In Newfoundland and Labrador the majority of people receive drinking water from sources that are owned and operated by a municipality or local service district. These supplies are known as public community water supplies.
Some residents of the Province do not obtain their drinking water from public water supplies but instead have their own water source located on their property. This type of supply is called a private water supply and typically is either a drilled or dug well.
Environmental Health Officers, with the Government Service Centre, Department of Government Services, collect water samples and conduct chlorine residual testing from public water supplies monthly.
Officers test drinking water for the presence of a group of organisms which are indicators of fecal contamination and/or inadequate disinfection of drinking water. The indicators are total coliforms and Escherichia coli.
Several germs that cause disease in humans are carried by humans and animals in their gut and excreted in feces. Drinking water can become contaminated with human or animal feces by surface run-off and septic tank malfunction etc. When fecal contamination occurs, there is potential for disease causing germs to be present. Therefore, it is important to ensure there is no fecal contamination of drinking water.
For more information on bacteriological water quality indicators go to Health Canada's Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality
The results of bacteriological testing of public water supplies are forwarded to the municipal council office responsible for the water supply. To obtain the most recent results for your community, please call your municipal council office.
A boil water advisory is necessary when testing, or some other circumstance, has identified the potential for disease causing organisms (e.g., bacteria) to be present in the public water supply. A boil water advisory is typically recommended by the regional Medical Officer of Health or an Environmental Health Officer.
The following boil water advisory information may be useful to you.
To view an up-to-date boil water advisory list, go to: Department of Environment and Conservation - Boil Water Advisories
Information on the chemical quality of your public water supply can be obtained from your municipal council office or from the Department of Environment and Conservation at:
Testing of private water supplies is the responsibility of the owner of the supply.
Samples for bacteriological testing must be collected in sterile sample bottles and can be submitted to either the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Health Laboratory at the Miller Centre in St. John's or at a Government Service Centre location nearest you. Samples bottles are available at the Public Health Laboratory and Government Service Centre locations.
Environmental Health Officers with the Government Service Centre are available to interpret the test results for you. If the testing of your drinking water determines that the water is unsafe for consumption you will be notified immediately and advised to boil the water.
For information about the bacteriological water quality of private water supplies, please consider the following resources.
Remember not to consume water from roadside springs. (356 KB) The chemical and bacteriological quality of roadside spring water is unknown and may contain disease-causing micro-organisms or chemical contaminants.
In addition to the drinking water information presented above, the Public Health Division has produced additional resources which are aimed at preventing or controlling illness caused by drinking contaminated water. Items available are listed below.
In addition to the information available above, the following websites provide additional drinking water quality information that you may find useful.
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