Canada Orders Transport Operators to Ensure Safety of Clean Water Offered to Passengers

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Transport operators of planes, trains and passenger ships in Canada have been ordered to guarantee the safety of the clean water they offer to their passengers by making sure they adhere to the latest industry or scientific standards.

A report by CTV News said operators are still given the option of to offer prepackaged water bottles and ice or tap water to passengers for their drinking, hand washing, oral hygiene and food preparation requirements, but must ensure that the latter had been first subjected to testing.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said the existing regulations already have to be updated because it's already 60 years old.

"The existing provisions no longer reflect the latest industry or scientific standards," a notice recently posted in the Canada Gazette said.

In using tap water, operators must "sample and analyse the water for E. coli on a routine basis."

"Disinfecting and flushing the potable water system would be required should the water or the potable water system be contaminated or suspected of contamination," the notice stressed.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in a study in 2004, found that 15 per cent of 327 aircraft's water tested positive for total coliform.

Health Canada noted the new and stricter regulations aimed to lessen the number of cases of illnesses among travellers in Canada so as to curb potential massive health care costs.

The notice in Canada Gazette said many among Canada's airlines started working to adopt the changes.

Peter Fitzpatrick, Air Canada spokesman, told CTV News it will follow Health Canada's new regulations as per its mandate to "meet or exceed all government requirements and standards, particularly those related to health and safety."

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