sent to an accredited drinking water testing laboratory,” the statement read.

Pavletic said several factors can play into the discovery of bacteria in water samples, including sampling errors. Officials did not specify what type of bacteria was indicated in the samples that set off the alarm.

"We do require to have (subsequent samples) taken 24 to 48 hours apart,” Pavletic said. "Ideally, we'll know before the end of the work week, and we can lift the water advisory if those samples come back satisfactory.”


Brian Williams, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press