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Canada updating drinking water guidelines for planes, trains, ships

Crews flush water distribution system after elevated chlorine levels in two Saskatoon neighbourhoods.
Under the new rules operators would still have the option of either supplying prepackaged water bottles and ice or offering tap water that would be subject to testing. File / Getty Images

MONTREAL – The Canadian government is laying out stricter rules to ensure clean water aboard planes, trains and passenger ships for drinking, hand washing, oral hygiene and food preparation.

It’s been sixty years since Ottawa first introduced regulations, and the Public Health Agency of Canada says it’s time to bring them up to date.

The existing provisions “no longer reflect the latest industry or scientific standards,” according to a notice posted recently in the Canada Gazette, which posts many government decisions.

Health Canada says the cost of the changes to operators are small enough that travellers won’t see any effect on ticket prices.

Under the new rules operators would still have the option of either supplying prepackaged water bottles and ice or offering tap water that would be subject to testing.

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The notice says if tap water is used, operators would need to “sample and analyse the water for E. coli on a routine basis.”