Word of Mouth

Authority Heffley Creek Waterworks District

Heading into town, Casey ran into an acquaintance who informed her of a boil water advisory in the area. Tests showed the tap water was not safe to drink that day. 

Soon after the chance encounter, Casey asked the water district to confirm the details. She also wanted to know how she could be better informed of future water advisories. She did not want to accidentally drink or serve unsafe water. 

The water district explained its procedure to post notices on residents’ doors and at several central places around town. Unfortunately, the one person responsible for that was away from work and consequently the boil water advisory notices were not posted.

Worried that staffing issues were interfering with the district’s obligation to notify residents and users of important boil water advisories, Casey contacted us and we investigated.

The water district acknowledged that it had not provided proper notice and agreed to consider updating its procedure in light of staff limitations. As a result of our investigation, a new phone tree and email alert system will notify residents and users of both boil water and water quality advisories when they occur. Further, the water district said they intend to buy large sign boards to place at the two road entrances to Heffley Creek, for the benefit of visitors.

The door-to-door method of notification will be discontinued in favour of the automated system after it is tested and rolled out. The water district confirmed that it would continue to post future boil water advisory notices at the two town entrances and at the elementary school, community hall, town store, and at Canada Post community mailboxes. 

The water district also agreed that it would notify water users before implementing any changes, and would also update its Emergency Response Plan to reflect the new procedure. We followed up with Casey to share the good news.

Names in our case summaries have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. This case study can also be found in the 2016-2017 Annual Report.

Category Local Government
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2016
Location The Interior