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Second lab test confirms water as parasite-positive

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The Ontario Clean Water Agency sent away another sample of Atikokan’s water last week to be tested for the Cryptosporidium parasite--and the results came back positive once again.

“It was reconfirmed that Cryptosporidium was indeed in the water supply,” OCWA client services rep Peter Fox said yesterday morning.

This time, the OCWA called upon GAP, a private firm out of Guelph, Ont., to test the water sample rather than one of the Ministry of Health’s labs.

“It’s just a standard procedure--just like when go to a doctor . . . you want a second opinion,” Fox noted.

Meanwhile, the OCWA continues to try to perfect a filtration system to eliminate the parasite from Atikokan’s water supply.

“We’ve moved a filtration system right by the river intake, giving the chemicals in it more time to react with the water,” Fox said.

But the Cryptosporidium organism is microscopic, he added, making it very difficult to immediately judge the effectiveness of any modifications in the filters.

OCWA also will continue to hope for water levels to rise, which will make the water treatment plant’s job easier.

“There doing a lot of maintenance there upgrading the facility,” Atikokan Mayor Dennis Brown said yesterday. “[OCWA is] doing a good job. We’re just disappointed it took them so long.”

Meanwhile, no one has been confirmed ill with Cryptosporidiosis due to Atikokan’s water supply, said Bill Limerick, environmental health team leader with the Northwestern Health Unit. But he noted they are tracking a couple of possible cases.

The health unit is warning Atikokan residents to continue to boil their water for five minutes before consumption.

The boil-water advisory was first issued on Oct. 14--more than a month after it was revealed that a sample taken Sept. 9 had tested positive for the Cryptosporidium bacteria.

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