(Black Press file photo).

CVRD testing Shawnigan water after complaints of metallic taste, odour

“This type of problem has come up a number of times in summers in the past”

The metallic taste and odour some customers who are using Shawnigan Lake’s North water system are reportedly experiencing is likely the result of algae blooms, according to a statement from the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

The statement said the CVRD’s engineering services department has received a number of inquiries from customers of the water system, whose water originates from Shawnigan Lake, and that many similar concerns have been expressed to other water utilities serving the Shawnigan Lake area and to Island Health.

“This type of problem has come up a number of times in summers in the past and has been determined to be the result of an algae bloom in the lake water,” the statement said.

“A water sample has been taken by CVRD staff and sent to a lab for analysis. This will confirm the algae species involved. Results are expected in about a week.”

The statement said that in prior summers, the primary algae present has been a brown algae which does not present any risk to health.

It said some customers have inquired whether the algae could be blue-green algae which may be toxic.

“Blue-green algae is favoured where the water is warm, shallow and rich in nutrients; particularly phosphorus,” the statement said.

“Due to the high level of replacement of existing water with runoff occurring in Shawnigan Lake, these conditions are not prevalent. In the past, lab testing of samples have shown only very low levels of blue-green algae constituting no risk to human health. So there is nothing to indicate the algae to be blue-green algae. However, this is expected to be confirmed by the lab testing which will be made publicly available on our website and shared with Island Health.”

The statement said there is no simple treatment, such as boiling or filtering, that would remove the toxins if the algae were blue-green algae.

“The only precaution would be to not drink the water until testing results are available,” the statement said.

“Should you have any further questions, please call the Engineering Services Department at 250-746-2530.”

Drinking water

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mount Washington to open Dec. 4 with COVID-19 protocols in place

Reservations for some services, face coverings will be required

Quadra Island adds voice to provincial old growth protest

Demonstrators and phoning campaign put pressure on provincial government

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

‘Bad blood’ over pathology issue, says Island Health medical director

Regional hospital district board pushes for pathology service in Courtenay, Campbell River

Most Read