Troubling to see water look like this. I mean who would want to drink this?
Looking at the pictures of the water makes me feel for the residents who have to use this water. It looks yucky.
Might be time for Fraser Health to publish the laboratory results for the water to reassure folks that this water is OK to drink.
Mind you I'd still not be convinced.
White Rock residents complain to Fraser Health about discoloured water
Published on: June 14, 2017 | Last Updated: June 14, 2017 6:45 PM PDT
Murky drinking water worries White Rock resident
A number of White Rock residents who say their tap water continues to be discoloured more than a month after the city implemented a new treatment method are appealing to Fraser Health for help.
They have written letters and emails, and a half-dozen people attended an open board of directors meeting in New Westminster on Wednesday.
Garry Wolgemuth held up a jar of discoloured tap water as he described the brown or black deposits that show up regularly in his water.
“I don’t think I’d be drinking that,” he said.
White Rock is the only Metro Vancouver municipality with its own water supply, and Fraser Health required the city to implement secondary water treatment by Feb. 1.
Water-quality issues arose in early October, when the city began adding chlorine to the water in one of its pumping stations. It had planned to use chloramine, a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, to disinfect the water, however, due to public outcry, the city decided to use chlorine instead.
The chlorine reacted with naturally occurring manganese in the water and pipes, and caused many residents’ water to change colour and take on an unpleasant odour. The city received hundreds of complaints and in late April council voted to treat the drinking water with chloramine.
White Rock’s utilities manager, Saad Jasim, said the number of complaints has declined since the city started using chloramine and flushing the pipes regularly.
“There is an improvement,” said Jasim.
However, he conceded, it will take time for the chloramine and water flushing to take care of the problem completely.
Before Wednesday’s meeting, Dr. Michelle Murti, Fraser Health’s medical officer, emailed a response to questions and concerns sent by White Rock residents.
On the topic of the dirty-looking water, Murti wrote, “While we do not like to see this type of colour or debris in the water we are not concerned about any health risks based on the samples taken of the system. Based on the results of the water testing, that meet the requirements for testing for such a system, the water is bacteriologically and chemically safe to drink.”
She said the testing identified elevated levels of manganese as the reason for the discoloration. Arsenic, lead, copper and iron levels are within acceptable limits.
Murti said Fraser Health is satisfied with the city’s plan to address the discoloration by switching to chloramine, flushing the system and installing a treatment plant by 2019 to remove manganese.
Flushing can make water discoloration worse for a short time, and Murti said residents should have water put aside for use when flushing takes place.
At Wednesday’s meeting, chief medical officer of health Dr. Victoria Lee reiterated that White Rock’s water meets Canadian drinking-water guidelines, but said Fraser Health is closely monitoring the situation.
In the meantime, board chairwoman Karen Matty urged residents to be patient and work with the city, and said that Fraser Health will do whatever it can within its rights and responsibilities to help.
“It sounds like a complex situation that’s been going on for so many years. In order to resolve the problem people have got to work together — there has to be a will to work together,” she said.
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