Atikokan is now under a state of emergency following the collapse of a culvert in the community which washed out a 15 metre section of Mercury Avenue and severed a water main.

The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon and caused a sudden drop in pressure for the community's clear well, leading to a boil water advisory that is expected to last into the weekend.

“I did not take the decision to declare a State of Emergency lightly", said Mayor Rob Ferguson in a statement issued Thursday evening. "And after considerable deliberation with our Municipal Emergency Control Group, it became obvious that this is the correct decision.”

Work was slated to begin this year to replace the culvert, however its failure has expedited the need to complete the work.

The state of emergency will allow the municipality to take quick action to protect the public and allocate proper resources to address the issue.

The Town of Atikokan is asking residents to avoid the section of Mercury Avenue where the washout occurred, and to refrain from crossing the barricades in the area, as it poses a considerable safety risk.