Gravenhurst water woes hit day three



Kraig Krause


The Town of Gravenhurst has been without potable tap water for three days.

On Monday, the District of Muskoka explained a sequence of events that it says led to the boil water advisory.

On Saturday, the District received a low fluoride level alarm at the Gravenhurst plant during the early morning hours.


The District says a licensed operator was immediately dispatched to investigate.

On arrival, the District says the investigator found that there there was a low level off of fluoride in the distribution system.

According to the District, the investigator noticed a container, believed to be fluoride, that didn't meet its labelling standard.

"It raised some doubt that it potentially could be something else other than fluoride," says Fred Jahn, commissioner of engineering public works for the District of Muskoka.

Jahn says that the District was forced to shut off the water supply and test the water to see if it was fluoride or another substance in an abundance of caution.

The District says the results came back, informing them that it was indeed fluoride.

Although the pipes were turned off for hours on Saturday, more testing is required to determine if bacteria made its way into the water supply from the empty pipes.

"The water sample takes about 24 hours for the lab to culture and read," says Christina Wieder, the manager of safe water for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

"From there, if they are satisfactory, we will lift that boil water advisory."

Both Jahn and Mayor Paul Kelly told CTV News the results could come in by Tuesday morning, and if no contaminants are found, they say the health unit will be responsible to lift the boil water advisory.

Since Saturday, businesses and restaurants have been forced to close their doors.

However, students were welcomed back to the classroom Monday morning.

The Trillium Lakelands District School Board said in a statement that schools would follow the boil water advisory.


There has been bottled water for drinking supplied while fountains are temporarily turned off.

Several parents told CTV News that they hadn't bathed their children or themselves in days as a precaution.

Officials have said that the water is fine for adults to shower, but they recommend sponge baths for children to avoid water consumption.

"I'm struggling to keep my daughter away from the taps because it's a force of habit," says Rhonda Way. "I'm waiting until I get the okay and boil advisory is gone to give her a shower."

When the boil water advisory is lifted, the health unit says Gravenhurst residents should run their taps for around five minutes to ensure there is fresh water.