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Safe Water

Drinking water advisories

Barrie Boil Water Advisory has been lifted - April 6, 2019

As a precaution, residents and businesses in the affected area should take the following steps to make sure their water lines and appliances are flushed.

  • Run all cold faucets for a minimum of five minutes. If the water does not run clear after five minutes contact the City of Barrie Water Department 705-792-7920.
  • Run drinking water fountains and household water coolers for a minimum of five minutes.
  • Run all water softeners through a regeneration cycle.
  • Reverse Osmosis (RO) units: Replace pre-filters and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Replace other water filters, as they are disposable and may be contaminated. This applies especially to carbon filters and others that are near the end of their life.
  • Flush, clean and sanitize appliances with water line connections (e.g., fridges with water and ice dispensers) following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Drain and refill hot water heaters set below 45°C (113°F). Normal setting is 60°C (140°F).
  • Drain and flush all ice-making machines and soda fountain machines.
  • Dispose of any ice made since Friday April 5, 2019.
  • Large-volume users (for example, restaurants, retirement homes and schools) may need to run cold water taps for a longer period of time on first use, to ensure the water is not cloudy. 

Note: Anyone operating ice or soda fountain machines should consult the manufacturer or owner’s manual for detailed instructions on how to flush and disinfect and how to restart water treatment devices.

Any facilities that were closed as a result of the advisory can now reopen after taking the necessary precautions.

Any questions related to the boil water advisory can be directed to public health inspectors Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520).

Illness can occur when someone drinks contaminated water. Signs and symptoms include severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you are experiencing symptoms and have consumed water in the affected area on April 5th, 2019 you may want to consider calling Telehealth 1 866-797-0000 or following up with your health care provider. Please share with them that you have consumed water in the affected area.

If a BWA has been issued, it is important that you and your family properly boil or treat all the water in your home. During a BWA, it is not safe to use water directly from your tap. Only boiled, treated water or an alternate water source (i.e.: bottled water) should be used for drinking, preparing food, making beverages or ice cubes, washing foods, or brushing your teeth. To boil water:

  • Fill a pot with water.
  • Heat the water until bubbles come from the bottom of the pot to the top.
  • Once the water reaches a rolling boil, let it boil for 1 minute.
  • Turn off the heat source and let the water cool.
  • Pour the water into a clean container with a cover for storage.

Boil tap water even if it is filtered. Most kitchen and other household water filters typically do not remove bacteria or viruses.

Preparing and cooking food

  • To prepare baby formula use bottled water or ready-to-use formula.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables with boiled water that has cooled or bottled water.
  • Bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute before adding food to cook.
  • Use boiled water when preparing drinks, such as coffee, tea, and lemonade.
  • Wash food preparation surfaces with boiled water.


  • Do not use ice from ice trays, ice dispensers, or ice makers.
  • Throw out all ice made with tap water.
  • Make new ice with boiled or bottled water.

Bathing and showering

  • Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering.
  • Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.

Brushing teeth

  • Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water. Do not use untreated tap water.

Washing dishes

To wash dishes by hand:

  • Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water.
  • In a separate basin, add 1 teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of warm water.
  • Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute.
  • Let the dishes air dry completely.


It is safe to do laundry as usual.


Pets can get some of the same diseases as people. It is a good idea to give them boiled or bottled water that has been cooled.

A Boil Water Advisory (BWA) is a public announcement telling people to boil their water. A BWA is a safety measure issued to protect the public from bacteria or other organisms that may be in the water.

The Medical Officer of Health issues a BWA when the public’s water source is not safe for drinking or other uses. 

BWAs are issued when conditions or concerns may adversely affect the quality or safety of your potable water supply. Typically a BWA is issued because contamination of the drinking water with waterborne microbes (tiny organisms) is found. Decisions to issue a BWA are based on microbial standards from the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards (O. Reg. 169/03).

A Boil Water Advisory may also be issued during the following situations:

  • Community outbreaks of bacteria (e.g. E. coli), viruses or parasites
  • Water main breaks
  • Low disinfection of drinking water
  • Flooding
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