Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Health advises the public to avoid swimming and other in-water recreational activities in lakes and rivers that have been significantly impacted by flooding.
“Testing was initiated to see whether water quality has been affected by the flooding that has occurred,” Director of Environmental Health for the Ministry of Health Tim Macaulay said. “Water samples taken in various locations have shown that high levels of harmful bacteria (E.coli) have entered into water bodies. It is recommended that residents avoid flood waters at this time, including refraining from water contact sports and taking care not to drink or bathe in the water.”
Water testing occurred at the following lakes on Thursday, July 3: Last Mountain, Echo, Pasqua and Katepwa. The results indicated the presence of elevated levels of harmful bacteria. Sampling is currently taking place on water from Crooked Lake and Round Lake, and similar results are expected. Precautions should be taken at other lakes that have been heavily affected by flooding.
Residents with cabins near the flood impacted areas are also advised not to use water that may be pumped in directly from nearby water bodies.
The situation will continue to evolve as flood waters peak and recede, and other lakes may also be affected. This general advisory will remain in effect until flood waters recede and water quality has improved.
Flooding has covered many beaches in the province with debris, littering many lakes and rivers. The public is urged to use caution when considering recreational activities of any kind on or around flood water.
People who experience adverse health effects (such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea or stomach cramps) after recreational water activity should consult a medical professional. Those who have health-related questions about water quality can call HealthLine 811 or contact their local health region.