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Medical Officer of Health says brown water is safe to drink


To consumers on the Chatham and North Kent area water systems serving the communities of Chatham, Dresden, Thamesville, Paincourt, Grande Pointe, Mitchell’s Bay and surrounding areas.

On Sunday, September 15, 2013, the Chatham-Kent Public Utilities Commission advised the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit raw water from Lake Erie has caused colour and in some instances odour issues in the treated drinking water for the following communities: Chatham, Dresden, Thamesville, Paincourt, Grande Pointe, Mitchell’s Bay and their surrounding areas. The communities are serviced through a common intake in Lake Erie for treatment at the Chatham water treatment plant. The cause is naturally occurring colour in the lake water related to water temperature fluctuations and seasonal lake turnover.

Flushing of water at the consumer end will not clear the discolouration, but this will resolve itself naturally as the lake water restratifies. Dr. David Colby, Medical Officer of Health has indicated that there is no health risk associated with the water discolouration and the water is safe to use and drink. The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit will continue to work with the Chatham-Kent Public Utilities Commission, and if for any reason the safety of the water becomes compromised, the public will be notified immediately and corrective action will be taken.