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water quality project part 4

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  Water Quality Project part 4 Word count: 1096 Shanell Mckenzie Student number: N01234156  November 15 th , 2018. In May 2000 residents of a small farming community felt ill due to the contamination of a drinking water well (Ali, 2004). There were traces of  Escherichia coli  inside of cow manure that met the drinking water (Ali, 2004). One of the causes of contamination include heavy rainfall mixed with cow manure from agricultural fields that found its way into a drinking well that was chlorinated from time to time (Lysnij, 2018). Symptoms included bloody diarrhea, vomiting, severe stomach cramps and fever (Lysnij, 2018). By the time the local health unit realized the cause of these illness’s contamination had already spread to rural communities (Ali, 2004). The Walkerton outbreak is the biggest outbreak of  Escherichia coli  in Canada (Ali, 2004). Although this outbreak happened many years ago it is still important because if guidelines of prevention are not met the crisis can arise again. The same well being the source of contamination in the 2000 Walkerton outbreak was suspected to be contaminated in 1978, yet no source protection measures were taken into consideration (Hrudey, 2003). This may be one of the reasons the outbreak occurred in the first place. (Argument)  Although critics have done research following the outbreak based on political, environmental, and socio-ecological factors, there should have been guidelines in place before the outbreak occurred (Hrudey, 2003). If there were guidelines in place prior to the crisis, the Walkerton community could have been spared of these illnesses the outbreak caused.   Driving forces in the Walkerton  Escherichia Coli outbreak include a declining population in rural communities due to limited resources, and economic/educational opportunities compared to urban communities (Lisnyj, 2018). Another driving force is the lost of human and social capitals especially the difficulty retaining youth and physicians who are considered important in long-term sustainability in a population (Lisnyj, 2018). Physicians are essential because they help citizens deal with illnesses, and they are more educated on prevention of these illnesses such as  Escherichia Coli. Suggestions include disaster management program plans and strategies for rural communities (Lisnyj, 2018). These interventions should have a proactive, long term, community- centered approach to facilitate recovery, minimize long-term presumption, and restore the ability to recover following an emergency (Lisnyj, 2018). However, these interventions have not been successful because several residents who ingested contaminated water at the time of the outbreak still experience hypertension, kidney disease, and irritable  bowel syndrome (Lisnyj, 2018). Pressures in the Walkerton outbreak focus on agriculture. Agricultural and food  production is the second largest industry in Ontario (Ali, 2004). With this agricultural livestock has become increasingly industrialized resulting in fewer farms and more livestock per farm (Ali, 2004). Walkerton is in a region with intensive agricultural operations as it is surrounded by six rural counties that have the highest density of cattle in the province (Ali, 2004). Intensive livestock operations produce as much waste as small cities, yet these rural communities do not have as much sewage treatment facilities as urban areas (Ali, 2004). The excess manure is collected and stored in piles called manure storage, in levels of a farm that cannot be naturally absorbed by the soil (Ali, 2004). This results in excess nutrients being carried away in the natural surface runoff (Ali, 2004). Cattles raised in close confinement increases spread of the disease, so  farmers began to mix feed with antibiotics at a higher rate (Ali, 2004). However, this intervention was not successful because farmers realized it increases the spread of the virus (Ali, 2004). States in the Walkerton outbreak include the heavy rain preceding the outbreak which contributed to the disaster (Ali, 2004). Another state is the geological features such as shallow overburden containing highly fractured rock (Ali, 2004). There are no interventions for these conditions because they fall in the category of global warming which cannot be prevented as it is inevitable (Ali, 2004). All one can do is remain vigilant when it comes to these ecological conditions and maintain study of new diseases (Ali, 2004). Exposures of the Walkerton outbreak include transmission from the intestines of cattle into the ground water (Ali, 2004). Human activity such as factory farming, by making an area less suitable as a habitat for these pathogens is used as a suggestion but deforestation (example of factory farming) is thought to bring humans in increasingly contact with pathogens (Ali, 2004). Studies show that there should be more review on factory farming to understand the broader ecological impacts (Ali, 2004). Effects of the Walkerton outbreak are the many individuals who experienced gastrointestinal illnesses (Hrudey, 2003). The Ontario Government enacted a public inquiry to determine the cause of the tragedy and to examine broader questions relating to the safety of drinking water (Hrudey, 2003). Another effect was the children who experienced diarrhea and Haemolytic Uremic Syndrome, were tested for Escherichia Coli at their family doctor (Matsell, 2009). These children were given blood tests every two days by their doctors to test for other infections (Matsell, 2009). Twenty- four children were identified and treated at three medical  sites and thirteen of them were admitted to a children’s hospital where they received tertiary care (Matsell, 2009). There are a few actions taken post outbreak, such as the Ontario safe drinking water act in 2002 which requires licensing for municipal residential drinking water systems, regular review and revision of drinking water standards, inspection of laboratories (Lisnyj, 2018). Yearly reporting by the ministry of the environment and climate change and the chief drinking water inspector is also required in this act (Lisnyj, 2018). Another Clean Water act was put in place in 2006, which requires all municipalities to have source water protection plans developed by a  professional (Lisnyj, 2018). The purpose of these policy changes is to enhance preparedness as they contribute to the multi-barrier approach required to protect and maintain safe drinking water (Lisnyj, 2018). These interventions have been successful because in the present- day residents argue that they have the best water in Ontario (Lisnyj, 2018). They believe a similar incident will not occur due to policy changes of safe water management and practice of the multi-barrier approach to safe drinking water (Lisnyj, 2018). To conclude, guidelines were not put in place prior to the outbreak, but there are now guidelines in place post outbreak. The policies and acts mentioned above have been proven successful in the present- day. Despite the policies, some residents are still facing effects of the outbreak which have led to acquiring hypertension, kidney disease, and irritable bowel syndrome all known as tertiary effects (Lisnyj, 2018).

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Dec 1, 2018
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