Mark Clairmont |

BRACEBRIDGE — A boil water order here will last all week after a broken water main near its iconic Muskoka waterfalls late Saturday.

The District of Muskoka says a boil water advisory (BWA) issued Sunday will remain in effect till late this week for municipal water customers until further notice, following a large break in the Wharf Road area.

BWA’s are issued when water quality is or may be compromised.

The advisory will stay in effect until lifted by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU). These provincial regulations are necessary to ensure the safety of the drinking water system and to protect the public from potential adverse health impacts.

The district said in a release Monday afternoon that the pipe next to the Muskoka River erupted late Saturday causing a loss of pressure across the entire water distribution system in the town.

Crews responded immediately and worked through the night to locate and isolate the break, which was challenging due to its location and darkness.

Residents in the core area of Bracebridge may see coloured water as pipes are flushed this week. Do not use that water.

So why is this break affecting all municipal water customers in Bracebridge?

The district says main failures are not uncommon and most cases can be isolated and repaired quickly, sometimes before customers experience a problem.

But this particular emergency was unique to the district given the large capacity of the water main and the significant extent to which it failed.  As a result of the break, there was a complete loss of pressure throughout the Bracebridge water distribution system, which impacted all municipal water users throughout Town.

When this water main breakage occurred, resulting in significant impacts to pressure to all users, the drinking water system was considered unsafe for consumption in accordance with provincial regulations.

As a result, the health unit issued a BWA until favourable test results are received, to protect the health and safety of our community.

What is the current status of water main repairs?

The district and contractors are repairing the water main and are working day and night to restore service.

Road closures and alternate routes have been established to ensure there are no interruptions, as restoration of water service is our top priority.

Water sampling is already underway and will be sent to accredited labs for testing. When final approval is given by the by the health unit, the BWA can be lifted.

What to do if you are experiencing water pressure issues others have full pressure.

Although a BWA remains in effect, the majority of our community has access to running water. As the distribution system is restored, pressure throughout the town will continue to improve throughout today and the coming days.

“We appreciate your patience and are aware there are varying pressures throughout the Bracebridge water system which can be expected during this emergency,” says today’s release.

If you see coloured water don’t be surprised.

The district is required to “flush” the water distribution system as part of the procedures required by provincial regulation.

They say when this is carried out, it is normal to experience discoloured water temporarily which may appear to be rust coloured.

It is due to iron and other mineral deposits in the water mains coming off during flushing activities.

As for now, the BWA is expected to be in effect until the end of this week.

The extra time is required to make repairs, carry out flushing and to verify lab results.

And all efforts are being made with our community partners to expedite this process recognizing that businesses and residents are affected.

For more information on the boil water advisory, contact the health unit at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7521 ext. 8811 or their website at

Or contact the District of Muskoka’s engineering and public works department at or you can call them at 705-645-6764.

Or go to their website at for more information.


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