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Bacteria detected in Crossroads water


Students at Crossroads School in Devlin, west of Fort Frances, have been told not to drink the school’s water after traces of bacteria were found.

A sample taken last Thursday (May 17) was found to contain several types of bacteria. The school was notified of the bacteria content at 3:30 p.m.—about 90 minutes before its annual family barbecue.

“It was called overgrown, which means there’s all kinds of other background bacteria so we couldn’t determine what it was,” said Bill Limerick, environmental team leader for the Northwestern Health Unit.

School staff quickly found alternate water sources for the barbecue, including bottled water, and about 500 people attended with no glitches.

The school is still under a boil-water advisory. In the meantime, fountains have been shut off and a chlorinator is being added to the school’s water system.

“Right now we’re still under a boil-water advisory. All faucets and fountains have been shut off and we’ve added chlorine to our water and flushed out our system,” noted Crossroads principal Brian Love.

“I envision we’ll be back on the system by Thursday or Friday.”

Water at the school comes from a well system.

“It could just be an isolated case but we don’t lift [the boil-water advisory] until we get two consecutive samples that are clear,” noted Limerick.

The results could be due to a contaminated sample but follow-up tests taken yesterday and today are being examined at a Thunder Bay laboratory.

“Hopefully by the end of the week we’ll have it clear,” said Limerick. “We’ve had no reports of illness as a result of it.”

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