Montreal tells 1.3 million residents to boil their drinking water

Reuters News
Posted: May 22, 2013 2:10 PM

(Reuters) - Montreal, Canada's second-largest city, has asked 1.3 million people to boil their drinking water after a problem at one of the city's water treatment facilities.

The advisory, posted on the city's website on Wednesday, covers much of the south and east of the city of 1.65 million.

The order followed reports of brown-tinged water in parts of the city, and Montreal Fire Department division chief Gordon Routley told CTV News that the advisory was likely to be in effect for at least 24 hours.

He said unsatisfactory tests at a filtration plant had prompted the advisory, but the problem appeared to be one of sediment in the water rather than bacterial contamination.

People should boil water for 60 seconds before drinking it, give bottled water to babies and children and throw out any water stored since last night, the city said.

Water is not safe to drink in parts of rural Canada, especially in remote aboriginal communities. But it is rare for a boil water advisory to be called in a big city like Montreal, the largest city in French-speaking Quebec.

(Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Janet Guttsman and Cynthia Osterman)