Fountains covered at local schools as Boil Water Advisory continues

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Drinking fountains are covered and bottled water is in the classroom across Petrolia and Central Lambton as a Boil Water Advisory continues.

The alert was first issued in Petrolia Wednesday around noon hour and then was extended to Enniskillen, Oil Springs and Dawn-Euphemia about three hours later.

Tests from water taken after a water main break on Petrolia Line early Monday showed the presence of eColi bacteria. Phil Powers of the water department in Petrolia says the levels of chlorine in the sample was still at acceptable limits indicating the eColi presence may have come when the water main rupture was being repaired.

Todd Hayward, the principal of Queen Elizabeth Public School in Petrolia, says they were notified just before the advisory was issued and followed the Lambton-Kent District School Board’s protocol for the situation. “Part of it is that we cover all the fountains and bring in bottled water,” he says. “We have the teachers especially to the smaller kids because they don’t always differentiate between a tap and a fountain.”

The teachers also supervise hand washing “to make sure they don’t drink water from the tap.”

Joanna Catterson at Dawn Euphemia School says the students are also using hand sanitizer after washing their hands with soap and water as an added precaution.

Officials say it may be Friday afternoon before the advisory is lifted. Town officials say there must be two water samples tested without the presence of eColi before the advisory can be lifted.

Lambton Public Health say so far, no one is known to be ill because of the bacteria in the water. While humans carry some forms of eColi in their stomach, it can cause illnesses such as stomach cramps and diarrhea and vomiting. In the most severe cases of contamination, the bacteria can cause long-term kidney problems.

Public health officials say any water used for cooking, drinking or brushing teeth should be boiled for at least a minute until the advisory is lifted.