Water in Winnipeg comes from the Greater Winnipeg Water District aqueduct, with water from Shoal Lake, Ontario. Once collected, the water undergoes an extensive treatment process involving chlorine, ultraviolet light and orthophosphate to kill harmful viruses and bacteria, protect against waterborne parasites and reduce lead contamination. Although the water is treated before it makes its way to Winnipeg, certain impurities can remain that may have an effect on its quality. Problems such as the following can occur:
DISCOLOURED WATER - can result from routine operations such as water main breaks or water main cleaning, dissolved minerals or rusted plumbing. Dirty or discoloured water can result from a change in the flow of water in the system. This can cause sediment in the water pipes to loosen and be released into the water. The change of flow may be caused by activities such as water main breaks, fire fighting or water main cleaning. Winnipeg Health Officials recommend that you not use discoloured water for any purposes that require clean water, such as for drinking, preparing food and beverages or laundry. Discoloured water usually doesn't last long. Turn on a cold water tap in several locations and let the water run for a few minutes. The water should clear. If it does not clear, wait 30 minutes and try again. If the water is still discoloured after two-three hours contact 311.
City of Winnipeg - Frequently ask questions on discoloured water
CHLORINE - Since chlorine is used as a disinfectant during the water treatment process, people often notice a faint smell or taste of chlorine in their drinking water. Chlorine is not harmful to your long-term health.
SEDIMENT - Sediment can collect, clogging pipes and allowing bacteria to breed, which could affect drinking water.
LEAD CONTAMINATION - No amount of lead is safe in drinking water, but can occur due to corroded piping.
If you have questions regarding the water quality at your school, please contact the divisional Safety Officer to discuss water sampling and testing.