High water levels and flood-like conditions in some lake shore areas in the county has prompted the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit and Norfolk County Building Department to offer advice to protect drinking water and keep residents safe.
Cottages and homes in Long Point that are running off of wells or personal septic systems need to be aware of the dangers of possible flooding conditions, said a media release.
Nick Dye, a resident of Long Point, says he isn’t worried about the high water levels.
“There’s not much you can do, really,” said Dye. “My house is up high enough.”
The health unit provides free water testing. Sample bottles can be picked up at any health unit building or the Langton Administration Building. There is also temporary pick up available at R&R Outdoors in Port Rowan.
Dye hadn’t heard about the sample bottles, but said his house is connected to Long Point water.
If floodwater gets into a well or cistern it could contaminate the drinking water for the home.
Jim Carroll, owner of R&R Outdoors, said they received the sample bottles on Thursday night.
Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, medical officer of health for Norfolk County, reminds the public that if they believe there is a possibility of their water being contaminated they should get it tested and use bottled water until the results have returned.
In such cases, bottled water should be used for drinking, food preparation, washing dishes, brushing teeth, making ice, or baby formula.
While sample bottles can be picked up at multiple locations they must be returned to either the Simcoe Health Unit or the Langton Administration site for testing.
The turnaround time for the water test is from four to five business days. It is suggested that community members call the public health lab to ensure quick turnarounds.
The Norfolk County Building Department recommends that those with holding tanks and tile beds monitor their property for signs of malfunctions. Any visible damage, strange coloured water pooling, or foul smelling odours are signs of damage to the tanks.
Under flood-like conditions, caution should be taken to ensure the tank is not emptied too much, making it prone to float and break drain lines due to high groundwater levels. Limited water use (e.g. less laundry, reduced shower time, avoiding baths) can also assist with reducing the risk of further septic malfunction under these conditions.
Those in Norfolk with septic system concerns can contact the county’s building department at 519-426-5870, ext. 6016.