Norfolk County’s water quality monitoring program has found elevated levels of sodium in municipal water supplies in Port Dover.
Sodium levels in the water have been found above the 20 mg/L concentration in recent sample test results. Normally, these levels have been hovering around 10 mg/L.
For healthy adults, this sodium level in drinking water does not pose a risk. In fact, the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality set an aesthetic objective of 200 mg/L, ten times higher than the aforementioned threshold. Sodium concentrations above this level do not affect the safety of the water, but may cause aesthetic effects, impacting the water’s odour, taste or discolouration.
However, sodium levels in drinking water exceeding 20 mg/L could present a health concern to those on sodium-restricted diets. For this reason, when results reveal sodium concentrations have surpassed this threshold, the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health informs local physicians, so that they may advise patients on sodium-restricted diets accordingly.
“The sodium currently consumed by drinking Norfolk County’s municipal water is a very small percentage of the average person’s sodium intake,” noted Sandy Stevens, Program Manager of the Health Unit’s Environmental Health Team.
The main source of sodium in a person’s diet comes from processed foods such as snack foods, fast foods, processed meats, soups, crackers, and condiments. In comparison, while a litre of water from the Port Dover municipal supply currently contains approximately 26 mg of sodium, a medium-sized dill pickle contains 835 mg of sodium.
Water softeners may also increase the levels of sodium in drinking water. As a precaution, it is recommended that water from a water softener not be given to infants and not be used in the preparation of infant beverages including formula and juice.
Residents serviced by municipal water can access annual water quality reports for each of Norfolk’s municipal water supplies on Norfolk County’s website at www.norfolkcounty.ca/living/roads-water-wastewater or by contacting the Public Works and Environmental Services Department at 519-582-2100.