In my role of Minister for Environment and Climate, I was very pleased with our government's
decision to fully subsidize costs associated with testing their water supply to ensure it is safe to drink and made that announcement today.
People need understanding and leadership from their elected officials, which is why we listened to concerns of residents who shared fears of their water safety and the costs associated with testing wells to ensure it is safe. We then took action, helping ease some of the financial burden for Manitobans affected by flooding by fully subsidizing water testing costs. Private well and cistern owners impacted by flooding will not have to pay to test their drinking water over a four-month period.
The Manitoba government is fully subsidizing eligible tests conducted from today until Aug. 31 for flood-impacted Manitobans. This free water testing for private well and cistern owners is only available at Horizon Lab Ltd. in Winnipeg. For information on sample collection, sample shipping or test results, contact the laboratory directly at 204-488-2035.
“Public health encourages everyone with a private water system that has been affected by flooding to test their water once flood waters recede to ensure their drinking water is safe during a season of elevated risk,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer. “Preventing the risk of waterborne disease is important and the province wants well and cistern owners to take steps to protect themselves.”
Homeowners who suspect a well or cistern might be compromised by flooding should boil drinking water before use. Water should be tested for bacteria once floodwaters recede before resuming usual water consumption.
Indicators that a water well may have been affected by flooding include:
a change in taste, odour or appearance of well water;
laboratory tests that show bacteria in well water or other wells nearby; and
water lying around a well head or collecting in a well pit or around other wells nearby.
All Manitobans are reminded to test their private water supply at least once a year and after flooding. A fact sheet about flooding and well-water safety is available at www.gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/spring_outlook/wellwater_safety_factsheet.pdf.
For general inquiries about the Manitoba government’s existing bacteria testing subsidy program for private well owners, call 204-945-5762.
For information on taking water samples, reducing risk of well contamination, treating well water, or shock chlorinating wells, visit www.gov.mb.ca/sd/water/drinking-water/well-videos/index.html.
People with health-related questions about drinking well water can call Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 in Winnipeg or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257.