Local State of Emergency – boil water order

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The Village of Valemount has declared a local state of emergency after Swift Creek rose to dangerous levels last night, threatening homes and drinking water.

Several properties have been issued evacuation notices, and several more are under evacuation alert, including the Golden Year’s Lodge.

There is also a boil water order. Residents are strongly advised not to run washing machines or dish washers or any other water-intensive appliance today to conserve as much water as possible.

Volunteers have helped distribute notices door-to-door. Read the notice here.

Valemount Mayor Andru McCracken says Geo technicians have flown over the creek and they have determined that creek levels are dropping. They are working with local expertise and have heavy equipment to help fortify the creek embankment.

The weir regulating water levels in Swift Creek was destroyed. Large sections of embankment including adjacent trails have already washed out.

The village’s pump station is adjacent the creek. Without it, the village would be be able to pump drinking water to the treatment plant. They are using three excavators a dump truck and bobcat to help prevent further erosion.

“There are easily residential sized lots missing form that area,” McCracken said. “Mother Nature is just doing a number on us.”

McCracken is hopeful that now creek levels are dropping that the creek will not flood over and permanently change its course.

“We have to give it to public works for helping out.”

Much of the Swift Creek Trail has been washed out though the bridge a few kilometres down is still standing.

“It’s the little bridge that could,” said Patricia Thoni, of the Yellowhead Outdoor Recreation Association.

The village is working with local RCMP, public works staff, the fire department, Lakes District Maintenance, CN, the provincial emergency program and local media.

Residents are also encouraged to spread the word by telling their neighbours as well as helping to keep residents and tourists away from the creek.

Boiled water is required for:

Drinking purposes
This includes all beverage concentrates such as fruit juice and iced tea where water is added.

Food Preparation
This includes washing fruits and vegetables that will not be cooked. Water used as an ingredient does not need to be boiled prior to use, providing it will be brought to a boil during the cooking process.

Coffee Machines
Coffee machines usually produce water heated to about 70 to 80 degrees Celsius, which is sufficient to destroy pathogens. This temperature must be maintained for a sufficient amount of time to ensure that all harmful organisms are destroyed so let the coffee stand for at least five minutes before drinking.

Brushing teeth
This includes daily oral hygiene such as cleaning dentures.

Infant formulas
Formulas should always be prepared by using boiled tap water or bottled water that is boiled.

Making ice
It is important to note that freezing does not destroy most pathogens. Bacteria and viruses can survive in frozen products for long periods of time. Discard any ice made from contaminated or potentially contaminated water.

Fruit and vegetable washing
Boiled water should be used to wash all produce that is to be eaten raw.

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