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Heavy Rainfall Has Affected Drinking Water Quality in Metro Vancouver

‘Water Turbidity (cloudy water) in Metro Vancouver has increased as a result of extremely heavy rainfall on the steep mountainous terrain above the region’s water supply lakes. Turbidity occurs when sediment is transported into the reservoirs by runoff.

The following areas are most affected: City of Vancouver, North Shore, and Burnaby.

Disinfection levels have been increased as a safety precaution and Metro Vancouver is operating the water system to maximize water quality.

Previous experience under similar conditions indicates that, other than the increased turbidity, the quality of tap water remains acceptable.

“While it may not be aesthetically pleasing, water coming out of taps remains acceptable to drink. There is NO boil water advisory in effect at this time [Dec 4, 2007],” said Vancouver Coastal Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Patty Daly.

However, because increased turbidity in drinking water may interfere with disinfection, there is the potential for an increase in the risk of gastrointestinal illness. In addition, those people with compromised immune systems are reminded that they should always either boil their water for at least one minute or drink water that has been treated to a level equal to that of boiling for one minute.

Industry may also note the presence of turbidity.

Water quality in Metro Vancouver’s source reservoirs is being closely monitored, and additional information will be provided in the event that the quality of the water decreases significantly.

Completion of the Seymour-Capilano Filtration Project in 2009 will provide a long-term solution to the turbidity in drinking water.Further information is available on the Metro Vancouver website.’

– from a media release issued by Metro Vancouver on December 4, 2007