Saskatoon City Hospital will be under an emergency boil water order until at least Saturday at noon.
That’s when a second round of test results are due back after hospital staff discovered what they believe to be the culprit for discoloured water Monday.
Dr. John-Mark Opondo, deputy medical health officer for Saskatoon Health Region, said a corroded pipe is believed to have been the source of the water quality issue, which was first noticed Monday afternoon.
“Now that we know what the problem is, we feel better,” he said.
Around 3 p.m. staff discovered tap water was yellow in colour.
Water supplies were immediately switched to bottled water while an investigation was conducted.
After running the taps for several hours, the colour didn’t dissipate, forcing the boil water order to go into effect at 11 p.m. Monday.
Opondo said Tuesday the water cleared overnight on the first night, but tests still needed to be conducted to ensure the quality.
The section of corroded pipe was discovered and replaced Tuesday afternoon, necessitating a new round of tests.
Officials say the eight-foot section of pipe was part of the hospital’s fire suppression system, supplying water to the sprinkler system throughout the facility. A water pressure drop activated a “looping” system which sent the water into the general tap and drinking supply.
The hospital’s water system was flushed floor-by-floor Wednesday morning to clear out any residue remaining from the pipe.
Opondo said 74 non-urgent surgeries had been postponed between Tuesday and Wednesday, along with numerous other procedures including 60 endoscopies.
“We must… sympathize with our patients,” he said. “We want to make sure that the environment in which we provide care is equally safe, so our patients don’t suffer in the process.”
Patients with surgeries and procedures scheduled Thursday and Friday are being contacted by hospital staff.
The boil water order can only be lifted if two consecutive water samples test negative for contaminants. The first sample was taken after the water system was flushed Wednesday, with another sample scheduled for Thursday.
An initial test conducted before the pipe was replaced didn’t indicate any bacteria was present in the water.