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Chlorine or Chloramine: White Rock asks how to disinfect tap water

The City of White Rock held a public forum (mid-October 2015) regarding its acquisition of the water-utility from Epcor. The forum was attended by about 30 residents.

At this meeting options were presented regarding how White Rock will disinfect its tap water to be in compliance with Fraser Health. The Director of Engineering presented two options: to disinfect with chlorine or chloramine (chlorine plus ammonia). It seems that the City’s bias is toward using chloramine. There are water chemistry reasons that might steer this decision toward the convenience of using chloramine instead of chlorine. However this choice will have significant health and environmental consequences. It is unfortunate that only a handful of White Rock residents were in attendance at this important public forum.

Chloramine is Controversial

The use of chloramine as a disinfectant is increasingly controversial.

Greater Vancouver went through a similar decision process and chose to disinfect with chlorine.
“In the early 1990’s, a comprehensive Environmental Assessment evaluated the use of both chlorine and chloramine as a secondary disinfectant. Through an extensive public consultation process in 1994, chlorine was chosen as the most favourable option.”

White Rock Water Utility Billing Changes

White Rock officials also announced forthcoming billing changes resulting from the acquisition of the water utility.

Questions were raised about the as yet undisclosed amount the City has agreed to pay for the utility. The unofficial guestimate is $23 million.

Attendees of the forum also had questions about the sale of a parcel of land by Epcor. There is public controversy about this transaction involving a location (1454 Oxford St) which is now slated for high-rise development.

Feedback Requested from White Rock Residents

The City of White Rock is soliciting feedback regarding the billing changes and disinfection options – your input can be made here.

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