While a crew is on-site working to repair the water main break on Wharf Road, Bracebridge’s Mayor explains fixing it will not solve the problem.
“The break needs to be repaired,” explains Mayor Graydon Smith. “The pressurization on the system is somewhat back, but not all the way back.”
The District of Muskoka’s Director of Water and Sewer Operations Marcus Firman told the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom Monday morning the water main will be repaired by the end of the day, but the boil water advisory will remain.
“Water main failures are not uncommon and most cases can be isolated and repaired quickly, sometimes before customers experience a problem,” Communications Officer with the District Molly Ross says. “This particular emergency was unique to the District given the large capacity of the water main and the significant extent to which it failed. As a result of the break, there was a complete loss of pressure throughout the Bracebridge water distribution system, which impacted all municipal water users throughout town.”
Ross says to expect the advisory to be in effect for the rest of the week.
“(A laboratory) will flush the drinking water supply and take water samples once water is restored,” explains Safe Water Manager for Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Kristina Wieder. “Once sample results are back and considered satisfactory, the Health Unit will lift the boil water advisory.”
The majority of Bracebridge does have water running, but Wieder says the boil water advisory will remain in effect until testing is done. “We can’t confirm that the water is drinkable or potable,” she says.
Water is available at the Kirby’s Beach Water Treatment Plant for anyone in need.
“This could still take days,” Smith says. He has been a part of multiple meetings since the advisory was put in place and says his understanding is that the tests take “some time” to complete. Smith says he will be meeting with officials from the District of Muskoka and Health Unit tomorrow. He expects to know more about when the advisory may be lifted then. “Hopefully our samples are prioritized,” he says.
Smith adds that he’s concerned about the effect this will have on businesses. “This is stacking a crisis on top of a crisis,” he says. The MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom obtained a letter sent by the SMDHU to businesses ordering them to close if they use water to prepare food. “Because of that this is beyond difficult if not impossible for some of our businesses who are already in desperate circumstances,” Smith says.
The Mayor also thanks Gravenhurst Home Hardware for offering free water refills to people in town. “Bracebridge residents have always stepped up and helped one another,” Smith says. He hopes goodwill like this continues.
“This is not a fast-breaking news situation,” Smith says. “We’ll continue to stay on top of this.”