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City Drinking Water: Tests Confirm Mercury Levels Below Detection Limits

March 4, 2009 – The raw and treated water for Thunder Bay’s Bare Point Water Treatment Plant is tested regularly in accordance with the Ministry of the Environment Drinking-Water Quality Standards for heavy metals such as mercury. Results dating back to 1990 consistently show levels below the detection limit for mercury on all tests conducted on the raw water at the Bare Point intake. The latest Drinking Water Quality Annual Report, released last week, confirms that the level of mercury in our drinking water is below the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard of detection limit.

A Source Water Protection Intake Study completed by an independent Engineering Consulting Firm in the fall 2008 identifies areas of protection for the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant intake. The sediment deposit located within Thunder Bay’s north harbour, identified as an area of concern, is not located within the intake protection areas identified in the recent study. 
Raw and treated water samples at various water depths within the protection areas were included as part of the study including locations in close proximity to the contaminated sediment near the north harbour break wall. All samples taken within the Bare Point intake protection zone were also below the detection limit for mercury (Provincial Water Quality Standards).

The Environment Division – Water Authority is dedicated to operating and maintaining a safe, clean, continuous potable supply to the citizens of Thunder Bay.

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Contact: Kerri L. Marshall, Manager – Environment Division, 625-2836