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Water Quality (Drinking Water)
Public Health Inspectors inspect and sample all Rural Municipal wells and drinking water supplies at public facilities that are not connected to municipal distribution systems.
Although Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management (SERM) has jurisdiction over municipal distribution systems, the Public Health Inspector monitors the laboratory results from these systems. If a serious potential threat to public health is detected in any type of public water system the Medical Health Officer may issue a Boil Water Order to the municipality.
Public Health Inspectors also provide advice to private water supply owners on water disinfection and the interpretation of water analyses.
For information on chlorine treatment, go to:
The difference between a Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory (PDWA) and an Emergency Boil Water Order (EBWO)
A Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory (PDWA) is used when there is a concern that water quality problems (due to microbial or chemical contamination) may exist.
An Emergency Boil Water Order (EBWO) is issued when there are confirmed public health threats due to microbial contamination of the drinking water supply.
PDWAs are used when there is evidence of:
• Significant deterioration in the quality of the source water for the drinking water supply - for example high turbidity;
• Malfunctions in the water treatment plant or disinfection system;
• The drinking water distribution system is not able to meet the standards for chlorine in the system;
• Bacteriological monitoring of the drinking water shows some coliform bacteria;
• Concerns about chemical parameters of the drinking water;
• Contamination within the drinking water distribution system; or,
• Failure to submit the water samples required by the Health Hazard Regulations or local health region.
EBWOs are used when there are confirmed public health threats due to microbial contamination of drinking water and they will be used on evidence of:
• Confirmed presence of E.coli in the drinking water;
• Confirmed presence of fecal coliforms in the drinking water; or,
• Where epidemiological evidence indicates that the drinking water is responsible for an outbreak of illness.
Thinking about PDWAs versus EBWOs is similar to the difference between a weather watch and a weather warning.
A fact sheet for cleaning a cistern after a Precautionary Drinking Water Advisory (PDWA) or an Emergency Boil Water Order (EBWO) is posted below.
For more information, contact Public Health Inspectors at (306) 637-3626 or (306) 842-8618 or the Medical Health Officer at 842-8618.