ALERT: BMID has RESCINDED the PRECAUTIONARY WATER QUALITY ADVISORY effective noon, January 17, 2020.
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For WATER EMERGENCIES after hours, call 250-868-5737.
January 10, 2020: CLARIFICATION ON WATER QUALITY ADVISORY (since RESCINDED)
This article is in response to the high level of concern generated by the CASTANET news article issued on their webpage on January 9, 2020. With the boiling pot of water and alarmist messaging, the article is misleading the public that there is imminent and dangerous risk from the water in BMID and also that BMID is not properly informing of public of such risk.
CASTANET stating that BMID has "UNSAFE WATER" is completely untrue and misleading.
On January 7, 2020, BMID issued a Water Quality Advisory to the media outlets and our sensitive customers list of the planned shut down to repair a leak in one of our transmission mains. We informed the public in the same way that we have in the past for prior water quality incidents. The leak resulted in the shut down of our Ultra-violet Light Disinfection Facility. This facility is one of several barriers that BMID has in place to protect the public. It is not the only barrier.
A Water Quality Advisory does not mean there is imminent risk, it means that the water quality has changed and that there may be increased risk. For this incident, the risk is extremely low. The watershed is frozen with good water quality at this time. BMID has weeks of test records from an external lab, Caro Analytical Services, that shows that there is no E.Coli or faecal matter in the water prior to chlorine disinfection. Chlorine disinfection contact time is longer than 12 hours before water reaches the first customer. That is approximately 6 times longer than what is required to inactivate Giardia Lamblia (Beaver Fever).
As required by our regulator, Interior Health, this advisory was issued as standard protocol as BMID has one less barrier in place. It was not issued because there is imminent risk. Should there be a Boil Water Notice, or a Do-Not-Drink the water notice issued, where we know there is heightened risk, there will be a much higher level of public engagement including more frequent media releases and street signs in our service area as per our standard protocol.
We are very aware of the sensitivities around the supply of water and can understand the concern of the public after reading the CASTANET article. It is unfortunate that the reporter did not contact senior BMID staff to get the story correct. Although we continually are upgrading our emergency reporting procedures, it is difficult to have a program that will be able to reach everyone.
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Thank you for your patience through this advisory.
Bob Hrasko, P.Eng.