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BC Rivers Day – Sunday, September 23

September 22nd, 2018

BC Rivers Day (Sunday, Sept 23) is Canada’s largest event dedicated to raising public appreciation of the irreplaceable importance of our rivers and the many benefits we derive from them, ... More »

White Rock Takes Back Its Water Utility

The City of White Rock has reached an agreement with Epcor to buy the city’s water utility on October 30, 2015. For many decades the utility had been owned by a local family and White Rock enjoyed the reputation of having excellent, unchlorinated water. In 2005 the utility was purchased by Edmonton-based Epcor and since then the utility has been fraught with controversy.

In 2010 an incident involving e-coli prompted the addition of chlorine to the City’s drinking water. Elevated levels of arsenic and manganese have been reported in White Rock water. Both of these minerals are associated with negative health effects. Manganese also causes unpleasant staining of laundry and plumbing fixtures. These minerals are commonly occurring problems in water drawn from underground. White Rock’s water is from a ground water source, the Sunnyside Uplands aquifer.

In 2012 Fraser Health, which is the regulating authority, added an operating permit condition with respect to controlling arsenic and manganese levels in White Rock’s tap water. According to this edict the presence of these contaminants must be within ‘acceptable’ levels by the end of 2018 and system-wide chlorination must be implemented by June 2016.

As residents and city officials became increasingly discontented with Epcor’s control of their water utility, consideration was given to making arrangements to acquire water from Metro Vancouver which is drawn from surface sources free of arsenic and manganese.

White Rock officials have since abandoned this possibility and made a deal with Epcor to buy the existing groundwater utility. The cost of the purchase has not been officially announced (as of late October 2015) but is estimated at $23 million.

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