As of Oct. 1, Campbell River’s water system will temporarily return to using chlorination only for disinfection while ultraviolet equipment is transferred to the new water facility.
“During the temporary shutdown and transfer of this equipment, the City will continue to conduct regular and extensive water quality testing to protect human health,” says Nathalie Viau, the City’s water supervisor. “While we don’t anticipate any issues given the high quality water the community system draws from, should drinking water quality change, the City would immediately work with Island Health to communicate any new information.”
The city’s new water system is scheduled to be running with both disinfection systems – chlorination to target bacteria and ultraviolet irradiation to target potential micro-organisms – in spring 2018. Until that time, chlorination will be maintained.
“Fortunately, the city’s drinking watershed is well protected from activities that would introduce the kind of potential micro-organisms targeted by the city’s secondary, ultraviolet disinfection system,” Viau adds.
The city says it has no record of cryptosporidium in the watershed, and small traces of giardia have been detected in raw source water only three times in the last seven years.
People with compromised immune systems, or those caring for vulnerable infants or seniors, who are worried about this temporary change in disinfection practices, might want to consider taking the extra precaution of consuming only water that has been boiled, at a rolling boil for at least one minute.
Reliance on a single form of disinfection for community drinking water is not new for Campbell River. The city’s water system was disinfected through chlorination up until 2008, when the ultraviolet irradiation process was added as a secondary level of protection against potential micro-organisms.
Construction of the new Campbell River water supply centre continues on schedule, with the building nearing lock-up stage. Next, mechanical, electrical and water processing systems will be installed inside the building so that new water intake pipes can be connected to the existing water distribution system.
“Now it’s time to begin transferring equipment that can be re-used from the old facility to the new location,” says Jason Hartley, the city’s capital works manager. “The ultra-violet reactors have plenty of life left in them, so we’re starting the process of moving them to the new facility.”
More information on the city’s water supply project is available on the vity website www.campbellriver.ca under City Services / Capital Improvement Projects.
For information on drinking water quality and human health, please visit the BC government website (www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/water/water-quality)
Questions on City water quality? Call the Waterwise hotline (250-203-2316), email firstname.lastname@example.org or see the website (www.campbellriver.ca under City Services / Water).