Wabush water being tested for toxins

For the past 10 days, the town of Wabush has been under a no consumption ban for its water.

The town of Wabush remains under a state of emergency as a forest fire continues to burn nearby — but fire isn't the only worry.

The town's tap water may also be a hazard.

For the past 10 days, the town has been under a no consumption ban for its water.

When heavy smoke filled the air last week, air tankers couldn't access their usual sources, so they used the town's water supply.

Since then, officials have asked residents not to drink the tap water.

Town manager Ken Anthony said the water ban is a precautionary measure.

"I'd rather be correct than speculate," said Anthony. "It's like going on your snow machine. When you think the ice is thin, maybe you should turn around."

Residents are permitted to clean with tap water, but have been asked not to consume it, brush their teeth with it, or bathe babies in it.

Parent Erika Colson has concerns about the water — and whether it's safe for bathing older children as well.

"I'm afraid to even put them in it," Colson said.

"The kids have got skin rashes now … but is it a normal skin rash from the summer heat … or is it from the sponge baths in this water?"

The Health department gathered water samples from taps and from the lake on Monday.

The samples are being tested for a variety of toxins.

"If we get good readings as per what they're looking for in the sampling, then, please God, we're good to rock and roll," said Anthony."

While the no consumption ban is in place, Wabush residents are encouraged to drop by the Labrador City arena where officials have set up a hose. Residents can take as much tap water as they need.

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