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Boil water order in Lethbridge

Officials with the City of Lethbridge say there is a lot of work that needs to be done before a state of emergency is lifted and say a boil water order will likely be in effect right through the weekend.

A state of emergency and boil water advisory is in effect for the City of Lethbridge and includes the communities of Coalhurst, Coaldale, and Picture Butte.

"Things are getting better but we have a long way to go. We are very mindful that we have a lot of businesses and industries that are at a complete standstill because of the situation and we want to get them online, as well as everyone else, as soon as possible," says Deputy Mayor Ryan Parker.

Parker says that they've had almost complete compliance with the order.

Infrastructure Service Manager Doug Hawkins says they are still presented with the challenge of raw water conditions in the Oldman River. "I call this a perfect storm, even though it wasn't a storm. The sun came out, the Chinooks came, that created all this rapid snow melt and runoff."

Brian Dalshaug, Manager of Environmental Public Health with the AHS South Zone, says they've informed people about what residents can and can't do in terms of the boil water advisory. "If any of the operators or citizens have concerns, please give us a call and we'll do our best to deal with their concerns."

On Thursday morning, officials with the Holy Spirit School Board announced that they had shut off water fountains in many of its schools. Students in the Holy Spirit School Division were advised to bring their own safe drinking water to school.

The initial state of emergency in Lethbridge was called on Wednesday morning after high turbidity in the water prompted officials to temporarily shut down the water treatment plant.

A boil water advisory was issued at about 4:00 p.m.

Both the state of emergency and boil water advisory remain in effect until further notice.

Residents are asked to refrain from washing their cars, and limit their use of water.

Businesses, such as car washes, have been asked to shut down, while larger industries have been asked to scale back their water usage.

A number of elective surgeries at Chinook Regional Hospital were rescheduled because staff were unable to properly sterilize medical equipment.

23 surgeries and 33 procedures were cancelled at the hospital on Thursday and officials say they are reaching out to facilities in Medicine Hat and Calgary for help with the sterilization process and hope to be close to normal operations by Friday.

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