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Warmer weather and rain may be contaminating water sources

Flood; Photo, Interior Health

Several areas within the Interior are experiencing higher than normal temperatures and heavy rainfall, which could lead to local flooding. Flooding may result in several health related concerns, like the contamination of surface and shallow groundwater sources. Interior Health would like to advise everyone, especially those getting their water from a private well, to be aware.

If you are experiencing flooding, here are some guidelines to follow:

· For residents who are on organized water systems, questions about the quality of the drinking water should be directed to the local water supplier (e.g., utility, municipality, etc.);

· For residents who are on smaller systems/individual wells, and suspect that their water supply has been affected or contaminated by a flood, an alternative source of drinking water should be used until the water source can be assessed or tested;

· For advice on having a water source assessed or tested, please contact your local public health centre or refer to approved drinking water testing laboratories; UBC Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine; approved by the B.C. Provincial Health Officer.

Flooding can also result in the loss of power, so here are some food safety tips:

· Frozen foods should be discarded if the electricity has been off and foods have been exposed to temperatures above 4°C (or 40°F) for more than two hours. These foods are not safe to re-freeze;

· Keep freezer and fridge doors closed as much as possible. Placing blankets over your chest freezer will help insulate and keep food frozen longer. Be sure to avoid covering electrical outlets, and keeping frozen containers of water in your freezer will help preserve food;

· Remember - if in doubt, throw it out!

· More Food Safety Facts are available from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

For more health-related information on flooding, visit the Interior Health website at: http://www.interiorhealth.ca/health-and-safety.aspx?id=466