Department of National Defence (DND) says that Perfluoralkylated substances (PFAS) have been detected in the City of North Bay, specifically Trout Lake, Lee’s Creek, North Bay Jack Garland Airport, the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) North Bay, and monitoring wells located near CFB North Bay.
Lee's Creek runs alongside Lee's Road, and empties into Trout Lake, the source of the city's water supply.
PFAS are manmade substances found in a variety of consumer and industrial products such as adhesives, cosmetics, cleaning products, and in specialized chemical applications, such as fire-fighting foams.
PFAS Drinking Water Screening Values have been established by Health Canada at a level to protect the health of Canadians based on a lifetime’s exposure to the substance.
The Health Unit has received the following test results on PFAS levels:
- The levels of PFAS detected in Trout Lake, and in the City of North Bay Municipal Water are below Health Canada’s Drinking Water Screening Values.
- The levels of PFAS detected in Lee’s Creek are above Health Canada’s values. Based on the finding that the PFAS levels in Lee’s Creek are above the screening values, the Health Unit is advising the public not to drink water from the creek. As per the Guide to Eating Ontario Fish issued by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, fish caught in Lee’s Creek should also not be consumed.
The Health Unit says it is working with DND to have private water wells in the vicinity of CFB North Bay/Airport area and Lee’s Creek sampled and tested for PFAS.
Residents in these areas with wells are being notified this week by the Health Unit.
For more information on PFAS,
- visit www.myhealthunit.ca/PFAS, or
- speak to a Public Health Inspector at 705-474-1400 ext. 2260, or
- via email
Perfluoroalkylated Substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals. The most common are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
The PFAS are suspected to have come from the CFB North Bay/Airport area, from fire-fighting foam used in the past to fight fires and to train firefighters.
No adverse effects on health are expected from consuming water where PFAS is detected at levels below the Health Canada Drinking Water Screening Values.
The Department of National Defence issued this statement.
From the early 1970s to the mid-1990s, the Department of National Defence (DND) used extinguishing substances containing Perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) at former firefighting training areas at the North Bay Airport. These activities were conducted in accordance with the accepted practices and regulations of the time.
Recently, DND sampled for PFAS in a base water supply well and three monitoring wells in the bedrock on the south side of 22 Wing North Bay. While detectable levels of PFAS were found, samples were all within Health Canada screening values for drinking water.
As a precautionary measure, DND will be conducting sampling of off-site water supplies near its property to determine how these results compare with the results from the base, and that levels remain within acceptable Health Canada screening values. A testing plan has been developed and private water supply sampling will begin in March 2017. Testing will include sampling of water supply systems from nearby residences.
The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit will be visiting affected residents shortly to provide them with a notice about testing activities and a fact sheet on PFAS. Both the Health Unit and DND are committed to protecting the privacy of the property owners, so the area of testing will remain confidential.
There is nothing at this point that indicates the presence of elevated levels of PFAS in drinking water, but precautionary sampling is important as the health and safety of Canadians and members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is a priority. DND has been working closely with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (Ontario) and the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit to ensure water at 22 Wing North Bay and nearby is safe.
As a good neighbour, DND is committed to communicating openly and transparently with residents.
Questions about testing activities should be directed to DND’s Media Relations. Affected residents are also invited to contact the Health Unit’s Environmental Health Program at 705-474-1400 ext. 2400.