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Water Today Title July 7, 2022

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Advisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by Waterloo Biofilter Systems

While responsibilities for providing clean potable water to residents of condominiums and strata properties are laid out in BC legislation, if you do live in one of the various types of strata* in the Vancouver area, who is actually looking out for the safety of your water?

There are two types of water systems in BC large municipal systems, and small water systems which can be privately owned. According to the Executive Director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of BC (CHOA) Tony Gioventu, small water systems are "virtually non-existent" in multi family structures in Greater Vancouver, therefore contaminants coming from an independent water supply present very little risk for strata property owners.

Gioventu's statement was echoed by Chris McMillan, Secretary to the Comptroller of Water Rights Utility Regulation, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. "There are no regulated private water utilities within Vancouver", he says.

So how is water supplied to stratas?

"Metro Vancouver is the bulk water supplier to individual municipalities in BC's lower mainland" according to Dave Townsend Government Communications and Public Engagement. Each municipality secures its water through provincial licences and regulates buildings on its territory. Water in strata properties in Vancouver is assured to the point of entry.

The safety of drinking water in co-proprietorships is overseen and provided for by BC's drinking water legislation.

1 Clearwater is a local company that specializes in soft water corrosion systems. They also supply small, agricultural, and waste water systems. I spoke with William Lee a representative of the company.

According to Lee there are small water systems in the Greater Vancouver area, and they are primarily found in 'multifamily structures'. In large complexes like condos and strata the real problem is soft water corrosion caused by the circulation of hot water but it poses no health risk. 1 Clearwater will have teams come and inspect the installations on a monthly basis.

The strata itself is responsible for the quality of the drinking water in large multifamily dwellings. For example, the City of Surrey - a member municipality of the Metro Vancouver regional district and metropolitan area.- does not meter individual units of a strata, and only installs a 'master meter' because the system past the point of entry is "owned and maintained by the strata itself".

Tomorrow, we look into small water supplies and the public health system in and around Vancouver.

*In British Columbia, strata housing is more than just condos. Strata housing can also include: du-plexes, townhouses, fractional vacation properties and mixed use developments.

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