Lac la Hache issued boil water notice

Users of water system warned; not good for animals either

On July 29, a boil water notice has been issued to users of the Lac la Hache Water System (LLHWS) due to bacterial contamination found in a routine water test.

Everyone using water from the LLHWS is asked to use hand sanitizer after washing hands, and to boil water for a minimum of one minute before drinking, cooking; brushing teeth, washing dishes, washing fruits and vegetables to be eaten raw and watering their animals.

Otherwise they can use an alternate, safe source of water.

Cariboo Regional District (CRD) chair Al Richmond says contamination was detected in the water after the regular test sample showed low levels of fecal coliform.

“We need two clear passes of tests that show no coliform, and then we can reduce or get rid of the boil water advisory.

“It’s not like having e-coli or something in the system, the contamination level is extremely low.

“So we have chlorinated the system [on July 28], and continue to do that. We acted right away.”

The water system is not normally chlorinated, but in this incidence, it was added to fight and, hopefully, kill this bacteria immediately, while staff investigates the water system, he says.

Richmond explains CRD staff is actively working its way through the system and its various components to determine the cause.

Contamination can happen from a variety of sources, and may turn out to be a false result due to a sampling error or test bottle contamination, he explains.

“… the levels we are talking about tell us there could be a problem, that there is “something,” but it isn’t saying we have a crisis – it’s saying that we need to be looking at it and seeing what’s going on.

“There’s nothing that leads us to believe we have a leak or something else in [the system].

Staff, therefore, isn’t planning any extra flushing, Richmond says, adding he doesn’t personally know of any recent work done on the water main in the LLHWS.

“We actually flush the system because we are required to as regular maintenance … but we don’t really have to because their water stays so clean.”

The CRD will continue sampling on a regular basis in co-operation and consultation with Interior Health (IH), and it will only lift this boil water notice once both are satisfied, he notes.

Richmond says LLHWS users should adhere to the instructions put forward by the CRD and IH to avoid any issues.

“We won’t compromise public health. If they follow those rules, everything should be fine.”

In addition to online and media alerts, the CRD has delivered door-to-door notices to about 360 households connected to the water system to try to ensure they are all aware of the notice.

“We are hoping that by Friday [Aug. 5] we will have … results back from a series of tests, and if they come back clear, can resume normal operations.”

However, the boil water notice will remain in effect until the public is otherwise notified.

For more information, contact CRD environmental services toll-free at 1-800-665-1636.