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Water deemed undrinkable on ferry Queen of Oak Bay

Water supply on ferry contaminated by floor cleaner

Passengers and crew aboard the Queen of Oak Bay had to resort to bottled water Tuesday after the vessel’s potable water supply was contaminated by floor cleaner.

A B.C. Ferries spokesperson said the water was polluted after a crew member accidentally poured floor cleaner into the ship’s potable water supply on Monday.

“Water was immediately turned off and bottled water and barrels of potable water were brought on board to ensure customers and crew still had access,” said Reet Sidhu.

“We’ve taken all necessary precautions and are just waiting for the final test results to confirm that the water is safe to drink.”

Sidhu said B.C. Ferries expects to have test results back soon and will update customers as soon as that happens.

The water is undergoing bacteriological testing, Sidhu said. “This testing method requires a 24-hour incubation period to ensure precise analysis.” If the tests fail to meet the acceptance criteria of Transport Canada, Sidhu said, arrangements are being made for additional testing.

One passenger on the Queen of Oak Bay said that’s meant no water for tea or coffee and a limited food menu.

Potable water supplies aboard ferries are replenished daily from various city pipelines, according to B.C. Ferries.

The Queen of Oak Bay, built in 1981 and capable of carrying 311 cars and nearly 1,500 passengers, provides regular ferry service between Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo’s Departure Bay.