Google Translate Disclaimer

A number of pages on the Government of Saskatchewan`s web site have been professionally translated in French. These translations are identified by a yellow text box that resembles the link below and can be found in the right hand rail of the page. The home page for French-language content on this site can be found here:

Renseignements en Français

Where an official translation is not available, Google™ Translate can be used. Google™ Translate is a free online language translation service that can translate text and web pages into different languages. Translations are made available to increase access to Government of Saskatchewan content for populations whose first language is not English.

The results of software-based translation do not approach the fluency of a native speaker or possess the skill of a professional translator. The translation should not be considered exact, and may include incorrect or offensive language Government of Saskatchewan does not warrant the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information translated by this system. Some files or items cannot be translated, including graphs, photos, and other file formats such as portable document formats (PDFs).

Any person or entities that rely on information obtained from the system does so at his or her own risk. Government of Saskatchewan is not responsible for any damage or issues that may possibly result from using translated website content. If you have any questions about Google™ Translate, please visit: Google™ Translate FAQs.

Getting Test Results

Results for routine bacteriological testing should be available one day after the sample is received.  Chemical and physical testing results are usually available in two weeks.  The results are mailed to you.

When submitting emergency samples, please contact the laboratory in advance to make a special arrangement.

What are Total Coliforms

Total coliforms are a group of bacteria that are used as the principal indicator for the sanitary quality of water. The presence of any coliform bacteria indicates that the water is unsafe for human consumption.

How to Disinfect Your Water Supply from Coliform Bacteria

If your drinking water supply contains coliform bacteria, it must be disinfected prior to consumption.  Refer to SaskH2O for details.  Boiling water for several minutes will kill bacteria present in the water.  If you require specific information on your water supplies, please contact the public health inspector in your health region.

What is Nitrate

Nitrate is a stable, oxidized form of nitrogen.  Sources of nitrate in water include agricultural fertilizers, domestic sewage, animal manure, decaying matter and natural geological formations.  The Canadian Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality has set 45 mg/L as the maximum acceptable concentration (MAC), based primarily on a condition known as "infantile methemoglobinemia."  Specifically, nitrate reduces the ability of blood to transport oxygen to body tissues, resulting in cyanosis or "blue baby syndrome."  In extreme cases, this condition has been reported to be fatal.

How to Remove Nitrate from Your Drinking Water

Nitrate can be removed from water by distillation or reverse osmosis filtration.  Some ion-exchange filters have been found to successfully remove significant quantities of nitrate.  Boiling water will NOT decrease the nitrate concentration in the water.  Blending water that has high nitrate levels with water that has lower concentrations is also a common practice to reduce nitrate in drinking water.

How to Determine if Your Water is Safe to Drink

The regular routine bacteriological and nitrate tests indicate that the water is safe ONLY with respect to contamination by coliform bacteria and nitrate.  It does not indicate anything else regarding the quality or safety of the water supply.  For example, water that is found to be acceptable for bacteria and nitrate may contain pesticides or arsenic.  It is impractical and expensive to test all private water supplies for all possible contaminants.  If a problem is suspected or you have a concern regarding the safety of the water supply, further specific types of testing can be requested.  Contact the public health inspector in your health region for specific advice.

Home Water Treatment Devices

There are many different water treatment devices available.  The type that should be used depends upon several factors including the quality of the water source and what you want to remove from the water.  Contact the public health inspector in your health region for specific advice. 

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