Saskatchewan offers free drinking water tests

In response to the heavy rain and flooding in the Swift Current area, Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (SWA) will be offering to test private wells used as drinking water sources that have been potentially contaminated by surface water flows, at no cost to the owner. Increased runoff can lead to surface water infiltration and contamination of wells through damaged well casings, improper seals or caps or other routes of exposure.

"Drinking water sources that have been contaminated by the recent flooding can present a serious risk to human health," Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Watershed Authority Nancy Heppner said. "To help alleviate that risk, the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority is working with the Cypress Hills Regional Health Authority to provide free testing of private and regulated wells that are used for drinking water."

Sample testing will focus on the immediate risk to human health posed by bacteriological threats and nitrates. Watershed Authority staff will test private wells and provide information on well management techniques to help reduce health risks. The Cypress Health Region is focusing its efforts on the regulated wells in the impacted area.

Individuals or small communities eligible for the testing must be using the well water as a source of drinking water, suspect the water source has been impacted by heavy rain or flooding, and be located in or around the Swift Current and Maple Creek areas.

Saskatchewan Watershed Authority will be testing private wells between June 28 and July 16. People who think their well may be contaminated can call the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority at 1-866-837-8420 (1-866-TEST H2O) to find out if they are eligible for testing.

To address immediate health risks and ensure bacteriological safety prior to testing, water should be boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute before using, or an alternate water source that has been deemed safe should be used.

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