Drinking water safety: Office of the Chief Scientist

Press Release

Nov 29, 2023

Jonathan Thompson, chief scientist of Alberta, issued the following statement on drinking water quality in the Lower Athabasca Region:

“Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (EPA) requires that all water treatment plants in the province have certified operators and that the quality of treated drinking water meets the Canadian guidelines for drinking water set by Health Canada. These guidelines are set to ensure that drinking water is safe for human consumption.

“Drinking water is provided in Fort Chipewyan after treatment by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) treatment facility. In response to concerns around the Kearl incident, the Regulatory Assurance Division at EPA has worked with the RMWB to increase the frequency of drinking water quality monitoring to ensure the safety of users. Since March, Fort Chipewyan has been one of the most intensively monitored water treatment facilities in the province.

“The RMWB has conducted more than 35 enhanced monitoring tests on raw and treated water samples since March, and all treated drinking water samples have met the guidelines for Canadian drinking water quality limits set by Health Canada.

“Additionally, no exceedances in arsenic have been measured in the drinking water. Lab reports of hydrocarbons and toluene in some samples were determined to be false positives due to lab error.

“Drinking water quality monitoring results have been posted on the RMWB website, shared with EPA and the communities, and all results indicate that the drinking water is safe.

“In addition to water quality monitoring to ensure local facilities are treating water to appropriate standards and the quality of drinking water is safe for consumption, EPA also monitors ambient surface water quality.”


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