Boil Water Advisory for Union Bay!

The following is a ‘Minority Report’ as I am the twice elected trustee of  Union Bay Improvement District.  UBID is responsible for potable water, fire prevention services and street lights.  Potable water is a serious responsibility and I feel landowners deserve factual information based on evidence regarding the quality and quantity of our drinking water as well as a full disclosure of the true cost of the build out of the treatment plant. The following is my opinion based on facts, evidence and personal experience.  I am not speaking on behalf of the UBID Board.  

Constructive solutions based comments are encouraged.  This is our community and our water.

Susanna Kaljur

Finally UBID is following the 2013 Turbidity Tree Protocol as recent NTU measurements are greater than 1. which has led to a BOIL WATER ADVISORY!  Note Union Bay does not disclose what the NTU measurements are which finally prompted the BWN.  Why?

Questions:

How many landowners are aware of the Boil Water Advisory?

There is no notice by my mailbox, what about yours?

How were the restaurants and business’s who serve the public water notified?  Were they notified?

How were seniors with no computers notified? As a good neighbour please inform them of the BWN.

The elderly and young, due to compromised immune systems, are the most vulnerable to pathogens in drinking water.

https://union-bay.ca

-Boil Water Notice –

For immediate release

December 15th, 2018

The Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) in consultation with Island Health has issued a Boil Water Notice for all users of the UBID water system. Affected users are those connected to the water system, which extends from the north end of Kilmarnock to the south end at the Buckley Bay rest stop. 

The boil water notice has been issued due to unacceptable levels of turbidity. The regulatory health standard for turbidity is 1 NTU or less. 

It is advised to boil water for one minute prior to consumption or prior to washing vegetables, teeth brushing or food preparation

UBID is continually monitoring the water quality and will provide updates as they become available. Watch for updates at www.union-bay.ca and listen to your local radio stations for more information. 

This notice is effective until further notice. 

Map of distribution area

Media contact: Danny McGill, Superintendent of Waterworks, 250-218-5127

About turbidity

Union Bay Improvement District is in the design phase of constructing a water treatment plant that will include processes which will greatly reduce the occurrence of water quality advisories. The design will be released for tender in January 2019 with an anticipated construction start in March 2019.  

New health regulations require that a turbidity level of 1 NTU initiates a response chain, which starts with increased communications between the water supplier and the health authorities. UBID has adopted a rigid Turbidity Response Tree that adheres to current regulations and have been approved by the Drinking Water Officer at Island Health. High turbidity can interfere with the treatment process and the disinfection of water with chlorine by creating a ‘hiding place’ for potential pathogens. 

Turbidity is measure of lights scattered by the size and number of particles present in raw water. This could be an indication of activity in the lake and / or watershed. Heavy rains storms can stir up the lake, elk can create turbidity plumes by walking through a tributary, road activity – driving, off-road vehicles – can all lead to a situation where the turbidity level rises in Langley Lake.  

The suspected cause for the increase in turbidity is the heavy rainfall and winds. 

UBID has increased monitoring of turbidity, bacteriological samples and chlorine residue and will continue to update those affected of any changes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.: How do I boil tap water so that it is safe to consume? 

Tap water should be boiled for one minute. Use any clean pot or kettle.  Kettles that have automatic shut offs are acceptable.  After boiling, let the water cool by leaving it on the counter or in the refrigerator in covered containers. After water is boiled it can be stored in food grade containers at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Q.: When will the notice be lifted? 

The notice will be lifted once the health authorities, in conjunction with the Superintendent of Waterworks, have concluded that the potential risk has been mitigated. 

Q.: What are the health risks during a boil water notice? 

The health risks associated with ingesting water that has not been boiled are hard to estimate.  The Notice was issued because conditions exist that make it impossible to ensure the safety of the water without boiling it first.  The risk could be low if no actual contamination occurred or very high if pathogens are present.  However, you can be confident that boiling your tap water for one minute is sufficient to destroy any pathogens that are present in the water.

It is important to note that Boil Water Notices are specific to microbiological threats. They are not appropriate to address threats from chemical contamination. Boiling chemically contaminated water will only result in the chemical becoming more concentrated or release the chemical into the air where it could be inhaled.  In such cases a different kind of Notice would be used.

Q.: What should I do once the notice has been lifted? 

Island Health FAQs, here

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