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“If it’s 99-percent safe, that’s not good enough,” District of Muskoka commissioner says on Gravenhurst water advisories

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For the past four days, Gravenhurst residents have been under two different water advisories, stemming from an improperly labelled fluoride container.

Fred Jahn, the District of Muskoka’s Commissioner of Engineering and Public Works, says he and his staffers were “highly confident” that the container had fluoride in it. “But myself and my team could not say without 100-percent certainty.”

The current boil water advisory followed a “do not use” order that was put on by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Jahn’s focus now is getting safe water back into the homes of Gravenhurst residents. The current estimate from district officials is that the boil water advisory will be lifted by midday Tuesday

Jahn says it would be premature to release any other information about what was discovered Saturday morning and lead to the subsequent water advisories. He says a thorough investigation will happen.

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“The early findings were, simply, that we couldn’t say with 100-percent certainty that the water was safe,” he says. “Without being able to have that assurance for the public, we had no choice but to shut down the drinking water system until we could say – out of an abundance of caution – that the system is safe.”

Jahn says whatever information is discovered will be released. Jahn expects it will take months, not days and weeks, for the investigation to be completed. He says he wants to come to a proper conclusion so the district and residents can be assured something like this won’t happen again.

Jahn says the Voyant Alert! app, worked as expected. He wants to make sure everyone has it on their devices, citing this emergency as the best reason for downloading it. “Communication to the public in an incident like this is so important,” Jahn adds.

Further updates on the boil water advisory will be pushed out through the app, including when it’s lifted.

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