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Water Today Title December 11, 2017

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Sicamous District, BC - Flash floods and contaminated water - 8/1/12

by Michel Ryan

A little over a month ago, flash floods contaminated drinking water for the entire community of the Sicamous district in British Columbia and forced many residents out of their homes.

About 500 kilometers northeast of Vancouver, Sicamous is one of many B.C. communities recently hit by flooding, when two creeks jumped their banks in late June, 2012. The flooding quickly washed out two section of Highway 97a, leaving some residents stranded as an evacuation order was issued and the only way out was by boat.

One month later, the community is still recovering. In addition to the widespread need to repair and rebuild for both roads and buildings, drinking water for the community is still subject to a Do Not Drink advisory.

The Mayor could not be reached for comment, but a public notice on the community's website states that the "The risk of chemical contamination remains unknown and the risk of illness from pathogens (germs that can make you sick) remains high."

The municipality also publishes daily turbidity readings for the local water supply, but they continue to show excessive turbidity, meaning a boil water advisory would still be in effect even if the risk of chemical contamination were removed.

Residents continue to be advised to only consume bottled water or water from an "Interior Health approved alternate safe source". We could not reach anyone at Interior Health for comment, but the community's website indicates potable water sources are available at the District office, the Recreation Centre and the Senior Activity Centre.

Recovery seems slow for the hard-hit community. On July 19th, an evacuation order for the nearby Silver Sands road area, which had been in effect since June 25th was rescinded.

A Trust Fund has been set up at the Sicamous Branch of the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union for individuals who wish to donate funds to help the community rebuild. Details for donations can be found on the district webpage:

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