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Water Today Title June 29, 2022

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Advisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by TransNorth - Biomass Stoves

Soon to be implemented technology might make a boil water notice (BWN) currently in place for the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) on Vancouver Island, one of the regions last.

The BWN, which was issued on November 19th by the CVRD in conjunction with Island Health, is due to intense rainfall, which has caused high turbidity on Comox Lake and the Puntledge River.

According to the notice posted on the CVRD website, "High turbidity can interfere with the chlorination process used to disinfect the drinking water for the 45,000 residents served by the Comox Valley water system."

Christianne Wile, Manager of Operational Communications for CVRD was able to confirm via email that all 45,000 residents are affected by the notice and that at this time no one has been reported ill as a result of the drinking water.

It's unsure exactly how long the advisory will remain in place at this point.

"This is entirely dependent on the weather and how the tributaries feeding the lake are affected," Wile said, "We have had turbidity related boil water notices last a couple of days and our longest was 47 days."

This has been a fairly common occurrence over the last number of years for the residents affected. In 2016 there were four BWNs that resembled this one. As a result, steps have been taken to combat the issue.

"Construction of a new water treatment plant is scheduled to begin in 2019 and will be fully operational by 2021," Wile said, "This plant will eliminate the need for turbidity related boil water notices once operational. To provide interim relief, the CVRD will install UV reactors in the existing treatment plant, adding a second level of treatment and raising the allowable NTU (A unit for measuring turbidity). This is expected to reduce boil water notices by up to 80 per cent until the new plant is operational. The UV reactors will then be moved to the new facility when constructed."

The interim project is expected to cost around $1 million, while the project to build the brand new plant will be over $110 million.

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