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March 14th, 2023

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Did Your Tap Water Change…on April 18?

If you live or work in Vancouver, western North Vancouver, western Burnaby or Richmond (see map) the answer is probably…Yes.

Since September 2011, your tap water has been coming from the Seymour Filtration Plant because the Capilano reservoir was closed for the winter season. Winter rains wash excessive dirt and sediment into the Capilano reservoir, making  the water murky and too difficult to disinfect effectively.

On April 18, 2012, Metro Vancouver put the unfiltered Capilano reservoir back in service. You may have noticed a change in the clarity of your water in the week following this change, as did Metro Vancouver. Heavy rains at the end of April stirred up so much sediment that the Capilano reservoir was temporarily taken back out of service.

According to an official at Metro Vancouver’s water quality department, a decision is being made on May 7, 2012 about when to re-open the Capilano reservoir for summer use. Turbidity levels of tap water from the 3 reservoirs (Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam) are posted daily on the front page of the Vancouver Sun and on Metro Vancouver’s website.

What this means for you

If you receive your tap water from the Capilano reservoir in the summer months (approximately April/May to September), you may notice that your water is not as clear during this period.

If your water is coming from the Capilano reservoir, the pH of your tap water may drop below 7 to the acidic side of the pH scale.
Lime is added to water coming from the Seymour reservoir after it passes through the Seymour Filtration Plant. This raises the pH to make tap water slightly alkaline. The reason why Metro Vancouver makes this pH adjustment is because acidic water is corrosive. By making tap water slightly alkaline, water supply lines last longer with fewer leaks. Leaching of heavy metals is also minimized when tap water pH is above 7.

Impact on water filter performance

If you use a good quality water filter, you may find that the water flow though your filter slows down more rapidly in the summer months due to elevated sediment levels (turbidity) in your tap water that may clog the filter.  Similarly, shower filters may lose their ability to reduce chlorine more quickly during this summer period. Filter cartridges should be changed if this slow down occurs.

Future changes to your water

If you live or work in western Metro Vancouver, you can expect your tap water supply to switch back and forth, seasonally, between Capilano Reservoir and the Seymour Filtration plant until the Twin Tunnels that join these two sources are finally put into service. This is now anticipated to happen in early 2014.

All tap water in Metro Vancouver is chlorinated

Chlorine is introduced to all tap water in Metro Vancouver, regardless of whether it comes from the Capilano or Coquitlam reservoirs, or from the Seymour Filtration Plant. The purpose of adding chlorine to our tap water is to disinfect it.

4 Responses to “Did Your Tap Water Change…on April 18?”

  1. Crystal - Prenatal Coach Says:

    WOW, very interesting. Thank you for the information Mary!

  2. Mary Says:

    Thanks Crystal!

  3. Cristiano Says:

    Thank you for the inform. Reliable sources of information appoint the Fukushima reactor in constant leak of radioactive elements in the air and ocean water. Does any institution or any other source, private or public, are concern with radioactivity in our water supply. Also worth to mention the levels of radioactive particles in our shores which now are starting to receive considerable amounts of debris from Fukushima region. Our concern is the fish we consume and the water we drink. Thank you. Cris.

  4. Mary Says:

    We are waiting for the publication of Metro vancouver’s water quality report (expected later in May 2012) to see their test data for radionuclides levels in our local water supply. Fukushima continues to be of immense concern however, as far as we have been able to discern to date, our local water supply is not indicating elevated levels (yet).