Here is a list of questions you may have about the Rose Prairie Water Station. Click on the question to see the answer.
Don’t see your question? Call Environmental Services at 1-250-784-3200
What’s Happening at the Rose Prairie Water Station
- Why hasn’t the Rose Prairie Water Station Opened Yet?
- During the commissioning of the Rose Prairie Water Station earlier this year, Sulphides were found in the water supply. Additional treatments have been installed to reduce the Sulphides, however, these treatments have not yet been able to decrease the measurable turbidity (cloudiness) in the water to acceptable levels. Before opening, the Rose Prairie Water Station must meet the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and the BC Ministry of Health treatment objectives for groundwater.
- How did the Sulphides get in the water?
- Sulphides are common in groundwater and do not pose a health risk, but causes a foul smell in water. Testing for Sulphides is not part of routine tests, which is why it was not discovered until commissioning.
- What caused the Turbidity?
- Treatments to lower the Sulphides have caused them to become solid, which makes the water appear cloudy (turbidity).
- What is being done to treat the water?
- Extra filtration has been added and PRRD staff are currently making decisions to perfect the treatment for turbidity before opening to residents. Potable Water must meet Northern Health Standards for turbidity, which has led to the PRRD using additional treatment methods, including Coarse Filters, Nanofiltration, Chlorine Disinfection, and Cartridge Filters.
- What options are being considered?
- So far, options include locating an alternative water source within the vicinity of the existing water station and/or additional treatment upgrades. It is our intention to have an update for residents by the end of January 2020.
- When will the station be open?
- The different options presented to the PRRD have different timelines and costs. After a decision is made, we will update residents on when they can expect the Rose Prairie Water Station to open.
Questions About Turbidity
- What is turbidity
- Turbidity is a water quality term that refers to the relative clarity of water. Turbidity occurs when fine suspended particles of clay, silt, organic and inorganic matter, plankton, and other microscopic organisms are picked up by water as it passes through a watershed. Turbidity levels are typically much higher in water from surface water sources such as streams, rivers, and lakes than from groundwater sources. Some surface water sources exhibit high turbidity levels during periods of high rainfall or snow melt (e.g. spring runoff). Measured in nephelometric turbidity units (NTU), turbidity ranges from less than 1 NTU to more than 1,000 NTU. At 5 NTU water is visibly cloudy; at 25 NTU it is murky.
- Is turbidity a health concern?
- Turbidity is not so much a health concern as an indicator of health risk. Science has proven that as turbidity increases, the risk for gastrointestinal illness also increases—particularly for at-risk populations such as newborns, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems (e.g. those with HIV/Aids, undergoing chemotherapy, or taking anti-rejection drugs following a transplant).
- What is the Turbidity Index?
- The Turbidity Index is a messaging tool designed to
notify water customers of current turbidity levels and, therefore, the relative risk of drinking the water. The index shows whether water is Good (<1 NTU), Fair (1-5 NTU), or Poor (>5 NTU), and provides specific recommendations for each rating. The index will appear on participating water suppliers’ websites and through the media during a Water Quality Advisory or a Boil Water Notice.
- Why is turbidity an important water quality indicator?
- Bacteria, viruses, and parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium can attach themselves to the suspended particles in turbid water. These particles then interfere with disinfection by shielding contaminants from the disinfectant (e.g. chlorine).
- What precautions should I take with turbid water?
- The Province of B.C. recommends that newborns and people with weakened immune systems drink boiled water or a safe alternative at all times if they are served by an unfiltered surface water source. When turbidity levels range from 1-5 NTU, IH and water suppliers recommend that children, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and anyone seeking additional protection drink boiled water or a safe alternative. When turbidity levels exceed 5 NTU, IH and water suppliers recommend that all users drink boiled water or a safe alternative.
- What are accepted water-industry standards for turbidity, and who sets them?
- Health Canada’s Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality recommend that surface water suppliers aim for turbidity levels <1 NTU at the point of disinfection. The guidelines also recommend filtration for water from all surface water sources, and specific water quality parameters for each type of filtration used. These standards are reflected in B.C.’s Drinking Water Protection Act, and advocated by IH in its 4-3-2-1-0 treatment objectives.
- Why can’t we just get rid of turbidity?
- The majority of water suppliers in B.C.’s interior draw water from surface sources, and most surface sources exhibit some level of seasonal turbidity. Removing turbidity requires filtration, which is very costly, particularly for suppliers that service agricultural users.