January 27, 2015 7:31 pm
Updated: January 28, 2015 12:06 am

Winnipeg under boil water advisory after bacteria detected


WATCH: The boil water advisory is affecting everyone, including restaurants and service centres. Lorrain Nickel reports.

WINNIPEG — The entire city of Winnipeg was under a precautionary boil water advisory Tuesday night after testing showed the presence of E. coli in the water supply.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority issued the  water advisory just before 5:30 p.m. The advisory was initially for Winnipeg east of the Red River but city officials widened it to cover all of Winnipeg just before 6 p.m.

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“Out of an abundance of caution, we are issuing (a boil water advisory) citywide,” Mayor Brian Bowman told a news conference Tuesday evening. “Hopefully we will find out that these were false positives tomorrow and very soon thereafter we will be able to lift this notice, but we do need to be cautious.”

LIVE BLOG: Winnipeg under boil water advisory

The WRHA says it has communicated the advisory to all hospital staff.

All residents of Winnipeg are being advised to bring any water to a boil for at least a minute before using it to drink, make food or infant formula or brushing teeth.

WATCH: Mayor Brian Bowman announced a city-wide boil water advisory Wednesday.

Geoffrey Patton, the acting director of water and waste for the city, said the boil advisory will remain in place “until further sampling can prove that the bacteria is not an issue and was more than likely a sampling error in our procedures.”

“We are confident in the safety of the water and we are re-sampling to prove this out,” he said. “But what we have in front of us, we have testing samples that show this low level of bacteria and it’s on the east side and we’ ve seen it on the west side.”

Patton said tests showed the presence of choliform bacteria as well as E. coli.

Brian O’ Leary, superintendent with the Seven Oaks School Division, said schools will be open tomorrow despite the advisory.

READ MORE: Winnipeggers rush to buy bottled water after boil advisory issued

“All schools will be open, parents are asked to send children to school with bottled or boiled water sufficient for drinking throughout the day,” said O’Leary.

Staff at Marion Street Eatery reacted  quickly to hearing there is a boil water advisory.

“We went around to all the tables and told people to not drink the water,” said Alice Johannesson with the St. Boniface restaurant.

“We brought in bottled water and bagged ice,” said Johannesson. “It’s an inconvenience we hope won’t last too long.”

In May 2000, seven people died and thousands became sick in Walkerton, Ont. after E. coli got into the water system.

The city will be giving an update on the boil water advisory situation Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m.

Preparing food and beverages:

  • Use boiled or bottled water to drink
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables
  • Prepare drinks
  • Wash food preparation surfaces

Baby formula:

  • Prepare baby formula from powder or concentrate with boiled or bottled water
  • Ready-to-use baby formula
  • Wash, sterilize bottles


  • Don’t use ice made with tap water, ice dispensers or ice makers
  • Only use ice made with boiled or bottled water

Water filters:

  • Don’t rely on water filters because most do not remove bacteria or viruses

Washing hands:

  • Tap water is safe to use for washing hands

Brushing teeth:

  • Use boiled or bottled water to brush teeth or clean dentures

Bathing and showering:

  • Be careful when bathing to not swallow any water
  • Young children should be sponge bathed using boiled or bottled water


  • It is a good idea to give them boiled or bottled water

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