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UPDATE: Prince Edward County declares water emergency

With photo from Dave Tugwood/Facebook- Save Picton Bay

By Sophie Dudley [1], Jessica Clement [2] and Katie Perry [3]

PICTON – Residents of Picton and Bloomfield are now under a precautionary boil water advisory following a state of emergency announced Tuesday evening.

The County released an update via Twitter late Thursday morning advising residents in Picton and Bloomfield to boil their water before usage. The advisory says this was done as a result of a foul odour in the Picton raw sampling line. Due to this, water processing at the Picton plant has been halted once more.

It’s the latest development in a story that began last week. On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Robert Quaiff and the municipality’s Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works, Robert McAuley held a news conference to update the public on the situation.

Quaiff said the state of emergency will remain in place until the vessel from which contaminants leaked into the water is removed.  It’s hoped that will be done by end of day Thursday. The Canadian Coast Guard issued a statement [4] Wednesday on that work being done.

That vessel leaked about 30 litres of fuel into the water late last week. On Tuesday afternoon, the municipality declared a state of emergency after fears that the contaminant would get into the water system for Picton and Bloomfield.

The situation began around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday when the contaminants entered what is called Zone 1 of the Picton Intake area.

The municipality is still saying that that no contaminants have entered the system itself but residents are still being asked to limit their water usage.

At Wednesday’s news conference, residents heard that more protective booms are being placed around the contaminated water. The investigation into what caused the vessel to sink in the first place is ongoing.

Neighbouring municipalities have offered assistance to the County with water supplies if need be.